“In character, in manner, in style, in all things,
the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
We loved El Remate five years ago and we loved it even more this time. We loved the cute little two bedroom home we rented smack dab in the middle of all the other locals. We loved all of the pigs, ducks, chickens, dogs and horses that passed by our covered front porch. We loved that the chocobanana lady was just ten paces from our front door and that those frozen delicacies were only 1Q each. We loved our sweet neighbours who would lend us their big knife every time we needed to dice up a watermelon or root veggies for soup. We loved walking around the lake, sitting on the old docks and stopping for swims whenever we felt the urge. We loved that everything we needed from tortillas to pie could be delivered to our door if we sat on our porch and were patient. We loved watching the nightly neighbourhood soccer game back lit by a deep fuchsia sky. We loved running shoulder rides down the dark streets, playing tag and saying buenas noches to all of the smiling villagers. And we loved spending this tranquil time with you, our sweet boy, and with Granny and Grumpy.
Asher, there is something unique about El Remate and we all agree that it boils down to simplicity. Despite the tourism boom to Tikal, not a lot has changed in El Remate in five years. Women still wake up early every day to carry their maize to the grinder so they can prepare their tortillas over a wood fired oven. Laundry is still done by hand and hung to dry. The men still work their family trade as an artisan, stone mason or fisherman. Extended families still live in wooden huts with a communal room for sleeping, one for lounging and one for preparing meals. And weekly mass, nightly soccer and daily markets show that a strong community is a reflection of the self. In El Remate, time seems to be invested into what is most important: family, friends, community and health. The majority seem content with what they have, because though it is simple, it is all they need. In reality, striving for and acquiring things beyond what one needs, is really what complicates life.
El Remate has reminded us that when one simplifies life, having less is not poverty, labour is not work, knowledge is not wisdom, humility is not weakness, luxuries are not luxurious, and time is not money. For now we must say goodbye to El Remate, but the memories will always act as a reminder of the abundance to be found in simplicity.