Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala by Victoria Sanford (auth.)

By Victoria Sanford (auth.)

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She also had some training in archeology. Kathleen was an immediate asset to the team. As for me, I imagine that as he watched my tentative and clumsy movements, Fernando realized I had no idea what I was doing. He came over and showed me how to break the dirt and brush more systematically. Soon, I was caught in the intricacies of the excavation and its many puzzles. When I discovered a bone, I had to think about which bone it was, which meant I also had to learn the human skeleton. I had to think about how the skeleton was positioned and how best to uncover it.

I also noticed that Julia had become increasingly nervous as I interviewed Benjamín. As we bid goodbye to the combatants in the camp, several called out for me to take another photo because they had not been in the first photos. In the thirty seconds it took me to pull out my camera, Julia had once again disappeared to the end of the wall— this time to avoid having her face recorded in the photo. When we reached the car, there were several youngsters hanging about and looking at my dog in the car.

They thought I was saying that thirteen was too many people, meaning that everyone would not be heard. I told the group in Spanish, and Julia translated to Ixil, that I would speak with each and every person but thought it was better to do so in private. Soon, half the people were in the kitchen and the other half went home to await their turn. I assumed they were not coming back. I asked what had happened to the children and was told they were “cuidando” (taking care of/watching out for). They had been placed on the four corners of the house and would whistle if anyone walked by.

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