Kilometer Zero at the National Palace, Guatemala

text and photos by Michael Sherer Set at the northern end of the enormous Plaza Mayor, Guatemala’s National Palace is the origin of all the roads in the Republic with a spot known as Kilómetro Cero. Two and half miles north of the gleaming chrome-and-glass towers that line the Avenida La Reforma, the edifice is flanked by the Biblioteca Nacional […]

Read more

Health Care in Colonial Guatemala

Part III: University of San Carlos Medical School By the end of the 17th century, six hospitals had been founded in Guatemala. But, lacking scientific information and methods, hospitals provided little more than refuge or asylum. Sickness and cultural attitudes toward it were a social problem. In addition, the times were characterized by conflict between the king’s people and the […]

Read more

Guatemala’s National Dish Revealed!

Twenty months after her first and, to date, sole visit to Guatemala, my niece Holly Myrick remains stricken by Guatemala. In March she did her seventh-grade country report, and she could have chosen any of Earth’s 197 sovereignties. Reader, you guessed it—she didn’t choose Djibouti. It helped to have a Guatemala expert (so reputed) in the family. Had I the […]

Read more

Horses Have Rights

There is a forgotten population in Guatemala: the equine population. The Foundation for Equine Welfare in Guatemala, known as ESAP, reports that the Guatemalan government has not included more than 250,000 equines in the country’s census since 2003. For six years, horses, mules and donkeys have been forgotten by the government, and ESAP says that neglect is reflected within rural […]

Read more

People and Projects: PROGRESA

2009 conference participants on developing community-service projects

PROGRESA is a Quaker-run scholarship/loan program that has been in existence for over 35 years. Jointly sponsored by the Guatemala Friends meeting and a Friends meeting in California, the program helps Guatemalans attend universities and secondary schools. Our focus is on the rural poor who often don’t have access to higher education in their communities. Our office is in Parramos, […]

Read more

6 Sky

6 Sky Art Exhibit

The Legacy of Mesoamerican Astronomical Knowledge Art Exhibit: July 22-28, The Galería, Panajachel, Lake Atitlán Astronomy, mythology, the calendar and the spirit world were all of extreme importance to the ancient Mesoamericans. Artist-scholar Dave Schaefer renders these themes in multiple sets of dimensions this month in Panajachel, Lake Atitlán. Some of his images are realized with acrylic on canvas; others […]

Read more

Not Just Another Flash in the Pan Pipe

Sol Latino Playing

text and photos by Michael Sherer Haunting sinuous melodies interwoven with cañas and Peruvian pan pipes, punctuated by a perfect blend of voices backed by guitars and 10-string charangos, peppered with conga drums and a professional quality home-made bass drum fill the green-and-white room at the La Peña de Sol Latino restaurant and bar five nights a week in La […]

Read more

Postcards from the Park

text/photos by Melba Milak The city of La Antigua Guatemala is laid out in a simple grid: seven avenues running north and south and 10 streets going east and west. In the center of town is a park (Plaza Mayor), the heart and soul of the whole area. The atmosphere in the park is carefree and carnival-like. When visiting Antigua, […]

Read more

Some Guatemalan Cultural Firsts

Guatemala is home to many surprising precedents, for better or worse. Guatemala is the oldest country in the Americas, though not the oldest republic. Civilization, kindled here some 43 centuries ago, is Guatemala’s loftiest precedent. Ancient Guatemalans were the first peoples in the Americas known to engineer a sophisticated water-pressure system. They may have been the first in the world […]

Read more

Anonymous donor makes big pledge to support Hospitalito Atitlán

Since the devastating mudslides of 2005, a small hospital in Santiago Atitlán has been struggling to serve the community. In the four years since Hospitalito Atitlán opened, it has filled a great need with a 24-hour emergency room, X-ray, lab and clinics. The hospital board has been hard at work to build a new, permanent hospital, which is slowly taking […]

Read more

Project Partner for Surgery

One out of 10 rural Guatemalans suffers from a physical condition or disability that can be surgically cured. However, only 11 percent of Guatemalans have access to surgical care. Maya Indian populations face daunting barriers to treatment, including fear of hospitals and lack of information, Spanish language skills and financial resources.

Read more

Crafting Clay in Tutuapa, Guatemala

text and photos by Kathy Rousso Food tastes better when it is cooked in a clay pot, everyone agrees. While today enamel and aluminum cookware is found in most kitchens, many cooks still have a clay pot or two for their special dish. Before synthetic materials were available, clay pots, in many shapes and sizes, were the only option. Pottery […]

Read more

Artisty in Wood

Woodcarvers Oscar Geovani and Eduardo Reyes create an intricate headboard

text and photos by Ira Lewis Woodcarving in Guatemala Guatemala is fortunate to have a long, rich history of artisan/artists working in many media going back to pre-Colonial times. Most of the ancient sculpted art is seen as carved stone. However, some of the less-durable carvings in wood from this era still survive. We are fortunate that in this plastic, […]

