Sunday, May 18, 2008


Here is some food I bought at the market today--green beans, (small) plums, strawberries, tomatoes, peas, carrots, and plantains.

Below is a native version of the avocado, Persea schiedeana, locally referred to as coyeu. More information here. Unlike the avocado, they have some fibers, and a slightly nutty tasty. They are sought out here, usually costing 5 or 6 times more than an avocado (5-6 quetzales or $0.70).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Computer fixed

After six months of being out of commission, my laptop is and improved with a 160 GB hard drive. I had run out of space with the old 40GB, but in the process of changing the hard drive (instructions at ifixit ), I pulled the power connector off the board. I moped around for 4 months about this before I finally decided to hand it over to the local electronics man. He had never worked on a laptop, but he did it! And he didn´t charge. Amazing. Hopefully, this will be enough motivation to keep me posting more frequently.

I´m working at the municipality again. I have been going out to organize community groups and help them prioritize their needs. The photo is from a meeting on Monday in the community of Coyegual. Basically they make a list of everything they want for their community, and they decide what is most important. These needs are usually pretty basic. In Plan Grande, for example, they decided that the projects they wanted were--
1. Piped water to their houses (right now half the families are still carrying water from a stream).
2. Building a wall around the school
3. Cementing the main street in their village
4. Building an addition onto the school
5. Building a school kitchen
6. Latrines (many families still don´t have latrines, or they are not in good condition).
I should mention that this community is one of the more abandoned communities of San Antonio.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Monkey breaks glasses

Paquita the monkey just broke my glasses!!!! I was too close to the cage, and she pulled the glasses off before I had time to react.

In other news, waiting out Hurricane Felix in a hotel in Huehuetenango...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Astrid´s Birthday

Astrid is the granddaughter of the family where I live. She had her first birthday in March. Now she can walk on her own and talk (a few words--Anny{her cousin}, taxi, agua{water}, chucho{dog, which is what she calls they cat}). She is very cute.

Here she is with her parents, Mina (who is the daughter of the family where I live) and Mauricio.

Friday, March 09, 2007


The past couple of weeks I have been going with Mari to visit some communities. In each community, we have been surveying residents (she is doing Food Security surveys, I am doing general surveys). Along the way, I have been taking GPS points and photos of schools. There are more pictures here, and as can been seen from the two photos above, not all the schools are as well constructed and maintained. As far as I know, the school made of boards and mesh wire is the worst. Interestingly, it is located right on the outskirts of the urban area. The community was offered a new building by a foreigner (Canadian or Swiss, depends on who you ask), who has been travelling around the area building schools in memory of his son. For some reason, the community did not want the supplies (he was going to deliver all the materials, but no money), and they wanted the money. Something like that. So, another community, La Cieneguita, was the recipient of the school (the green and red one).

Also in this group of photos are some from Carnaval, which included ladies dancing in the street (and young men dressed as women dancing) and cracking egg shells filled with confetti on people´s heads. That was about it. Also, various pictures, a weird spider, a cake I made, and photos of the forestry guy, Pépe and his parents.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


This is a waterfall we walked to last weekend. There is an even bigger (100m) waterfall right below this one that I plan to visit tomorrow. More photos are here.

I realized that there are some things that surprised me when I got here that I thought I would share:

-People often eat with just tortillas here (no silverware).

-People have metal around the edges of their teeth to keep the teeth from cracking. I thought this was pretty unattractive until I saw someone with their teeth broken. Luckily, nutrition is better now, and most young people have good teeth.

-Almost everyone washes clothes by hand here (only women wash). Machines are expensive here.

-Coffee is the main crop here. It sells for less than $100 per hundredweight. The main crop used to be sugar cane, but people can make more with coffee.

-You can eat mangoes green (with salt).
Something funny happened today--I had heard the refrain of this song (a man singing) "Estoy enamorado de un hombre (I´m in love with a man)." And I thought that was pretty liberal, considering I haven´t seen any openly gay couples here, but, there is a lot of Mexican music here, so maybe it was a Mexican song. Then I heard the rest of the song today--"Estoy enamorado de un hombre, y se llama Jesús. (I´m in love with a man, and his name is Jesus)." That changes things.

That is about all. I´m still working on the web page and the community maps. The goal is to have a comprehensive map with road type and condition, schools, churches, health centers, services, etc... Here are some maps I made to show where San Antonio is.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Water Project Inauguration

A few weeks ago, all of the municipal employees went to El Pajal, a village of San Antonio, for the inauguration of the water project. Click here for a (shaky) video of the mayor, don Oliver, giving the dedication speech.
There are also pictures here of the event, as well as the road construction currently underway in San Antonio (all work done by hand, including digging the trenches).