In episode 2 of our new BBtv WORLD series, Xeni reports in from a K'iche Maya village in the Guatemalan highlands, and we step inside a traditional Mayan steam bath, or "tuj."
This pueblo began as a settlement camp for "environmental refugees" -- people who became displaced after mudslides and floods caused by Hurricane Mitch made their ancestral village unsafe. Survivors packed what belongings they could on their backs and walked miles to a bare patch of cold, windy mountaintop nicknamed "Alaska" for its extreme microclimate.
Nearly ten years after the disaster and the subsequent loss of their homes, these people are still struggling for survival. Their traditions are a source of strength, and today we experience one of them -- a small brick hut filled with hot volcanic rocks, steam, and herb branches gathered from nearby mountains.
Previously on BBtv WORLD:
(image: Xeni Jardin)