My First Horse Ride

July 31, 2011 - Gualán, Guatemala

I woke up to the wonderful songs from the birds, rustling of the trees, and the sound of a calm stream. Ahhhh...this is the life!

As I promised myself, I read. The book was a nice political history lesson for me, and, now, I plan on taking a political science course when I get back to school because it helped me to realize what little I know about American politics or politics in general.

The book goes into a lot of detail about the 2000 elections with George W. Bush Junior, Al Gore, and Ralph Nadar. He talks about how the Democratic and Republican parties are becoming more and more alike, instituting policies that hurt those who are not rich. The final paragraph in the Epilogue really struck me and verified a lot for me. It says, "I want us all to face our fears and stop behaving like our goal in life is merely to survive. 'Surviving' is for wimps and game show contestants stranded in the jungle or on a desert island. You are not stranded. You own the store. The bad guys are just a bunch of silly, stupid white men. And there's a helluva lot more of us than there are of them. Use your power. You deserve better." A quotation from "Stupid White Men" by Michael Moore.

A lot of the time, I feel helpless to institutional racism, the widening of the economic class gap, and just the policies that are put into place that negatively impact me and my community. But this paragraph helped me to see that I don't have to be and that I need to stop TALKING about how bad things are and demand better, because I deserve it.

After my book, we ate.

There was a woman here who has a young child. Virtually ALL the women here breast feed. The baby is almost two, but looks much younger to me- the people are small in stature here, and as we sat he just reached in his mom’s shirt and started sucking on her boob. Now, I know that breast feeding is wonderful for children...but...I just can’t get with it. Maybe my mentality will change once I begin to have children. I plan on breast feeding, but I would rather pump than have my baby tearing at my shirt every time they are hungry.

I asked the Director if we could ride the horses, and we did. Now, I am terrified, but I wanted to face my fears. I tried to ride a horse once at a summer camp for CMU 2010 project. I mounted the horse and everything, but eventually asked them to take me down. Now, I was going to do it for real.

I mounted the horse. I wanted someone leading the horse, because I didn't want the thing to start galloping on me and I don't know what to do. So Rosita lead the horse for a while and then one of the workers on the farm also mounted a horse and led my horse from his saddle. We went for a little walk on the Director's property with the horses, children, and stray dogs weaving in and out of the legs of the horses. This was overwhelming. I could barely enjoy the view at first, because I was trying to not be too nervous and to figure out how I was going to jump off the horse if the thang started going crazy.

We made it to a clearing and they wanted to show us the milpas which are plots of land where people are growing corn and other crops. I said, "Sure." But I didn't really know what I was getting into. They had me on the back of this horse that was climbing up the mountain side on a path not 12 inches wide. The horse's back foot would slip occasionally...oh no...see....(thinking to myself) "Just remain calm."

We made it to the first landing. It was such a marvelous view. Below were the crops that people were cultivating to sell or for their families. The Director allows whomever to cultivate on her land for free. The poor here are often unable to read and write so they cannot get white collar jobs. So, they have to work with their hands, but they don't own land that they can cultivate to sell crops. So, the Director helps them a lot by doing this. After thinking about how nice the Director is...I told them to get me off this horse! I was not going DOWN the mountain on the thing that was sliding while we were going up.

At the bottom of the hill, I re-mounted the horse and we walked back towards the main part of the Director's property. She owns so much land! I sat in the hammocks, again, and thought, "I am going to have a vacation spot with a beautiful view like this."


Follow the Leader
The Wellesley W


Derrick Bryson:
August 3, 2011
you rode a horse!! how was that? I would be too nervous.
August 3, 2011
Yeah, I felt really proud of myself for doing it, because I am afraid of animals in general and riding a horse. I am trying to challenge myself more by challenging my fears.
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