This month BS.com follows the journey of “Sunshine” (aka Tiffany) Palmer, a
21-year-old English major on her six-month trip to Guatemala, courtesy of daddy’s
credit card, where she is living out her dream of casting aside western commercialism
to “empower the earnest indigenous people”.
By Sunshine Palmer
Ohmygod, I am having the totally coolest trip. I’ve been staying at this cute coastal village that is totally poor and completely free of commercial products. No TV, no phone, no Coke machines, no hairdryers. Nature, family, grass huts – just like I pictured it. Awesome.
The other week I had this fantastic idea of assisting my host family by teaching them unique methods to eat wholesome, organic foods.
I did all the prep work myself. All they had to do was soak the beans in a water/salt solution for four hours, drain, cook on an open pit fire for two hours, let cool slightly, then mix in a pot loaded with other organically grown and peeled vegetation (which as everyone knows back home, all one needs to sustain themselves) for another two-and-three-quarters hours, simmer, then serve.
But no, they gave their starving daughter beef! How dare they!
I spent four days digging for nutritious, fibrous roots from under the rain forest canopy, and harvesting lima beans and this is how they show their appreciation — by passing me a burger!
Needless to say, I bolted from that cesspool. I left that family and found a quaint village (A food agency worker called it a “hamlet”, I guess after Shakespeare! Cute, huh?) and it was located closer to the mountain range, where the rain pours harder
(acid rain, for sure) and totally ruins my braids and my Gap jeans, which I only bought from that multinational corporation because they totally fit my figure better.
Anyway, I was told that it was the local custom to give a new host family a gift, so I presented them with an honourary chicken because they apparently held it in high regard.
Well, they ate it!
Their five-year-old son has had his insides polluted forever by toxins and hormones injected in that foul bird. I couldn’t stop crying. They tried to cheer me up (they thought I was ill) but I was in no mood. I just slept on my bamboo mat for days while they pretended to ignore me by working from dawn to dusk.
A week later, I lectured them on multinational corporations and the fascist WTO. The host family was very thankful. In fact, they encouraged me to give more lectures to families who they said needed me more. I needed no further encouragement and so decided to leave the following morning. My host family said my work was too important (at least that is what I think they said since I don’t speak Guatemalish), and so I took their advice and left that evening by donkey.
Thanks to me, they were very, very happy when I left.