Chamula, Chanting and Coca-Cola

Susannah Rigg writing at Mexico Retold:

One of the first things you notice, once your eyes adjust to the light, is that there are no pews in the church. Instead the ground is covered in green pine needles and the ceiling has great swaths of cloth hung from side to side. The edge of the main area of the church is lined with statues of saints whose images are rather different to that you would see in most Catholic churches. These saints are adorned with unusual ornaments like pineapples and flowers and their clothes were often covered in mirrors, which are believed by Chamulans to deflect the evil sprits.

A fascinating read about the unique Iglesia de San Juan Chamula and its religious syncretism, found nowhere else in the world. When we talked to one of the guides inside the church yesterday, he said no one has tried to come back and reconvert them to orthodox catholic belief. “We just want to live and worship in peace.”


The first year of my thirties was filled with firsts. After a couple years teaching first grade, I moved over to try teaching EAL to students who needed more practice outside of their classrooms. I also tried teaching Information Technology. Admittedly, that didn’t go very well, due to equipment and wifi issues. But it was something I had wanted to try.

A few days more and it will break my longest time on the road. In 2012, I spent a few months in Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. I also celebrated my 25th birthday with an epic hike near Maliville, Guinea with two Peace Corps Guinea volunteers.

My thirty-first year, starting today, will be more traveling, working towards competency in proofreading to maintain a location-independent lifestyle, and more blogging and writing. As I mentioned in a microblog post, we’ve started eating exclusively vegetarian. A place like Mauritania will be really difficult, but right now, it’s great. I’ve seen too many videos about the meat production industry, so I’m committing to it this year.

Patricia’s birthday is in two days, and we celebrate both on 23 September. We’re in Zipolite, Mexico and will head to Chiapas in a few days. We’re still in the first country on our trip, and itching to see more. Here’s to another great year.