Guatemala launches Central America’s first Braille newspaper

Guatemala launches Central America’s first Braille newspaper (photo Anna-Claire Bevan)

“You don’t need to see to be able to read” was the message Publinews Guatemala sent to the world last month when it launched Central America’s first Braille newspaper. Together with the Committee for Blind and Deaf People in Guatemala (Prociegos), Publinews produced 2,500 copies, which were distributed to visually impaired people throughout the country. The project, which is financed […]

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José Alejos Magical Creatures

Written by. Maru Luarca. “These magic creatures are my connection to a meaningful life.” The heat and the orange-colored dust on my windshield were signs that I was getting close to Hacienda El Jabalín, a beautiful property in southern Guatemala. I came to meet José Alejos, the tough but smiling cowboy, who would be demonstrating how he works with young […]

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Becoming a Guatemalan Citizen

Portrait of Elizabeth Bell

During the 43 years that I have lived in Antigua, I have co-founded and participated in many committees, associations and foundations to improve the quality of life for our residents. Ranging today from education to micro-credit and promoting cultural activities, many of these meetings usually relate to finding solutions to problems that we have identified over the years. Four-plus years […]

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Who are some of Guatemala’s most inspiring men?

I wrote about a similar topic for women for May (Mother’s Day) and thought the gender issue might apply here toward men. Two men—perhaps more than others—have influenced my efforts toward the preservation and positive development of La Antigua Guatemala since 1969. Mario Antonio Sandoval is one of Guatemala’s best-known journalists. He became a great friend in 1978 when we […]

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Studying Spanish In Xela

My teacher yanked my homework away from me and began furiously marking it up. “This is ugly. You write bad.” Normally, this sort of treatment would lead to a verklempt Skype call to mom. In this case, my “teacher” was 8 years old, and I was welcoming the abuse. During Semana Santa, I became one of the thousands of international […]

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Orthopedic Care in Guatemala

With no conscious effort at all, our bones and joints and muscles engage as one miraculous mechanical unit. They propel us forward, as intended, with perfectly syncopated balance and strength. That is, until the pain starts. Sometimes it’s a dull ache in the hips or a “slippery,” unstable feeling in the knees that gives you concern. Ibuprophen and other anti-inflammatories […]

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Who are some of Guatemala’s most inspiring women?

With the recent passing of Guatemala literary giant Luz Méndez de la Vega (1919-2012), and with Mother’s Day celebrated on Thursday, May 10th, it brought to mind a reflection of the most extraordinary women who have inspired me since I moved here in 1969. These are women who are famous but also have the incredible quality of commanding attention as […]

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Stingless Bees of the Maya

Written by. Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth My first encounter with stingless bees came at age 19, when I spent 12 months at Tikal, doing archaeological field work. You see and experience stingless bees in most of the well-preserved Maya palaces, especially the back rooms of Maler’s Palace. About 47 years later, I revisited stingless bees at Tikal while studying the […]

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What About 2012?

Dr. David Stuart, archeologist and Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing at the University of Texas-Austin, speaks out on the subject. Long before Galileo tracked heavenly bodies in the 17th Century, the Maya watched the skies and developed a construction for time. What did they really say about 2012? “Absolutely nothing,” says Dr. David Stuart, archeologist and Schele Professor […]

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The 10th Festival Atitlán

The 10th Festival Atitlán

Once again, it’s springtime—and time for the 10th annual Festival Atitlán! Set for Saturday, March 17, just outside Santiago Atitlán, the festival has become the largest alternative outdoor music and arts event in Guatemala. Featuring a diverse list of performers, the 12-hour festival includes plenty of activities for kids, too. Admission is Q125 (kids under 10, free), and all proceeds […]

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Picnic at Finca El Zapote

Written by. Maya Fledderjohn On Sunday, March 4, the Museo Ixchel will hold its annual picnic. The Leonowens family has again graciously made their farm El Zapote available for the event. Finca El Zapote lies in the shadow of Fuego at about 3,000 feet. The weather at this time of year is near perfect—dry and comfortably warm. It was at […]

