4 March 2024

Meet my new friend – William Lopez

Most countries I go to, I tend to make at least one everlasting relationship. It is usually the person who takes me around – unless I choose to drive or rely entirely on public transport. I have about 30 such life long friends from all over the world.

Please meet my new friend – William Lopez from Guatemala. He was my friend, philosopher and guide during my entire stay here. A person with an amazing personal journey.

He lived in Italy and married this most beautiful woman he met there. Except, she died at childbirth. To let him put it … “It was difficult to raise my child by myself at first”. But he did. His son is growing up in Italy as an aerospace engineer.

Life dealt the next unkind deal with his mom contracting cancer. He left his son to his in-laws and better education there to take care of his mom (and dad) in Antigua. His two brothers also leave abroad. Thankfully, his mom is a survivor today!!

He said he had never worked this hard before to get out of debt. And then Covid came!! Had to sell all his cars that he used for touring business. But he is building it up again. His parents and he support an orphanage and run a Spanish-learning school. They are finishing up his house to be a four room bed-and-breakfast for foreign students to come and learn Spanish and stay at their place and eat meals cooked by his mom. The current students have to live by strict rules – no smoking inside the property and you cannot bring your boyfriend or girlfriend in unless they are students too.

For all that hard work, I never saw him not smiling. In fact, the remotest of the villages we went to – everybody seemed to know him. The parking lot guy in Panajachel came running to him, every shopkeeper in San Juan gave them updates on their family (from the barebones Spanish I could understand).

It is like he has touched so many lives!!

The kind of guy I want to be some day when I grow up!

In the meanwhile, if you or your friends every want to visit Guatemala – and I can vouch for you that all you hear about insecurity in this country in Western media is just a minuscule representation of this country – I personally felt safer in all places in Cd. Guatemala than I feel even around my office in Atlanta. No homeless person screamed at me here – and I really encourage you to do so, please feel free to reach out to this young gentleman. He really knows a thing or two about how to deal with people.

Posted March 4, 2024 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points", "Vacations

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