This is the place for photos and reflections of my visits to Latin America beginning in 2012. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr. HAPPY TRAILS!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


2sday started with a peaceful time on the deck outside our rooms, watching the herons and the fisherman.

After breakfast we made visits to 3 of our Beca families. The families were expecting Mynor and me but having the sponsors arrive at their door was a surprise and an honor. 1st we visited Sue's sponsored girl, Flor.

Then Sharon and Chris Brink joined Mynor and me for a visit to Rosemary, the student sponsored by Sharon's other son and Chris' brother Greg and Mike's and my daughter, Mariah.
No doubt in Rosemary's home how important Mariah and Greg are to them. They have this collection of photos of Mariah and Greg and  ofmy previous visits on their wall with 'My Family' at the top.

 Our 3rd visit was to the house of Juan Carlos, Sharon and her husband Gary's sponsored boy.
 Admiring Juan Carlos' artwork
The ceiling was even more remarkable in person.
Chris checks out Juan Carlos' track medals. Before we left Juan Carlos offered a wooden boat he'd made in industrial arts and one of his precious track medals to Sharon as gifts.
It was an emotional visit; Juan Carlos would like to be a lawyer but had been warned that the money for such extensive schooling might not be available. When Sharon told him (and Mynor translated for the parents) that she and Gary plan to continue to support his education through university there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

Juan Carlos' mother had made tamales for us. Since we were heading to a group lunch as a next stop, we shared one and she sent the rest home with us for dinner (package in Chris' hand in the group photo).

Next we headed to the home of Jose Nehemias and his family for lessons in tortilla making and the preparation of a typical lunch. This was a similar activity to the 1 last week but with different folks and a slightly different menu.

 Go Sharon!
My best tortilla ever!
The pan is over a hole in the comal and has eggs in it.
Mynor stirring the tomates (like small tomatillos) over the open fire; the women got a kick out of a man cooking.
Cutting up onions and skinning and mashing the tomatoes.

Mashing the roasted chiles - spicy!
Maria Osorio's sponsor had sent a package with a friend who was visiting the area. The friend delivered it to the Cooperativa school and I delivered it to Maria Osorio - big smiles.

Mynor can tuck away tortillas but it looked like plenty!
Serving up!
 Notice the new watch on Maria Osorio's wrist.

Just add coffee and tortillas - delicious! We used the tortillas and the eggs to scoop up the stew. 

After lunch Chris and Sharon Brink, Sue, and I headed to the dock and got on a boat for Santiago Atitlan - the annual fair was today. Mynor and his beautiful family sat across from us.

 Guatemala's flag
This little guy was skeptical at 1st but warmed up as the trip progressed.

Chris made friends with the girl in the seat behind me.
 A crowded, slow ride
Sharon and I liked the view - such pretty blouses and jewelry.
Right out of the boat I recognized the guide I'd used to find Maximon in 2007 and 2009 and enjoyed his company again this year. I gave him photos I'd taken the other years, a big hit.
Enroute to Maximon we watched a parade; it kept circluing the town so we watched it again later in the afternoon. Here's the band 
followed by a large group of womenwith covered heads and large candles. There hands were protected from the wax by banana leaves.
Then a group of men singing past by
followed by others carrying Santiago (St. James) and other effigies on their shoulders.
After the parade we followed our guide up streets and through lanes to this year's home of Maximon, patron saint of alcohol, tobacco, and prostitutes. He's moved once a year.
We paid 2 quetzales each (about a quarter) to enter and an extra 10 quetzales for this photo; when I paid they tucked the 20 quetzal note behind the scarf. Others had left cigars and whiskey as gifts; I'm guessing the gathered crowd was helping Maximon with that part. Not sure who was wrapped in a blanket in the glass coffin in the background.
 This is the front of the Catholic church. The photos are of Father Stanley Rother, in death and in life. He was a strong advocate for the Maya people during the genocide period and was assasinated - martyred - in the 80s. His body was sent home to the US for burial but his heart was entombed in the church.
Inside the church
and the view of the carnival and Volcan San Pedro from the steps.
In the parque central we watched a bazaar group of costumed dancers. The music changed genres but the dancing remained the same. I was expecting the conquistador dancers I've seen at other festivals but this looked like something from a Star Wars movie.
Here comes the parade again!
We headed down the street toward the dock, taking photos and shopping as we went. 
See the joy on Sharon's face - thrilled to have the decision making and negoatiating behind her.

This saleswoman is wearing the traditional head dress of Santiago, usually only seen on older women. It's dozens of yards of red woven fabric about 2 inches wide wrapped like a halo with decorative embroidery on the outside wrap.

Chris scored a 2 headed jaguar bench like the 1 I've loved for years at Casa Cristina; I'm a little jealous.
The sales people followed us down the dock and almost into the boat. The remaining seat for Sharon was beside an old drunk guy and this high-pressure saleswoman. When she turned to me and said, "Stacey, this isn't good' I captured the moment.
 I traded seats with her and passed a few minutes with this view
before this nice driver offered a seat next to the motor where the views and the conversation were much better.

We arrived back in San Pedro at dusk; there were hoards of tuktuks waiting but we had no need since Mikaso Hotel is just a few blocks from the dock.
Such an interesting, satisfying day! I went to sleep with my Santiago purchases nearby - a folk art rooster (20Q = $2.50), a beautiful beaded bracelet (half that) and my 2 quetzal ticket to the public bathroom (which came with a chunk of toilet paper). Good night!

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