Sunday, May 31, 2015
They greeted us as soon as we stepped out of our van. Eager little boys brandishing impish grins and hand-carved walking sticks pushed them into our faces. "Amiga,only 25 quetzales!" They all yelled but Herman was fast. He opened the door and grabbed my hand. I knew that I would need a walking stick to help with the craggy terrain of Guatemala's Pacaya Volcano. This active volcano attracts so many tourists that locals make good livings selling walking sticks and offering horseback rides for hikers that can't handle the twisty hour and a half journey. I knew I'd need a stick and I knew I'd buy it from Herman the minute he opened the door. If eyes are the windows to the soul, children are the window to a culture. Consistently happy little faces reflect a place that values children and those are places I love to be. Herman told me his name and never stopped smiling as I considered his sticks. I decided on a mid-sized one. I didn't realize then what a huge difference the stick would make during my trek but meeting Herman had already enriched my experience.