Monday, September 26, 2011

Pictures galore

Cooking caldo de marisco for Papa Chico and Mama Lupe's 55 wedding anniversay.

Carnaval El Novillero style: kids and youth running around with confetti, eggs and flour...

Hard at work teaching financial education to a woman's group.

Last procession before Semana Santa (Holy Week).

They set up a station in front of Papa Chico's house.

Making Easter bread!

So much bread but went faster using Papa Eugenio's brick oven.

Business plan workshop we put on for volunteers and their counterparts, in Corazón del Bosque.

Fellow volunteer Jesse's birthday party complete with a rooftop Mayan ceremony.

Relaxing trip to the lake :)

View from the lodge where we got to stay the night free, thanks Erin!!

Swings at the nearby "adventure" park.

Just a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Birthday party out in the campo.

Tiffany's visit!  I'm so jealous how her height fits right in.

So great to be together again!

Tiff and one of my coworkers trying on new faces.

More pics to come of adventures in the jungle, making stoves, more workshops, random events and life!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back in Guate(chula)

Hello!!!  So I have been out of touch this year.  Pero exagerado (lit exagerrated...too much!)  I think of things daily to put on this blog.  For instance politics.  This year is election year, unfortunately, since it literally turns the country upside down.  Political parties go crazy painting houses, bridges, phone poles, trees and even rocks with their party colors and logos.  There are rallies, meetings, and pickups that drive by with reworked famous songs promoting their fearless leaders.  There are shameless handouts of food, goods and even money.  And in rural cultures where you feel indebted to someone who gives you something, that doesn't quite equal a democratic process.  Not to even go in to the people who try to be candidates (the current president's wife divorced him in order to run, but it seems they've finally prohibited that), a former military general from the time of the internal conflict, the former Guatemala City governor's wife and Nobel Peace prize winner Rigoberta Mencú (again) just to name a few.  The general elections are Sept 11, with the presidental candidates being to reduced to just a few for the second round in November.  I can't wait till it's over!!!  And I cross my fingers that good democracy triumphs during the whole mess...  Everyone keeps asking me who I think is the least bad, not who's the best.

Aside from that, I've been running around ever since I got back both at the park and with Peace Corps.  Now that I´ll fully moved on to my duties as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader, I´ve been giving workshops, helping with trainings, working on project documents and visiting volunteers in their communities.  It's been great overall, stepping more in to the administrative world of Peace Corps as well as taking on additional responsabilities with our specific project development (sustainable community tourism) and supporting volunteers professionally and personally so that they have a better experience and greater impact.  Upcoming events are currently centered around 3 workshops: the construction of chimney stoves to curb air contamination and reduce the use of firewood; climate change and the importance of emergency planning; and business planning for a community tourism destination.  Never a dull moment!

I'll be posting pictures soon to tell the stories of my recent adventures :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Finally...por fin!

For all of you who have been scolding's a quick visual update :)  I've actually had these pictures set aside forever to upload, just haven't gotten around to it I guess.  Was busy with school work, Easter in April, gall bladder surgery in May (surprise!) and the end of my thesis (and masters...phew).  I'm home in North Dakota for a nice visit and was actually going to post some pictures of my time here when I remembered my prior lapse.  So here's a usual random assortment!

Yum, avacados at the market.

Saw this picture and thought of a really easy where's waldo picture :)

 This is actually from Thanksgiving, all my boys have since left!

But not without leaving some unforgettable memories...

 Holiday meal Molly and I prepared in El Novillero...somewhat ND/MN style, and everyone loved it.

Day at the lake with extended fam

Fatima and the cakes I made for her 4th birthday.  Tradition calls for taking a bite out of the cake :)

 Close of service conference- We had a Guatemalan garb day, and this is our serious pose, can't you tell?

Oh the boys

Sarah dressed up like the young women in her town which is more ladino and not entirely indigenous, like mine....what a contrast!

My training group from January 2009!

Pine needle handicraft womens group- new members being trained.

Hike around Laguna Chicabal...a fantastic and mysterious place.

The view from the top.

 One of my favorite costumes from the last parade, made from all recycled materials!

Doña María and her lovely grandson, Angel.

Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Ceremony at the ambassador's house.  Molly and I with Flavio, our program director.

Jamie and I with Martha, the country director, and Wendy, the director of programming and training.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Oh no.  It’s March and I haven’t posted anything on here in 2011!  Man do I have some catch-up to do…  This year has been chugging along at an astonishing speed but overall it’s been really great.  Life is good :)  I’m still in Guatemala for those who may be remembering that I came now over two years ago.  If I was following old plans, this would be my last month of work….crazy!  However, I was offered a position as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader.  That means another year here, working half time with Peace Corps in the community tourism project, designing and implementing training tools as well as visiting individual volunteers to assist with projects and more specialized training.  The other half of my time I will still be in Corazón del Bosque, although focusing on building capacity in a couple of the networks we are a part of along with continued administrative support at the park.  That means I’m putting off the real world for yet another year.  But it also means y’all have another year to come down and visit!  But wait till after May… I also want to share that I am in the final stages of finishing up my masters, with my thesis set to be presented in just a few months.  Chux...Just a wee bit stressful.  Haha.  But so far so good.

It’s always easier for me to share my life here through photos, so coming soon will be another picture update.  Get ready for some good ones: pig heads, the cemetery, me in a diaper, attack of the rabbit, the ash Wednesday of eggs and flour, American bbq, dancing at the family parties and more.  You better hold on to your seats.