Güisquil in Guatemala

text, photos and recipe by Victoria Stone Güisquil (pronounced “weeskeel”) is one of the most common vegetables throughout Mexico, Central America and parts of South America. It has been famously described as a vegetable that looks like an avocado and tastes like a potato. The plant originated in Mexico, where it was known to the Aztecs as chayolt. It is […]

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Golf Tournament; Antigua Grudge Match

First place team: (l-r) Hugo Cerezo, John Chudy, Diego Cerezo, Nathan Liskey

Last month included the first annual Antigua Invitational Golf Tournament. Played at the spectacular Mayan Golf Club overlooking Lake Amatitlán, the format was “scramble” with four-person teams. The competition was fierce but the lunch gathering afterwards was amiable with prizes for longest drives, closest to the pin, and of course for the lowest scoring team who posted a 65. If […]

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Cobán’s Rabin Ajau Pageant, Guatemala

text and photos by Gary Kaney Women from more than 90 communities competed last month in the single-most impressive festival of indigenous tradition in Guatemala: the Folkloric Festival of the Rabin Ajau in Cobán and the election of the Princess Tesulutlán. Contestants wore their colorful native finest, including the colorful hüipil, head dress and jewelry unique to their village—but it […]

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Blue and White

Free into the wind —Rudy Girón

Free into the wind, your beautiful flag marks a happy month of national celebration just as Guatemala’s national anthem proclaims. Blue and White are the colors of the flag, with fresh flags and blue-and-white bunting on display all over “Guatemala Feliz,” happy Guatemala, as we near mid-month and Independence Day.  The new flags are indeed a beautifully clear blue and clean white, as are the […]

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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 […]

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Robert Hinshaw

Given his age, 75, you’d think anthropologist Robert Hinshaw would want to settle back with one of those Scandanavian vodkas he occasionally enjoys and retire to his Colorado mountain retreat. Instead, he wants to make a difference in this world, as “payback” for all he’s received. He explains: “Gilbert White, the late geographer and a great mentor, laid this challenge […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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FOTOKIDS, Guatemala

Meeting the Dalai Lama

Fotokids breaks the cycle of poverty afflicting Guatemalan youth using photography, graphic design and media technology as a voice for disenfranchised youth to examine their lives, families, communities and environment. Participants from some of the poorest barrios learn employable skills opening new opportunities, promoting self-esteem; leadership; critical thinking; and desire for continued education. Students receive traditional educational scholarships and our […]

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Museo de Santiago

Entry hall of the Museo de Santiago, a large bust of Pedro de Alvarado looks down on two 18th century howitzers; behind are six-gauge wall guns.

text and photos by Ira Lewis The Museo de Santiago de los Caballeros in La Antigua Guatemala is a must see. It’s among several museums and many churches and ruins in La Antigua, but most people miss it, even though it is located right on the fringe of Central Park. Although under-funded and in need of some upkeep, the museum […]

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A Journey through Sweet Waters

Río Dulce, Guatemala (photo: Scott Drennan)

Written by Gregory Kipling photo: Scott Drennan Exploring Río Dulce Past and Present Measuring a mere 42 kilometers from source to mouth, Río Dulce is hardly one of Central America’s great waterways. However, despite its small size the river has attracted a great deal of attention over the past 500 years. Conquistadors, scientists, pirates and adventurers have all passed through […]

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Wells of Hope

Wells of Hope has drilled several water wells in the mountains near Jalapa

Wells of Hope is a non-denominational group founded on Christian principles by Ted Vander Zalm and his wife Miriam in 2004. It is a team of numerous individuals with roots in the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada. Wells of Hope is a program or offshoot of The Warehouse of Hope. After working from tents for a couple of years, Wells of […]

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Orchids: The colors of my land

by Bernd Martin Colors enhance our emotions and often warm our hearts with their beauty. Coming in an array of wonderful colors, orchids embrace the whole spectrum of the rainbow. An orchid is a special gift to ourselves and to others. Guatemala, the land of eternal spring, has approximately 1,000 species of orchids. Nearly everybody in Guatemala cultivates orchids in […]

