When our group meets in San Juan, Quíc is often late. When he enters, he slides into the courtyard of the house where we meet. His entry is essentially silent and none of us notice he is comes in. When we do, he greets us with the local handshake and then sits down to join us. His reasons for being late are legitimate. He is either working, helping at home, or returning from a cultural event.
He has a confidence and ease that is unmistakable. Through his interactions with others in the group and with me, it is clear that he has a good heart, is hard working, and positive.
The recognition of Quíc’s character and self-assurance are evident not only here, but also in other spaces. Like Tín, Quíc enjoys playing sports and participates on the Juego Pelota Maya. He does not have as many leadership roles in the school, but instead does a great deal in the community. Quíc participates in a group of break-dancers and rising hip-hop artists. He attends a lot of events that relate to his historical culture. And he manages the computers at the community library. Currently he talks about studying engineering.
It is not hard to imagine that Quíc has many different “faces”. Normally, I see him dressed like a kid who loves rap. He has torn jeans, a baseball hat and a t-shirt. Then one day, I saw him in a collared shirt, dress pants and a tie. He was unrecognizable for a moment. He was on his way to work, where he monitors computers at the library. My response and surprise could not be contained. Wow you look so professional! I say. Thanks he says. This us so different than what I am use to seeing you. I asked him what he liked better – the “street” clothes or the dress clothes. Ambos. Both he replied with a smile. Both are igual (equal).
I saw just one more side. When I watched the Maya Ball Game that he and Tín participate in, he was dressed with accents that are customs of his culture. He had a handkerchief of sorts on his head and a traditional belt around his waste. These are important aspects of the game and each have meaning. Quíc and I are working on putting together a video of Maya Ball, so we will return to the meanings at another time.
For now, and in my experience, Quíc is a complex and interesting person. He has a strong interest in understanding more about his ancestors and his Maya roots. He struggles to find a way to learn. His parents know very little about the history of things such as Maya ceremonies or Juego Pelota Maya. He does not know his grandparents and his only more senior relative is mute and illiterate. There is no way to communicate the knowledge that he holds. Yet Quíc is determined. He reads book from the library and searches for more information on the Internet.
Upon meeting Quíc for the first time, he might see like an ordinary teenage, but he’s far from it. I am constantly amazed with him, his passion, and his gentle and honest spirit as I get to know him better. He has such a positive self-image and his deeply amiable soul just emanates from within.