Sunday, March 13, 2011

Feliciano the Sculptor

Feliciano is 81 years old.  He resides in the oldest house in all of San Pedro.  The smoke-charred house was built by his grandfather, the smiling face in a frame on the wall surrounded by pictures of Jesus--the love of his life.  He spoke his gospel and his message was hard to make out. 

It is easy to get lost in his environment.  He hands are wrinkled but callused from years of work and years of sculpting stone figures that hung around him catching the candlelight.  His handmade rubber flip flops wrapped around his rough, used feet telling a story of a lifetime of hard work.  Even more stories are held in his frayed traditional pants and belt, but especially in the carvings themselves that are drentched in Mayan culture and legend.  He might be the only one left that carves like this out of stone.  If there is anyone else that carves these things, its out of wood in a modern way.  He uses volcanic pumice and another harder one.  He would not show us the tools, because he said they were magic and that it´s the tools that create the sculptures, not him.  I´m sure the tools are as old as he is if not older.

Of the many things that struck me of Feliciano, the one that captured me the most is the fact that he led the only Socialist movement that Guatemala has ever known.  He was the mayor at one time and wanted to end corruption.  He was put in prison for a year.  This humble man that sang us an entire song upon introducing himself is a blessing to all that are fortunate enough to meet him.