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The Eyes of Violeta

Violeta Marroquín at exhibition

Inauguration Wednesday, 4th-7:30pm; featuring paintings on silk by Violeta Marroquín at the Antigua Center, 7a calle poniente #11, La Antigua Guatemala Violeta Marroquín, born in 1976 in Guatemala City, started painting at an early age. As a child she was educated in the arts, but at the university level she chose to study communications. In November 2002, Violeta moved to […]

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Festival Atitlán

Ranferí Aguilar and Hacedor de Lluvia (Rain Maker)

March is coming, time for Festival Atitlán. On March 14, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Santiago Atitlán will once again host this annual alternative cultural event featuring live music and arts. Since 2001, there have been six festivals, each one more interesting than the last. Proceeds from the past four festivals have been donated to help rebuild Hospitalito Atitlán, which was destroyed by mudslides from Hurricane Stan in 2005.

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Preserving Traditions

Accessories from the Stained Glass Collection, created by association members

Written by Amanda Flayer Cojolya Association celebrates 25 years supporting women weavers in Santiago Atitlán Santiago Atitlán, a bustling indigenous village in the Guatemalan Highlands, has been celebrated by locals and tourists alike for its preservation of backstrap-loom weaving and the traditions surrounding it. An ancient art, backstrap loom weaving is recorded in the artifacts of the Maya. The Goddess […]

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Messengers in the Wind

Kids flying kites  (photo: Iván Castro/ivancastroguatemala.com)

Written by Ignacio Ochoa The history of kite making in Santiago Sacatepéquez On November 1 and 2, a powerful force stirs in all the towns of Guatemala. Traditional markets are filled with flowers of sempa (orange marigolds), chrysanthemums, wild daisies and the smell of copal—a pre-Columbian incense made from pine resin. People clean family graves and adorn them with cut-out […]

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Humble Beginnings

Large San Jerónimo plaza; kitchen chimney peeks over back wall (photo by Jack Houston)

The Story of the Ruins of San Jerónimo The spacious, bright and well-kept flowered lawn of the San Jerónimo ruins at the north end of Alameda Santa Lucía welcomes visitors to the site of a school that functioned barely four years and closed with five students. In Colonial Architecture of Antigua, Sidney Markman wrote, “Very little remains of the school […]

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Another Fabulous Fruit: Green Mango

Green Mango

Scholars believe Buddhist monks took mangoes on voyages from Asia to Persia in the Fourth and Fifth centuries B.C., and that the Persians subsequently took them to Africa in the 10th century. From there the Portuguese introduced them to Brazil during its 16th century colonization of the New World. And from Brazil the mango spread to Central America. Although there […]

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Humane Society International Grant to Support Wildlife Habitat Protection Work in Central America

WASHINGTON (Sept. 17, 2008) – Humane Society International (HSI) signed a grant with the U.S. Department of State last week for $396,000 to continue work on wildlife habitat protection in Central America. The grant will support the production of sustainable cacao, which is grown on small farms that also provide valuable wildlife habitat for animals such as woodpeckers, sloths, and […]

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La Profecía Maya 2012

Ballet Folklórico dancers perform a dance of symbolic rebirth (photo: Georgeann Johnson)

Written by Elizabeth Hart – photos: Georgeann Johnson It may be difficult to find friends and family outside of Guatemala who know much about the Mayan calendar. But here, the calendar—and especially the significance of its end date in 2012—are regular topics of conversation, as Guatemala’s ancient history was likely a part of the original intrigue for many of us. […]

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Birthday Parties

Birthday cake face (photo: Dwight Wayne Coop)

My sons are still in their cavity-prone years, so I attended 19 birthday parties last year—three for my boys and 16 for their playmates. Each had its odd turn or twist. To avoid the charge of ethnocentrism, I’ll admit here that Central Americans do no worse a job of honoring their birthday boys and girls than do parents in the […]

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Avoiding vs Evading

Written by Steven Pittser A few tips on U.S. taxpaying and IRA accounts “I haven’t filed taxes for six years— ever since I’ve been down here.” That was the comment from my co-expat from the States, who had just bought me a drink at my favorite bar in La Antigua Guatemala. “I have had income every one of those years, […]

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