Liveena tells us about her observations in Guatemala

September 17th, 2015
Brian, Cora, Liveena, and Jeff

(From left to right) Brian Kimiksana, Cora Rabisca, Liveena Toonoo and Jeff Antoniak at their worksite

For my research topic, I had done “Traditional Roles of Women in Guatemala”. I observed the women with as much curiosity as they had of us women doing construction. I noticed they seemed shocked of us to do “men’s work”, they stared and seemed to wonder what in the world we are doing to do such things as we were 6 out of 9 women within our team. While I would be very curious as to what they did in and around the house. I really noticed the woman walking back and force within the houses. Cleaning their pots and such, sweeping, and cooking.  While all in between their work, they’d peak out, stare and have hushed conversations. While us 6 women would all wonder what they thought of us. After the 2nd or 3rd day, (which was the day we all sang to Taylor Swift and danced around) they seemed to adjust to us being there, and would smile a lot more, and obviously giggled when we’d sing and dance. One young girl even gave me a bracelet while I was working on chiselling the cement, which probably made my whole trip. We even managed to have a conversation with them (with Lucho translating of course), and they asked us questions.  Asking us if we’re married, have children, ask how old we are, and some other questions, with all the answers being no, they were very shocked. We all laughed in that moment, considering the kind lady we were building the house for was only 21 with a child, and most of us were close to that age more or less. I didn’t know what to expect in Guatemala, especially seeing women amaak a baby in their style of amautik, balancing objects on their head daily, and breast feeding in public. The women are very beautiful and strong, which very much so reminded me of my Inuit culture. Considering girls and women in Guatemala, and the Inuit women back in the day, were taught how to sew, cook, clean and take care of children also at a young age, in order to gain wife and mothering skills.

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