Ramon uses his worn field rag to wipe sweat from his wife’s forehead. She uncomfortably rests on an old wooden chair. Hot and humid in their rusty metal shack, only a straggly stray black dog finds relief lying prostrate across the dirt floor. Over the small fireplace, Ramon’s mother heats a small pot she manages to barely fill with dirty water from the old rain barrel sitting outside the entryway. She watches a half deflated soccer ball send huge dust clouds into the humid April midday air as the village children noisily run and kick it away from each other. The fine dust floats down and into the cover less rain barrel.
Ramon’s wife rises from the rickety chair, paces back and forth over the dirt floor. She stoops down to pull up a tuft of stray roots sprouting up from the floor. Suddenly she feels a gripping pain. “Ramon,” whispers his young wife, “It is time. Go get Akhushtal.”
Traveling by foot over the mountainous terrain, Ramon returns two hours before evening. “Hola, Eme?” inquires Akhushtal, she finds Eme breathing erratically and her mother-in-law by her side. Without hesitation, Akhushtal cries out, “Please, the hot water, madre and light a candle. The baby’s head is showing. Push, Eme, push!”
Strangles mother and newborn
Fireflies light man’s grief
* * *
Inspiration for this story comes from the weekly, Ligo Haibun Challenge. This week was a photo challenge.
In general, this fictional story is loosely based on rural Guatemala: Huehuetenango Department where in these mountainous areas, the people experience severe lack of clean water, very poor sanitation systems and malnutrition.
If you liked this post, why not visit Ligo Haibun Challenge and join in the fun. Thank you so much!
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