A Healthy Balance


In Guatemala, the mornings begin as the sky starts to lighten and the roosters calls echo throughout the village.  “Chicken” buses move into position near central park ready to transport students and workers to larger towns and cities.  Women slowly emerge from their homes where they sweep the streets clean of trash and animal waste from the day and night before.  Men start to move around the streets on their way to work in the fields.  Smoke wafts over the town as women light the fires which will warm up the meals for the day.


The morning streets begin to fill with young children on their way to school.  And sweatshops start making jeans, pants, and shirts which will be sold in the United States at stores like Old Navy, Hollister, and Abercrombie & Finch.  Shop owners open their doors for business and the day is fully underway in Santo Domingo Xenacoj.


Around one o’clock, there is a new buzz in the streets as people head home for lunch and a time of rest – a siesta.  Younger children are finished with school for the day, and older children head to school for their daily time of learning.  (The school year starts in January and goes until early October.)

At six o’clock, the bell at the top of the Catholic church in the center of town rings repeatedly marking the end of the school day (and work day for many).  And the streets buzz with action again as people return home or walk to the center of town.

“Buenos Dias” turns into “Buenos Tardes” which turns into “Buenos Noches.”  The morning coolness turns into afternoon heat which finally gives way to an evening chill.  The village quietly goes to sleep.


And it begins again the next day.  There’s a healthy rhythm of life in Guatemala.  There is not a lot of racing around.  There is not a lot of urgency.  I don’t expect life in America to fully go to this, but I think we could learn a lot from the balance which seems to exist in Xenacoj.

Coming back home is an adjustment and a challenge.  I desire the sense of community we felt in Xenacoj last week.  I long after a healthy balance.  What will I take from this?  How will I change?  How will my life be different as a result of last week in Guatemala?  I’m not sure.  It’s stretching me as I ponder these questions – and it’s a good stretch.

What does your typical day look like?  What changes do you need to make to rediscover a healthy balance?