Photo: Scott Sporleder

How Corn Shapes Every Aspect of Q’eqchi Life in Guatemala

Guatemala Food + Drink Culture
by Scott Sporleder Nov 7, 2018

A few years ago I visited Ted, a friend of mine who was living in Guatemala as a member of the Peace Corps. He lived among an indigenous community of Mayans called the Q’eqchi in the isolated village of Saint Laguna Lachua. Because of its remoteness, the villagers see very few foreign visitors. I was interested in experiencing how they live on a daily basis, and after some time, I was struck by how much importance corn had not only in their lives but also their history and culture.

Corn tortillas are a staple of each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The women take the corn, grind it up, and create tortillas almost around the clock. It seemed to me that after each meal, they were already on their way to go grind up corn for the next meal.

To the Q’eqchi, corn is also the central force in their creation story. This short documentary is an exploration of corn and its place with this community, and it is also a record of the unique language that the Q’eqchi speak — a language unlike any I’ve heard before in my extensive travels.

Special thank you to Ted “B’ex” Joseph for his help with the translations and to the Q’eqchi community who welcomed us and shared their lives.

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