Everything stopped. Everyone fell silent. Candles flickered in the darkness and threw tempered light across the rows of fruit and vegetables lined up in the market stalls.
Thinly clad feet shuffled in the soft light and murmurs surfaced from unseen corners of the vast space. Whispers of an unfamiliar tongue slowly emerged. Soft laughter and truncated sentences.
The voices spoke K’iche’, and rolled off the tongues of local women dressed in the traditional clothing which draws thousands of people to the textile market in the small mountain town of ChiChocastenango in central Guatemala.
From our vantage point on the balcony of the first floor, we witnessed a rare sight. As a blackout plunged the hall into darkness, we gazed down upon a market operating as it would have done for hundreds of years. Local people speaking their indigenous language, to the light of the candles, dressed in traditional clothing and selling produce from the land which has sustained them for generations.
A fortunate experience indeed.
Image: Rachelle Blake