Blogs from Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 7


Today we were at San Jorge la Laguna and it was one of our busiest clinic days we’ve had so far! Today was also the first day that we needed two translators, one translator to go from kakchiquel to Spanish, and another to go from Spanish to English. It was so cool to hear kakchiquel spoken, and by the end of the day I was able to pick up on a couple of words. The clinic was a short walk from the water which only made me want to head to the lake that much more! My stomach was a little better today but I still didn’t want to chance it so at lunch I decided to not eat the meat and instead just eat rice, tortillas, vegetables and Jamaica juice. We didn’t have any notable ... read more

It's been awhile since I wrote last - sorry! To be honest though, not too much really happened before Christmas. We just did the norm -- wake up, coffee (Roger is in LOVE with our espresso maker!), volunteer, dinner, sleep with a few hours of bass and books thrown in. Christmas wasn't really anything too different either. We decided not to exchange gifts since we're sharing all money and everything we own down here anyways. It was a bit of a bummer - I didn't think I'd be bothered by it too much but I really took it hard. It was so different (and not that awesome) to have Christmas without family, without snow, without yummy smells from the kitchen all day. And then looking at everyone's awesome times on Facebook made me even more sad! ... read more

Weaving with ants. This week I have spent the afternoons with Maria and her grandson, who I have been teaching to count in English. He is stuck on 8. Likes to go from 7 to 9 . Makes sense in a Guatemalan kind of way. Maria has been teaching me traditional backstrap weaving . We sit on low stools (enter the ants) , the weaving suspended hammock style, one end on a hook banged into the roof and the other connected round my middle (hence the backstrap). Several hours spent setting it all up and then the weaving which took much patience from Maria till I got the hang of it. I am producing something that wouldn’t look out of place on a deckchair but am very proud of it. Then its a beer to recover ... read more
Weaving with maria and ants
Sunset on Lake Atitlan

As we awaited our lunch, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the largest chicken I have ever laid my eyes upon as it was being wrestled out of a plastic bin bag by the owner of our chosen eatery. We were somewhere in the pulsing heart of the markets of Chichicastenango, renowned for being one of the best in all of Central America. Anyway, back to the chicken. Caroline and I were hungry and I wondered if this particular chicken would be the one that would end up on our plates. Alas, it lived to fight another day, with the lady who ruled over the cooking pots deciding it wasn’t worth spending her money on. It was plunged back into the bag, wings flapping and feet clawing and scratching in its vain search for some ... read more
Flower sellers on the steps of the church.
Typically colourful and happy locals.
It's not only for tourists at the Chichicastenango market.

Earlier this week (the 19th), we had our first benefit party with TRAMA! They actually had a benefit party like, the night before we started volunteering with them, but this was the first one we had a hand in helping out with. It actually started because a lady named Denise, who owns a restaurant called La Esquina Asiatica (the Asian Corner), was being featured on a program back in Singapore, her home country. They were doing a piece on entrepreneurs who have been successful outside of their native country. Well, Denise lives at Yoga House with a number of TRAMA volunteers and it was brought up that we should collaborate on a night. Denise wanted a full house to show the news crew and everyone back home; and we can always use fundraising ideas! We called ... read more
Amparo, Pamela and Fabiana
Roger and Amparo
TRAMA team + Denise!

8am in overloaded tuk tuk, heading up the mountainside at the beautiful Lake Atitlan wee village of San Pedro . I’m in the middle of Guatemala with German friend Regine, on board with her Mayan teacher Don Pedro, his daughter Marina and 2 grandchildren and a bag with candles, fire kindle, resin balls, liquor, cigars, all the materials for sacred fire ceremony on the mountain. 3 hours later hurtling back down in a luge like run and just as dangerous! very hot and smelly but all hopes surpassed, ceremony complete and enjoy the photos to just get a wee sense of this very special contact with the holy places of nature Mayan style. I met my friend who just happened to be in the beautiful colonial city of Antigua and we decided to travel to lake ... read more
Fire ceremony
Antigua 2013 011
Antigua 2013 007

Continuing our week-long vacation in Antigua :) I ended part 1 with Roger's win against the Estonian guy in Chess. The day after that was Sunday, and the Vikings were playing the Cowboys. We found a pretty Americanized bar the night before and went back to watch the game (and eat Chili fries mmmm). There was another Vikings fan there - he was from MN originally, but had been moving around a lot and had actually been living in Guatemala for a few years with his wife and kiddos. There was also a table of Cowboys fans behind us (ughh). It sucked when the Vikes lost -- everyone knew who the 3 Vikings fans were! The next day was MONDAY NOVEMBER 5th - AKA the day we saw VICTOR WOOTEN. For those of you who don't ... read more

Last Thursday was Halloween! In Xela it's really not celebrated and the local's seem to view it as a Devil's holiday of sorts. There are bars that cater to students and offer a free shot or something if dressed up. Roger and I ended up going out last minute the night before to meet up with some friends. We obviously didn't bring costumes with us so we had to improvise. We ran to a secondhand store, a paca, and found a red and white striped winter hat.... obviously that would be a perfect Waldo costume. Roger claimed it and bought a white shirt to go with it that he later colored with red stripes (via red Sharpie). We made some cardboard cat ears at home and I attached them to a headband, dressed all in black ... read more
Walk to Cemetery
Decorated Tomb

As I've talked about before, Roger and I are volunteering for TRAMA textiles. Well, through this lovely organization, we were able to tag along with a customer on her trip to the nearby community of Solola to watch the women weave, and to meet them. One of the women we work with all the time, Oralia, came with. I believe she is from Solola, but we're not 100% sure. Anyways - we left bright and early to meet the customers at their hotel. Bethany and Jamie work with another wonderful organization, called La Limonada, helping those who live in the biggest slum city area in Guatemala City. They use the fabric made from our women at TRAMA to make shoes (and maybe bags, as well?) to benefit those living in the area (website: Bethany and ... read more
Weavers setting up
Detailed embroidery work
Weaving in the hot sun

Okay, so not really crazy, but there are definitely a handful of things that are so different from the U.S. that Roger and I have made note of them. Some were mentioned already (like roof dogs, and the park that's only a tree), but most we've kept out of blogs. We're not complaining at all - we really love this country and that includes all it's quirks. These are just a few things that have most surprised me in the 3ish weeks we've been here. 1) No recycling. This one might be a bit of a complaint, because it would really help beautify the place. There's garbage all over the place, and no places for recycling anywhere. However, you can leave your bottle (of pop, or adult beverage) at the store you bought it at, and ... read more

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