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, April 26, 2017


So I've made my way to the last blog post for this trip. In this post I'm tossing everything that hasn't already been addressed.

ALWAYS, a highlight of our time in Guatemala is time shared with Mynor and Josefa and their boys Manuel (left) and Antonio (right). Some mutual friends were visiting at the same time which added to the fun. Here's a dinner out.

We love our home away from home in San Pedro, Ti Wachooch. This is a view of it from the street; the bottom 2 floors are Mynor and Josefa's home, the 3rd floor is where our place is, and the terrace and 'throne' at the top we share. The hose is there because water was being pumped from the water reservoir beneath the house to the rotoplas tank on the roof.

Here are some of the views from our home and the terrace, starting with folks sorting dried corn.

A bucket brigade pouring a new roof


A morning view of Volcán San Pedro

Sunset over Las Cristalinas (Indian Nose)

We visited our friend Anne who is living in San Pedro for 6 months and has 2 young boys attending school there; the 2nd photo down is the view of our terrace from her terrace - neighbors!

The white building that says 'IMEBDC' in blue is the school most of our youngest 3 crops of Beca students attend as well as older students studying Business Administration.

Another highlight of San Pedro is shopping in the market. Here I'm buying chia seeds for my breakfasts.

The same booth: copal lit up by the early morning sun

The big corozo palm pods we see around Semana Santa hold these fragrant seeds, used for decoration.

Fruit lovers paradise - much more flavorful fruit at a fraction of the US prices.

The honey is rich and complex and citrusy - the fragrance almost makes me swoon.

Mike has developed a passion for fresh peanuts roasted in the shell.

Here's an example of a morning's shopping bounty:

Here are some sample meals:

Beca student Dorcas, her sister, and another woman have started an artisan chocolate business that is blossoming. When I visited the day before we were heading home to purchase a stash for us and gifts, there were 5 women wrapping and labeling the bars and the fragrance almost knocked me over.

I bought some plastic shopping baskets to take home from this nice lady with such an interesting booth.

These shoe shine boys talked Mike into a Birkenstock improvement.

No visit to San Pedro is complete without a few visits to the Cooperativa Spanish School, lovelier every year.

And here are a few more random street photos.

Note the Harry Potter cap. :-)

This must be the most super heroish boy in town - note the shirt layers and Spiderman shopping bag warn as a cape (and his mom's smile in the background).

And just like that, our 3 weeks were over. We spent our last night near the airport in Guatemala City and I took this photo of the volcanoes that guard Lake Atitlán as we flew off, leaving beautiful Guatemala and another wonderful adventure behind us.

There's a larger set of San Pedro photos here and the entire April 2017 collection is here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Our beloved Beca Project brings so much joy to our lives! I hope our students and their families understand - and I try to explain it every visit - that the positive impact of our relationship with them extends both ways. Many of the sponsors have visited San Pedro and can attest to the power of the emotional connection and to the pride of these families for their children's successes. Every year the confidence of the students grows - sometimes in phenomenal leaps from painfully shy to confident and outgoing - and the confidence of the parents and siblings shines through as well.

Gone are the days when I could visit every family in their home every year - there are just too many now to make that feasible, especially since visiting requires a guide to find the homes and a translator for the local Maya language, Tz'utujil, to Spanish or English and back. We'd be literally and figuratively lost without those services from Mynor and he's a busy guy. Our current compromise is to visit just the homes of each year's new students, which Mynor and I set out to do during the week following Semana Santa; we visited 7 families and will visit the remaining 5 when I'm back in August.



Maria Mendez

Juan Rafael



Juan Felipe showing me a magic trick

Anyone who has visited San Pedro with me can attest to my joy in running into Beca Project students and their families in the street and in the market. Here are a few photos of chance meetings with current and former students.

Tono, one of our graduates, is proud to be a police officer now.

Dorcas - seen with her mother - is a university student.

Juana Micaela (left), is taking a year off between Diversificado and university to help with the cost of education for her siblings.


Beca students Mayra (left) and Jennifer (right) with a school friend

Paulina is a former Beca Project student who is working in town to support her family; I haven't seen her for more than a year and she looked wonderful.

Evelin Elena is finishing her last year of university, training to be a teacher; we passed her as she walked her daughter Rosario to school.

Rosa Maria and her mother selling tortillas in the market.

Another version of this was seeing Beca students in the Semana Santa processions; here are 3 examples.

Ana Judith

Rosa Maria (2nd from right)

Paola (near the back, smiling)

Mike and I held six 'Ice Cream Fiestas' on the rooftop terrace of Ti Wachooch in order to see as many of the other students as we could. As the week progressed the students - and the confidence and type of conversation - changed since we started with the youngest kids and ended with the kids in their final years of Diversificado programs (like a combination of high school and trade school/community college).

Onward and upward!

If you're interested in looking at the full set of Beca Project-related photos from this trip, click here.