We met Ana Lucia at the open mic night at Hostal del Lago, and instantly bonded over live music. The following day, I returned from a yoga class to our dorm room to find Ana Lucia and Stephen jamming together. Deep in concentration, they continued to sing and play guitar as I tiptoed across the room, sat on my bed, and listened to a few uninterrupted songs.
They eventually took a break from playing, and Ana Lucia began talking about why she had come to our dorm that morning. She said she had noticed Stephen’s performance at the open mic, and felt inspired to discuss music with him more intimately. After hearing her story, we understood why.
Ana Lucia was born and raised in the US to an American father and a Guatemalan mother. Around age 10, her voice began to deepen and her face began to grow hair; she was experiencing puberty with a condition where she had the body of a female and the hormones of a male.
Around the same time, her parents separated and her mother moved back to Guatemala. When she was 18, her father passed away and her step-mother took all of her inheritance, leaving her with nothing. She moved to Guatemala in search of her mother, who she never found.
After many difficult years living in the streets, she was given the guitar that she says saved her life. She found peace in making music and has continued to play as a self-taught singer and guitarist ever since.
Just over three months ago, Ana Lucia came to San Marcos with nothing but the dress on her body and the guitar in her hands. She makes money performing and lives in a small pink building at one of the local hostels.
Stephen and I were speechless after hearing her story of such intense hardship and inspired by the solace she has found in music. Needless to say, when she told us that we need to use our music to bless people, we wholeheartedly agreed.
She went on to play her song, “Touch of an Angel” for us.
After more conversation and music, she invited us to come see her house the following day.
Alex and our friend Emma joined us for a walk through town the next morning, Ana Lucia leading the way and entertaining us with her stories and jokes.
After a great jam session, we chatted for a while, ate lunch, said our goodbyes, and headed out of San Marcos with some unforgettable memories.
“Do you have room in your heart for a sister in Guatemala?” she asked us. Yes, yes we do.