Journal
arrival
Antigua
Lake Atitlan
school
chicken bus
Copan

Santiago Atitlan
Independence Day
language school
orphanage
election
Irazu

Tela
holidays
Tikal
a new year
Tegucigalpa
Monterrico
Lima
Semana Santa
Guanacaste
las Americas
Chichicastenango
Machu Picchu
year 2
Santiago Sacatepequez
lake weekend
UK in winter
Comalapa
Caye Caulker
alfombra
Quito
El Salvador
Solola
Uspantan
year 3
mudslides
Panama
potters
devils
Patagonia
Carnival Trinidad
Rio Dulce
endings
Quetzaltenango
Semuc Champey
Galapagos
journey's end

 

Photos
Roatan
Colegio Maya

Guatemala Journal
Wanderings

 

 a new year

14 enero
Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, was a welcome four day respite before school started again in mid January. Green and tropical, with a calm bay, the West End is dotted with colorful hotels (no high rises here), cute little shops, restaurants and bars, places offering diving and snorkeling trips. I spent my time there with a friend sea kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, walking, relaxing on the beach. Pet monkeys kept by the hotel entertained the visitors staying there. Grilled shrimp and fresh fruit smoothies made each meal a treat. The snorkeling outing was definitely the highlight of the trip.

Ken, the young man who took us out, was proud to run his own company called Yush, the sound a boat makes. We anchored within view of the shoreline at West Bay between two coral reefs. The clear, warm water revealed extensive fanciful coral structures, invisible from the surface. I followed a school of blue tangs fluttering in and out of majestic fins and intricate patterns of coral, fat turquoise fish with rainbow stripes hiding in the depths of rock, and narrow sunshine yellow and royal blue plates of fish peaking out with yellow snouts to see if I’ve gone. I reminded myself when we returned to look up those fish somewhere and see what they are called, but never did.

24 enero
Our new presidente, Oscar Berger, has been inaugurated and there have already been some interesting developments. Portillo, the outgoing president, was found to have $50 million stashed away in bank accounts in Panama. Guatemala has asked the UN to set up an office to help investigate human rights crimes in this country. There are mixed feelings among the people on this one, having given external investigators free reign to explore. I'm hoping it will at least minimize the political murders and beatings of journalists and politicians you still see here, the numbers increasing for the months leading up to the elections, suspected by the military. The most hopeful sign is that Berger has appointed Rigoberto Menchu (Nobel peace prize winner and a leader of the indigenous people during the war) to advise on the implementation of the 1996 peace accord agreements, ignored by Portillo.

31 enero
This semester
at school I’m teaching a new class - Graphic Design / Yearbook. Unlike the usual group of computer gamers who sign up for middle school computer classes, or the high school students who must take the basic computer applications class I teach, this is a creative, artistic and energetic group of young people and it has been a joy to see them in action. With a little instruction in Photoshop (graphic design software) and Freehand (layout software), diverse and imaginative double page layouts are beginning to emerge. I’ve assigned each of the students their own pages to design and given them the freedom to choose their own fonts, photos from gigabytes of digital photos taken this year for the school web site, and encouraged them to think "outside the box". Some are out taking informal photos and collecting quotes from students and teachers, some collaborating on inventive techniques for working with digital photography. I’m tempted to sit down and design some of these pages myself, but it’s their project!

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