Dinner at Don Pedro’s

We had dinner at Don Pedro’s tonight, thanks to Beth’s influence here in town.

Towards the end of the meal, she brought up the topic of Civil War… and Don Pedro quite willingly started talking about his experience (and naming other people that might be willing to share their stories).

He said that from 1982 to 1991, the war was in San Mateo. Army planes would pass overhead and drop bombs… three people from San Mateo, that lived near Don Pedro, were killed. Army trucks and tanks would drive through town every day. He said that occasionally things were so dangerous, that for three months he would take his family to sleep in a cave outside of town, without even blankets, because they were afraid to stay in their house overnight.

He said that even giving eggs and bread to “responsables” (those that were responsible for organizing the town) were accused of being guerrillas by the army.

He said that he spent a lot of time in Barillas on business, to support his family.

He said that in 1991, the guerrillas left the town and moved up by Hit hop, and that’s when the war ended.

Fer asked me after dinner if I really thought this was the “most important thing” that the students should learn—because there’s “so much that they don’t know”
— he says that it will be too “decontextualized” for them…

i don’t know how else to do this!! I don’t think that I am the appropriate person to be teaching them about the history of Guatemala– I think that’s just a perpetuation of this postcolonial motif…

The only thing that I feel like I can do for them is help them gain the tools (ie: interview, writing, reading skills) that will help them learn things for themselves. I’m trying to encourage them to think for themselves for the first time in their lives, rather than memorize historical “facts” that they read in a government-sanctioned textbook.


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