Guest Writer:Janice Prendergast Artist and Art Professor Nassau Community College (www.guatemalahands.org) Amelia (A-mahl-ya)
When our eyes met, Amelia was standing alone in shy silence surrounded by the buzz of the busy disabled children in the makeshift art room I worked at in the Fundacion Pediatrica in Guatemala City. Major burns and muscular deformities had stolen the innocence of the mostly Maya children. And that day, that Sunday after traveling 7 hours from the highlands to Guatemala City, these brave, resilient children would be screened for hand and limb surgery or hand therapy by the doctors and hand therapists who donate their time and skills for the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation located in Brooklyn NY.
It was clear as rain that Amelia was pure traditional Maya. She had the searching sad eyes and enigmatic smile, she spoke only Maya, no Spanish, and she wore the huipile (blouse) of her father’s community and the skirt of her mother’s. The hand-woven threads with vivacious colors fused to create patterns of ancient Maya symbols in their fabrics. Amelia’s colors in her dress burst forward but her being remained hidden. Continue reading