Home Sociology Balancing the World: Contemporary Maya ajq’ijab in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
I have chosen to use “visitors” when I talk about the persons requiring the help of an ajq’ij. Most of the interviewees would have no specific term in Spanish to talk about these people, they would refer to them as las personas que demandan ayuda, ‘the persons who ask for help;’ las personas que visitan, ‘the persons who visit;’ or simply la gente, ‘the people.’ Some would talk about visitantes, ‘visitors,’ occasionally, but they did not use this term more often than any of the others.
Still, I felt it would be easier if I were to choose one term and then try to use it consistently, so I asked Martin what he would do, as he also speaks English and may have a term he uses when he is not speaking Spanish. He suggested “visitors,” and when I later talked about visitantes with the other interviewees, they had no problems understanding what I meant, so I kept using it.
These are only some of the terms I ended up using during my fieldwork. When other terms are used, I try to explain them as they appear in the text. Sometimes I may use other terms than the ones given here. If I do so, it is only because the interviewee has used that other term explicitly.
In the next chapter, I will start presenting how the interviewees see the work of the ajq’ijab and why they find it important to do this work.
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