In 2005, my wife and I traveled to Guatemala to become parents. On that journey we got a small taste of the country. On that trip we held our daughter, Abigail, whom we had longed for so long. We took her to Antigua and explored Guatemala City. With every Guatemalan we met, they made us promise that some day we would return with her so she could truly learn about her country. Through the years we would research Guatemala, seek out friendships with people from there, and those who continued to visit. On our daughter’s birthday we would do a presentation on Guatemala at her school. But all the time we could hear the voices reminding us to return. In 2015, we made that commitment. With our anxious 10 year-old daughter and her 6 year-old Korean brother we made the return trip. Not knowing what to expect we decided to simply ask everyone we met to teach us what life was really like there. During this ten-day travel we visited our daughter’s birth city Antigua, Lake Atitlán with it’s many villages, Sololá, Saint George, and a few small stops along the way. A few of our adventures included meeting children at an after school program, seeing orphaned boys being cared for by nuns, visiting artist co-ops who were dying and weaving fabric, walking through crowded markets, and traveled by flat bottom boats while battling the north winds. Throughout this journey we witnessed joy, beauty all around us, and a country with many needs. When I asked our guide Sam how people could he happy with such needs. He replied, “Our people don’t worry about the future, they just focus on today.” As we spent out last days there, Sam declared that Abigail was a daughter of Guatemala, but our whole family is also apart of the beautiful country. This show tells a small portion of this journey though the eyes of the father and daughter on the return journey to Guatemala. See if you can see the different views. Our journey will continue, as we are committed to returning every two years, how could we not it feels like home. A portion of any purchases made will be donated to: Niños con Bendición, an afterschool program that provides tutoring, food, materials for school, and medical care. http://www.ninosconbendicion.com Mayan Traditions, a service provider that partners with neighboring towns around Lake Atitlán, to service the needs of the community, create medical clinics, and artist co ops. http://www.mayatraditions.com Clayton Joe Young
In the 17th century, nostalgia was thought to be a disease. Soldiers would go to war only to become homesick; leeches, opium, or a trip back home were thought to be cures. Later it was found that nostalgia is an incurable condition. The home we long for is never the same when revisited, nor is the person making the journey. What is often desired is not for a place but for a different time, a time of our childhood, when life was simpler and seemed to flow to a slower rhythm. Memory is hazy and selective with events and time casually connected. It is constructed from personal recollections, old photographs, stories we hear, and the assumptions we make. Events overlap and details are forgotten. We are left with a mixture of myth and reality. These images are representative of a journey of memory and nostalgia that shift in time and place. Remembering the past is to experience it again, but not in the same way as the first time. I no longer see things as a child, but as an adult with a wife and children of my own. I am often left with a sense of loss and questions that go unanswered.