The cell phone epidemic has taken over Guatemala. It’s an addiction.
Before we left for the trip, Jeremiah told me that on his trip to Peru, he discovered that cell phones were like crack. People would beg for money on the streets and then use it to buy phone cards.
I didn’t see anything quite that severe in Guatemala, but I did see a Tigo sign everywhere I turned. Tigo (one of the three major cell companies) paints the logo everywhere. I asked if people get paid for allowing the painting on the houses, but apparently people allow their houses to be emblazoned with advertising for free fairly often.
In the small village outside Gualan (which I am writing about in my article because they sometimes drink from puddles), Efrian, the community leader, told me that people will walk the 5 miles into the city just to charge their cell phones. There’s no electricity in the village.
I think the irony here was pointed out in the Daily Photo a while ago.
From what I saw, cell phones operate on calling cards rather than contracts. I think the wackiest part is that every few days, the company offers a double or triple day where (surprise!) you get double or triple the minutes for the same price. I had a Claro phone while I was in Zacapa, and I never managed to need minutes on a triple day.
Cell phones can be a good thing for easy communication, but just like in America, when you can’t afford something else because of the phone–it’s time to give it up. I also saw a grown man in Guatemala who couldn’t stop texting like my boyfriend’s 12-year-old sister…