Thursday, August 26, 2010

El Novillero

Going along the theme of my last post I would like to share more pictures with all of you, this time of my town, El Novillero.  They're kind of random, but that's how it is :)  Some quick facts: it's estimated that there are between 1600 and 2000 people who live in El Novillero; the overwelming majority are maya k'iche'; the town is a powerful force in the area, with banking centers, several hardware and supply stores, 3 internet cafes, 3 bread stores, countless "daily consumption" stores, a publicity business, real estate, post office branch and more.  Yet at the same time it's super tranquilo and laid back.  Best of rural life mixed with benefits of a more urban area.  

The Canadians coming to my house for tea.  

The view from the second floor corridor. 

The view walking down the main street towards my house.

Coming from the other direction.

I love the mountains that surround us.

My favorite street dog hanging out in front of a store.  He looks big and ferocious but is a big softy inside.

Pharmacy/mayan natural medicine store.

The old church, patron saints St. Judas Tadeo and St. Simon.

The uncle's family has a couple hot dog (chevere) stands...for Q5 (roughly $.60) you can get this lovely hot dog with your choice of toppings (cabbage, ketchup, mustard, mayo and pica mas) with a small cup of orange soda.  I love how the bun is always gigantic with an itty bitty hot dog.  When my little cousin Johnny is running it he'll give me a double at no extra charge, tan chulo :)

Kids from the school going to an activity...not quite as safe as a school bus, but that's how it goes.

Some of the kids at the local preschool/daycare center during snack time.

Small mouth for such a big apple!

Adan's store, one of the most stocked in town.

The path to the old woman's house who makes the most amazing old fashioned shecas (a type of sweet bread) on Mondays and Thursdays.  When I speak my limited K'iche' with her she gets this big toothless smile and then gives me an extra sheca just to be nice :)

"Second Street"
On the other side of that mountain in the back is our municipality, Santa Lucía Utatlán.  And on the other side of the mountain from there is Lake Atitlán.

I love this time of year when we're completely surrounded by corn fields.  After the harvest in November/December it all looks quite sad, empty lots of dirt.  But at the same time less claustrophobic and scary (when one walks at night).

So there's a quick walk through town, hope you liked it enough to come see it first hand while I'm here!

Thanks again to Evelyn, Nikki and Brigitte for sharing pictures!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Going to the Market

There are many things that form part of my every day life here in Guatemala that I forget aren't so typical in other parts of the world, especially back in my home state of North Dakota.  One of those things is the market.  Actually, I live close to several markets (though most of them operate on special days of the week).  The two markets I frequent most are in Santa Lucía Utatlán, which is super close to my house, and Sololá, which is a bit further away but much bigger.  I almost never take pictures when I do my market shopping because....I guess it would feel awkward, like I was taking pictures inside a supermarket back home.  Luckily the Canadian volunteer group left me some of their pictures, which included trips to the market.  This way I share with you all a glimpse of how I find, barter and buy my veggies, fruits and random household goods. (Thanks Evelyn and Nikki for the pics!)

Here is the side ally of the market in Santa on a typical Sunday morning.

The usual table of dried fish and unidentified smelly things.

Cute couple from Sololá selling produce from their garden.

The day this picture was taken I got my potatoes for Q2 a pound (about $.25).

Baskets at the market can hold a variety of things, sometimes still living, like chickens!

Just cause you're selling at the market doesn't mean you're cut off from the world.

So on market days the open air part is much bigger than the physical market, which is housed in a building.  In Sololá there are many distribuidors in the market building that sell goods for daily consumption.

You can get your bananas and turn right around to get your meat.

To cook really good black beans a clay pot is a must have.  Don't scoff.  I'm serious.  Maybe I've turned in to a black bean snob, but I can totally tell if you made your beans in a pressure cook and didn't add onion, garlic and apasote.

Need a pair of shoes?  The fake tennis shoes are most likely from China and don't last very long.

Fajas...the belts that hold up the women's cortes.

Masks for any occasion...I'm pretty sure these represent the different mayan nahuales.

I'll never get tired of seeing the beautiful fabrics in this country.

And since the market can be overly stimulating at times, with so much to see and so much going on, just take a break and put your head down :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Caught up in the whirlwind

Sometimes I feel like I don't have time to catch my breath.  Especially these past few weeks.  They've been super good, don't get me wrong, but just packed with...stuff.  I've been involved with lots at the park, the normal and not so normal (we had a group of Canadians with us again this time for 5 weeks, I'll have to include them in the next post).  I also finished up an online class for my masters which kept me on my toes more than I you'll see below that I had through it all more than my fair share of social distractions, hehe.  A wedding, first communion and a couple birthday parties :)

Selvyn and Dina's Wedding
Panajachel, Sololá

Some of you will remember that Selvyn was my counterpart last year (the person I worked most closely with at the park).  He's moved on to a position in a different organization, however we still keep in pretty good contact.  I was happy to be with him on his wedding day with a lovely girl from Cobán, Dina.  It was a beautiful setting on the lake!  However, the wind did something unfortunate to the cake...

My good friend Erin was also invited and showed off her traje from San Marcos La Laguna (where she was living).  I have to brag that she did the embroidery for her corte (the skirt).  I also get a bit jealous of her chapina stature, as she fits in so nicely here with the women!
Selvyn and I
Dina, the bride in pink :)
Here's a look at the wedding site from up above (it took place where the white tents are).  You can also see on the mountainside behind the area where there was a landslide back a couple weeks.  It washed away part of the already precarious highway in between Sololá and Panajachel.  Luckily it happened early in the morning and no one was hurt.  It did prevent me from getting to an important meeting, but such is life here- you never quite know what to expect.

Cats warming themselves by the fire at Grandma's house.

Bird feeders made from old plastic bottles....I helped out with a training for all the preschool teachers in my department (over 200).  We gave ideas for lesson plans using recycled materials; my friend Molly talked about conservation of bird habitats and the different species endemic to the area while I gave instructions on the bird feeder and taught some games relative to the topic.

Staying with Patty the night before her brother Oliver's First Communion in San Antonio.
I love the women who still wear the full traditional traje (including the súte on their heads).  Couldn't pass up the chance to capture these six old ladies.
The mass

Chico and Papa Chico
The two birthday boys and the cakes I made them.  They were happy, don't let their serious faces fool you!
Us girls