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!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Last weekend brought a big transition for me. After the shared celebration at the Beca Project luncheon and saying goodbye to the sponsors who had joined me here for the week, I moved my things from hotel to a host family (more on that in a future post)

and headed on a lancha to the village of San Marcos with 2 Spanish school friends.

San Marcos has a new agey, crystal waving reputation of which we didn't partake.

The highlight for us was a hike in the beautiful reserve; cost to enter was 15 quetzales, about $2. There were some beautiful altars and views and great places to swim (though we didn't partake in the latter, either).

We headed back to the dock for the ride back to San Pedro and caught this glimpse of the knoll where we'd been hiking.

Monday brought the start of 4-8 Beca family visits per day. Part of the preparation for that includes sorting through and organizing the gifts and photos that sponsors sent to me before I flew south. I share my own photos of family and favorite activities (my scuba diving photos are popular) and give each new student a flash drive for storing school work. Many of the families offer us food so Mynor and I have learned to avoid eating too much breakfast before heading out. If the photos are bright, the setting was outside or we used a flash; many of the houses have no lights and few windows.

Here are some favorites from Monday's and 2sday's visits.

Mynor and I are also heading between schools and the bank to pay tuition and fees for the kids for the rest of the school year which ends in October. 

This is the Bilingual Secretarial school in neighboring San Juan, with details of a class schedule, an inexplicable ceiling light fixture, and some cute chickens feeding under coffee and avocado trees on the walk back to the main road.

And on the shared tuktuk ride back to San Pedro, another example of world class Maya baby cuteness.

You can find the complete photo sets for this trip HERE.
Happy trails!

Saturday, July 26, 2014


In a week with many highlights, today's celebration luncheon with all of the Beca families was a standout. This is the 4th time we've brought all of them together for a celebration meal. As the project has grown, so has the guest list; today there were more than 300!

Many of you know that last year when I was here in San Pedro during Semana Santa (Easter), I acquired the remaining pieces I needed to have the full traditional traje for this village. I wore it for Easter mass in 2013 and today was the 2nd time. I asked a housekeeper at our hotel to help me figure out the folds in the wrapped corte (skirt) and make sure it was really secured with the faja (belt) so I wouldn't find myself and 300 guests in an uncomfortable spot.

I headed up to the Cooperativa Spanish School and checked in on Andrea and Griselda (and a large crew of assistants) who were busy with the largest pot of soup I have ever seen.

As the guests arrived, it was my joy to greet everyone (usually means a hug and a kiss on the cheek) and Mynor handed out information about our schedule for home visits over the next 2 weeks. 

Everyone found a place in the beautiful gardens to chat and wait their turn to eat. The visiting sponsors enjoyed another chance to get to know their Beca kids and the food was delicious

I am nearly swept away with gratitude for everyone who makes it possible to help these kids envision a brighter future for themselves and their families. I will fall asleep tonight with a very happy heart.

You can find the complete photo sets for this trip HERE.
Happy trails!