Fifty years ago Nahualá was minimal, strewn with some adobe (mud brick) houses along paths with people tending to a land, which was open and unhindered. In the time since, a fledgling urban center has developed.
As I stepped out last night for the midnight ceremony I followed the chanting and beating of the drum. The people had taken over the town square, building a fire pit that sustained the dozens in the highland cold wind.
I am currently in Nahualá in the western highlands of Mayan Guatemala filming a documentary on the region. Today, the close of the Oxlajuj Baktun calendar, is one of the most important days in this town's existence.
I find the sensationalized subject of the Mayan "end of the world" to demean the experience of the people here in Mayan Guatemala, many of whom experience a world that is swarmed by daily threats of an end that is very real. Recently I asked a nun about the sexual abuse of women.
The sole, crumbling mausoleum provided for a grand panorama of the surroundings: a sea of Maya with their typical colorful apparel and wares. As kites swayed in the sky, the priest took the microphone and uttered some prayers and proclamations. Amidst this chaos I found a peace.