Read more

Healthcare in Colonial Guatemala

Ruin of inside wall of Hospital Real de Santiago, now within a private garden

written by Joy Houston photos: Jack Houston Part I: 16th Century What medical options were available centuries ago in Guatemala for wounds from enemy arrows, burns, natural disasters or epidemics? Mixing medicine with magic was routine in colonial days. “Medical science was slave to theory and superstition,” writes Carlos Martínez Durán in Las Ciencias Médicas en Guatemala. What was done […]

Read more

In Pursuit of Goatsuckers

Speculation on the elusive and mischievous Chupacabra Goatsuckers are not something you see every day. In fact, they are not something that most of us will ever see on any day. Nevertheless, so many Central Americans believe in their existence that, for their sakes, we need to give a fair hearing to the possibility. Whether goatsuckers exist or not, they […]

Read more

Night of the Fire Balls

written by Brent Holmes photos: Winston Scott Festival of the Patron Saint San Antonio Senahú, Alta Verapaz Pretty wild stuff it was that December night of fireballs at the festival of the Patron Saint San Antonio, Senahú. The game is kind of like “dodge ball” except the balls are on fire, like a couple of street gangs facing off, throwing […]

Read more

Plants of the Montane Forests

written by Ana Lucrecia de MacVean Plantas de los Bosques Montanos Guatemala Ana Lucrecia de MacVean is a botanist, teacher and curator of the Herbarium UVAL, Institute of Research at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. She has been collecting, identifying and studying plants in Guatemala for more than 15 years, and in doing so developed a geo-referencing and digitizing […]

Read more

Project Ix-canaan

written by Maraya Loza-Koxahn Project Ix-canaan was established in 1995 by Canadian Anne Lossing and Guatemalan doctor Enrique Chapetón in El Remate near Lake Petén Itzá. Her dream to live in a hot climate and a vision of world peace led Anne to the jungle, where she met a man with a complementary vision. Together they continue to create better […]

Read more

Sea Salt

She sells sea salt by the seashore: packaging salt at the Sol y Mar factory

Guatemala produces unrefined natural sea salt which is much higher in vital essential minerals…and it’s inexpensive as well Wars have been fought over it. Deer in the woods and cows in the pasture love it. Gourmet shops hold sophisticated human tastings of it in elegant surroundings. If you spill some and wish to ward off future bad luck, throw a […]

Read more

Thor Janson

Janson enjoys a morning cup before heading out to his 'studio'

Wildlife conservationist, photographer, author, adventurer, environmentalist and educator The volcano Pacaya in Guatemala began erupting more dramatically than usual one day several years ago, and nature photographer Thor Janson rushed to the slopes to take pictures for his files. “By 4 o’clock Pacaya was spewing molten lava several hundred meters into the air every 30 to 45 seconds,” Thor recalls. […]

Read more

Celebrating the Month of Museums in Guatemala

By agreement of the International Council of Museums XII at its general meeting in Moscow, Russia, the International Day of Museums is now celebrated all around the world on May 18. Museums provide valuable cultural interchanges and enrichment, and every year there are spectacular events and special expositions that highlight the originality of each and every member of ICOM (Consejo […]

Read more

Comalapa Naïve

Oscar Perén with some of his paintings in his gallery

written by Dianne Carafino “The Florence of Guatemala” was once posted on a sign at the entrance of San Juan Comalapa. Regardless of such a welcome, Comalapa —an easy hour or so drive from La Antigua Guatemala—could hardly look less like Florence, Italy. Nestled among pine trees and cornfields in the scenic mountainous Western Highlands of the Department of Chimaltenango, […]

Read more

When the Rains Come

Contemplating the rain by Rudy Girón

Now is the May month, the solstice of the seasons you might say. Flukes of hesitant rain tickle the dust laid these six months before, grain upon powdered grain. The ignorant drips have no certainty of what might follow. In the afternoon sunlight Hunahpú assumes its dark cap, an inverted saucer of cloud that displaced the golden clouds that surround […]

Read more

Springtime for Chicharra and Chiquirín

Chicharra or Cicada

Lovesick cicadas electrify the air with an amorous din as they hurdle from puberty to old age “In the spring,” wrote Tennyson in his poem Locksley Hall, “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” The same could be said of old cicadas in Central America. Every spring, millions of them emerge from the ground to molt, unfurl […]

Read more

Aconcagua Expedition 2009

Vinicio and Manuel Álvarez fly Guatemala’s colors on the summit of Monte Aconcagua

written by Kathy Nuñez Töpke A team of four Antigüeños and one Quetzalteco recently embarked on a journey to climb Aconcagua (Argentina), the highest mountain peak in the Americas, at 6,962 meters above sea level. The team members were: Manuela Rosales, Omar Salomón Soto, Manuel Álvarez, Vinicio Álvarez (guide) all from La Antigua, and Manuel Mejía from Quetzaltenango. On Wednesday, […]

Read more
1 2 3 4 5 6