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The Continuing Search for Original Mayan Cotton

Written by. Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth When you look at the portraits of kings, high priests and other nobles on Mayan stelae, murals or painted ceramics you can see how much attention the Maya dedicated to their clothing. Each ritual, every ceremony, had special clothing. Even peasants wore at least a loincloth. Most of the women of the elite class […]

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Healing Through Love: A Mayan Story

Sri & Kira

Arriving at the dock of TOSA LL, on the shores of Lake Atitlán, our guests, a doctor and his wife, explained that they have dedicated their lives to healing and are allopathic physicians. They first arrived in Guatemala about 10 years ago and donate time at the local hospital to assist the indigenous. The couple have offered medical services worldwide […]

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A Short History of Medicine

2000 B.C. – “Here, eat this root.” 1000 B.C. – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.” 1850 A.D. – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.” 1940 A.D. – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.” 1985 A.D. – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.” 2000 A.D. – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.”

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YogAntigua: 108 Sun Salutations — for Education

As many people have discovered, yoga is good for the mind, body and soul. It turns out that this year it will also be good for education! On March 10 at 4:30 p.m. YogAntigua will host its third “108 Sun Salutations” event at El Cerro de La Cruz. Similar to a walkathon, participants commit to practicing up to 108 sun […]

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Maya Roads

Maya Roads One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest by Mary Jo McConahay

Maya Roads One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest by Mary Jo McConahay Cover photo Nancy McGirr Map & chapter illustrations, René Ozaeta Chicago Review Press ISBN 978 1 56976 548 7 Standing in front of the Lacandón Maya exhibit at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, author Mary Jo McConahay surprised herself by saying out […]

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Antigua Boulder Challenge

Getting ready for the Antigua Boulder Challenge (photo by Rudy A. Girón)

The Antigua Boulder Challenge is a climbing competition organized by the Asociación de Alpinismo de Sacatepéquez, La Rocalla and The North Face Guatemala with competitors from all over Central America. There will be 14 competitors from Guatemala, ten men and four women, eight from El Salvador, five from Costa Rica and two from Honduras according to Felipe Álvarez, one of […]

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Granito de arena

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator

“Ever since I filmed these generals in 1982, I’ve wanted to see them pay for their crimes,” says filmmaker Pamela Yates. Determined to “find out what was really going on,” Yates originally came to Guatemala in the 1980s to make a documentary about a hidden war. Thirty years later, material from her film, which captures some of the only footage […]

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Interview: Franklin Contreras

Portrait of Franklin Contreras by Mathieu Hutin

From building houses out of cardboard boxes in his parents’ electrical store when he was a child, to designing candy stores at the university, Franklin Contreras was always destined to be an architect. The talented Guatemalan now owns his own firm, which employs over 200 people, and their designs stand out as pieces of art, especially along the streets of […]

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Why has there been so much speculation about the Mayan 2012 calendar?

Mayan 2012 calendar

Calendars reflect how cultures and societies view the organization of time and space over the centuries. Many calendars have emerged and many have disappeared or been modified: the Julian calendar, the Republican calendar, the Gregorian calendar and the Mayan calendar to name a few. Each one involved astronomical calculations and incorporate harvests and religious or spiritual fiestas. I remember in […]

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The 2012 Mayan Meetings Beyond the Glyphs: Mayan Inscriptions as Literature

The 2012 Mayan Meetings

After decades of hard work at deciphering Mayan hieroglyphs from c. 300-900 AD, we are left with thousands of texts written in Classic Mayan. How do we go about studying these sources as true texts? What were the different genres of writing, and how did they vary over time and space? How did scribes design their texts rhetorically and visually […]

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Sights and Sounds of Christmastime in Guatemala

Christmas colors in Guatemala don’t stop with red and green, and dreams of a white Christmas must also include the entire rainbow. Yes, the brilliant red poinsettias and fragrant green pine needles, the ripe red berries and deep green leaves of the coffee trees, give all Central America the traditional Christmas colors of much of the world, but holidays in […]

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