Friday, December 25, 2009
We have dinner in the kitchen around the cooking fire. We are served the most special feast of eggs, hotdogs, fried potatoes and freshly made tortillas. Geronimo tells us this is the first time any of the children here have ever received a present. This village was hit hard by the civil war, neighbors were turned against each other, terrible acts committed. But the family is strong, they take care of each other, they give each other all they can, and most of the time all they have is love. He hugs Jon and I, we are part of his family forever.
We catch the bus as the sun is rising, Geronimo and his pack of dogs see us off. On the journey home I can't help but listen to the Guatemalan Christmas music blasting from and ancient speaker. The song changes and most unexpectedly I hear the Jon Lennon christmas song. The war is over. This time I can't hold back the tears, I let them roll, I let people think what they will. So merrymerry Chirstmas, and a happy new year. Let's hope its a good one with out any fear.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Chepe and I in our kitchen making pizza with our aprons on.
Miguel (my fave), myself, Claudia (see previous blog), and Jon my coworker- just outside of the village Miguel is from, in between Xela and Lago de Atitlan.
Sunrise over Lago de Atitlan from the sumit of Pico Zunil with Miguel and Chepe.
Surprise! Its a girl!!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This past Saturday was my first off since I became a volunteer. I have spent all of the previous weekends leading tourists up to Tajulmulco, the highest point in central America. Tajulmulco is 4200 meters of unforgiving mountain, and the trek is often quite uncomfortable. But this is not what I am moved to write about, I’d rather tell about the reason why I get up at three thirty in the morning to summit a mountain in the rain and hail… for the 16 boys and 3 girls that live in the dormitory whose sole support is our treks.
On my day off my friend Henry, whom I know because he lives in the dormitory, invited me to watch his futbol game. Henry is thirteen, he loves soccer, the captain of his team, he is the golden boy of the Hogar, everyone adores him. He was abandoned by his family at a very young age and spent a lot of time on the street, but you would never guess by his manners. I meet him at the dormitory and we ride the bus together with another team mate to the field. This perspective is a new one, I’ve never traversed the streets of Guatemala with adolescent boys. We are rowdy, hanging out the back door of the bus, watching the city flash by, knowing exactly where we are going. The field is at the edge of town, in the middle of random garbage dumps and corn crops that butt up against the high mountains surrounding the valley. There is more grass that I expected and I sit some on the sidelines and watch the boys warm up. Pasion Inexplicable vs. Cebollinas. Henry introduces me to his coach, who tells me of his passion for the late “Meekal Yakson” and asks me to translate the lyrics to Beat it and other favorites. This is not the first time I’ve been asked this here. A truck with a huge speaker atop parks along side the field and blasts latino pop hits into the afternoon, “viene la musica!” The sun is high as the game starts and I ponder how many paths have lead me to this specific point in my life. I think of something my friend Ana was doing the last time we were together, writing her self at her current age a letter from the perspective of her self at eighty years old. Mentally I ask what I would tell myself now. I conclude, with all the knowledge and wisdom of my eighty years, that right now I am doing exactly what I should be doing at this moment, in this chapter. I can see the effects of my work here. I am watching Henry play.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
There are too many stories to tell at this particular time to relate where my journey has taken me. In short I am in Guatemala, and have been for the past month or so. These pictures capture a fraction of the beauty that can be found here. I was able to observe this beauty through the work I have been doing. I joined a nonprofit organization called Quetzal trekkers as a volunteer guide. It is the embodiment of everything that I have asked for. A simple program that raises money for a school for street kids and for a home for otherwise homeless children, by taking people on treks in the mountains of Guatemala. There are six of us volunteers, we are a part of the lives of the kids we raise money for. We play soccer, we eat dinner, we hike together. These pictures come from the hike I am learning to lead. I came back today after six days of trekking, after experiencing a side of the country that many don't, through areas most affected by the civil war that raged for so long here. I am learning so much history by osmosis, by being here, by seeing and feeling the memories of the war that still haunt the people and the land. I have decided that the best things to write about are the things that touch me. I am working on a tale or two so check back soon.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
So I after a months stay I leave my car in the care of a friend and continue on with my friend Ana to camp and hitchhike our way to a place called San Christobal de Las Casas. We take a few days to visit another mayan ruin site and stay at the most beautifull waterfalls (see pictures from previous blog). The mountains are high and the road is windy. We pass from jungle into pine forest and back again, through mists, across barren mountain tops. This land is still very much inhabited by the indegenous people of Chiapas. Well worn foot paths lead to villages miles and miles away from the road where many traditional cultures are still alive and well. These mountains are the origen of the Zapatista rebellion in the nineties. The communities here continue to identify themselfs as Zapatistas, having their own governing structure. I am learning and experiencing more about this topic and will write more when I am better educated.
Now I have made it to San Christobal, and have come to the end of any kind of plans I have made. The future is open. The day is promising.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I am in and around Palenque, Chiapas. I arrived here about a month ago, but really, there is no time here. I have found work on a small farm. Life is very simple. Wake with the sunrise, do chores and farmwork, eat beautifull fresh food, nap, read, stretch, walk, ride, cook, sing... and sleep. We have no electricity, but we do have running water and gas, which is more than most people in this area. I am learning all about preserving methods for mangos, there are so many that we can´t keep up with them as they ripen. There is a family of monkeys in the trees above my hut that I am getting to know. There will be more stories to come.
Much love to all.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
So, we leave the farm and go to meet up with our cyclist friend, Josh (whom you may remember from previous blogs), who is camping on a nearby beach. The beach is a beautifull cove called Playa Aragon. We spent the next few days meeting the beautifull people who have created a small camp. Musicians from Spain, people treking on foot across Mexico, and many more shared their food, stories, music, warmth and good times with us. We had a really hard time leaving. But after four days we needed to head out. The next part of the saga requires a blog to itself so I will save it for later. Don´t worry we are fine, and it will be a good story someday. Please send good energy to our car, she needs it.
Monday, March 9, 2009
It takes one pineapple one year to reach maturity...
These are some of the orchards of Punta Colorada, the granja where we work. In this picute are palmas, limons, naranjas, y posible papayas...
El diablo himself in Oaxaca city
If you like piña coladas...
Funny story, after I wrote this in the dust on our window it became a free for all for anyone and everyone to write something. We now have a beautifull mural on our back hatch.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Ahhh, to be out of southern California, there is nothing quite like it... After leaving Hollywood, we headed for Joshua tree Natl park and camped out for the night. We set up camp just as the full moon rose over the desert monoliths, coyotes sung us to sleep. The next day we headed out on a hike around the park and then on to Phoenix. Next stop: Aurora's dad's place, a house on the edge of town on a property shared with a motorcycle shop and a palm tree business run by her older brother. There are many mechanics here, many roosters, an alligator, a dog with enormous testicles, a dude named Red. We stay here for three days, getting the car worked on, getting things together. Durring this time Claudia realizes that she must return to San Francisco, so sadly we say good bye. On to Tuscon, our last stop where we will stay with people who aren't total strangers and who speak our language. Our hosts, Kevin and Amber graciously share their house and yard with us. We are having a blast exploring the desert and the city of Tuscon. Yesterday we hiked up Bear Canyon and caught the sunset on the way down. Kevin works on trail crews locally and is very knowledgable about desert ecology, so its awesome to have him around to explain everything we see. Today I am biking all around Tuscon on Amber's ride. Its about 75 degrees, I feel like I'm on the edge of too much sun for the day, so I'll head back to homebase soon.