A night in San Rafael Chilascó, Guatemala | The Family Without Borders

The Family Without Borders

The Travelling family



Let’s eat a soup together

Leaving San Rafael Chilascó, leaving the kids. (Photo: Anna Alboth)

Leaving San Rafael Chilascó, leaving the kids. (Photo: Anna Alboth)

The Mayan family of 14: mama, papa and 12 kids. And only 3 of them are going to school. Why? Because they don’t have money… for school uniforms… We shared a pod of soup and a few dreams.

That was again totally not planned meeting. Our hike to the waterfall took us too much time and we wouldn’t manage to get back down to the main road. So we decided to stay in the village. And as usual we asked the most friendly looking people where is a good place to park our car and sleep and, as usual, they invited us to their own backyard.

And there we are: somewhere between twelve kids, burned sticks, turkeys and very old toys. Not so easy to find a place not to put our blanket on chickens’ shit or old vegetables. Kids are talking to us non-stop, not understanding that we can not understand them. So dirty and so friendly those kids!

Felipe, Mila’s age boy, the youngest part of the family, doesn’t have any diaper, so gets wet every half an hour.
Estuardo, the oldest, 19-year-old, together with parents collects wood and maize every day from sunrise to sunset.
Older girls take care about the house, younger take care about youngest kids. Only three of the whole family go to school, because they don’t have money for… school uniforms.

We have in our “kitchen” boxes some cauliflower, carrots, broccoli. Tom was playing with Mila, Hanna disappeared in our new friends’ house and I decided to make a soup. Three small girls came with small knifes and helped me with peeling and cutting, just like this. So still with some garlic and cinnamon we finished the soup. What a pity that I was not prepared for cooking for 18 people! They liked it so much and who knows when they will eat cauliflower next time…

Our Hanna was happy to sing and dance in their living room. If the empty room with TV, five plastic chairs and tons of dry corn you can call a living room. Mila went to bed quite early. And we were drinking some liqueur we had from before together with papa of the family (and Hanna was complaining that “alcohol is only for mummy and papa”, and he shouldn’t drink it!).

Long talks, long time trying to explain where are we from, what is another continent and how different life can be. This “goodbye” in the morning was really tough. When will we see next time? When will we call (but they don’t have a phone)? When will we send a letter (but they can hardly read only Mayan, not Spanish)?

A place to come back. To come back and open a small kiosk with tortilla and tea (it’s on the way to so-called “highest waterfall in Central America”). To sell a tea to tourists for 50 cents and after twenty teas to have money for one school uniform. A place to come back.

Our first book is out!

We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »

One Comment

  • Posted March 15, 2012 at 20:03 | Permalink


    Firstly, I love your site and what you are doing! My idols…

    I will be going back to Guatemala for my 7th time in December to visit my boyfriend who is from there and still lives there. We will be visiting Todos Santos this time for a few nights and plan to stay in the village as well. I would love to save up some money to be able to donate to the family towards some more uniforms. The Mayans really touched my heart the 1st time I visited in 2007 and are the main reason I keep going back all the time. Well, that and now my boyfriend :)

    Any info would be great!

    Safe & happy travels :)
    -Alyssa Lori


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