Category Archives: Guatemalan Life

Waiting for Water: Excerpts

Since the end of the semester nears, I’ve decided it’s time to include some of the story. This is the intro and the conclusion. I wrote the beginning on a hammock in Guatemala and the end on the plane home, while looking at the clouds.

The beginning:

Cranking and whining, the machine delves deeper, looking for water.
Sitting on the highest hill in El Modelo, the contraption has drilled 60 feet so far.
But there’s no water yet.
And even when there is—it won’t be enough and it won’t be free.
With 300 families in El Modelo and the number constantly growing, the well may not be enough to sustain the whole town. The poor village in Guatemala builds on free land from the government. Now, the government-funded well project towers on the hill, reminding everyone that they need the help.

The end:

Majali Ramos Arias lives much farther from the well. Wearing a gray shirt with an American flag and the words “Freedom will stand,” Arias talked about spending eight days in August without water (except small pitchers from neighbors). On those sunny days, it didn’t rain, and she couldn’t afford the water from the truck.
She worries the well could make her life worse because she will have to pay a monthly rate of 25 quetzales whether she uses that much water.
But Arias wasn’t worried about having water that cloudy day in El Modelo.
She looks up at the sky and says, “Somehow, God gives us rain.”

Most of the photographers have put up images that they took in Guatemala: Jeremiah, Carlos and Jason.

Our exhibition will be December 9 at 7 p.m. in the Reitz Union gallery.


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More bars in more places: The cell phone virus spreads

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.

Tigo is advertised everywhere. Sponge Bob was a lot of places too.

Tigo is advertised everywhere. Sponge Bob was a lot of places too.

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…

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