Guatemala and Belize 14 Jan - 24 Feb 2015 travel blog

Crosses commemorating lives lost in the civil war

Looking back up our path from the end of the walk

Me sitting outside the little shop

Taking the sweet corn to be milled

Carrying wood home

Baby comes too

The main street with our bus at the bottom.

We were all freezing in the night - no heating, how do they survive? I finished up with a blanket under me, sleeping bag liner, sheet, three blankets one folded double and the bedspread, my fleece and socks and was I cold!

We all arrived at breakfast with layers under jackets but once the sun came out it was really hot and vivid blue sky all around.

The walkers, of which I was one, set off at 9 to look at the church and then the cemetery. Nebaj, Acun and one other village form the triangle where lots of the civil war atrocities were carried out. Any mass graves that are now found are exhumed, DNA tested for identification and re-interred in the cemetery. You can see tombs of whole families wiped out including small children. In the church small crosses fill a side chapel with the names of who died from Nebaj during this difficult period.

We then set off uphill for about 500 metres, getting steeper at the top where we had views around of green meadows and the two villages each side of us.

Our descent took us by some Mayan men hacking at a rock for the stone - presumably to build their houses. Gradually their shacks are being transformed into brick or stone cottages with small plots of land to cultivate vegetables and keep some livestock.

Where we stopped we were able to visit an 'entrepreneur' who had bought a diesel mill to grind the sweet corn into flour. The Mayan women take bowls on their heads to him and, for about 25 pence get it ground to make their tortillas.

We only had a short walk to the 'centre' of the village where our bus met us having dropped the non-walkers at the hacienda where we were to have lunch. This was situated amid sloping green pasture with small chalets for guest accommodation and further Mayan houses beyond - looking very Swiss - presumably built up by the family members having received their 50 hectares per head when the civil war ended. They seemed to be very prosperous but not through tourism - we were quite a novelty in the village.

Only tortillas were on the menu with cheese, or cheese and beef. The cheese is goat's cheese in this area and very tasty - not much can be said for the tortillas though!

On return to the hotel I felt my throat sore and my cough returning so I had a tepid shower (still, hotter than last night) while the sun was still hot and pottered to the market to buy some fruit. Having made up my bed with heaps of blankets I am typing this from under the bedclothes. We leave tomorrow at 6.30 so if I can get in 12 hours I may feel better tomorrow - and much better when we reach hot showers and weather in Antigua.

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