Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 - Election Day in Guatemala

<-- Outside my house with the blue door

< Leading candidate Otto - previous general accused of war crimes - will he be re-elected?

<-- area of street sectioned off outside school for voting. This is a small area of people so not much crowds. Although I am am told in other areas it takes all day to vote because of the crowds and time it takes.

Election Day in Guatemala. Started the night prior with extended prayers to God for protection and a positive outcome for the families and people of Guatemala. There was a tangible sense of apprehension and sadness about what would be the results for the following Sunday evening. Most educated people being apprehensive about the re-election of Otto Perez Molina. I was told that 4 years ago, for the last election in San Marcos that prior to the ballots being counted they were burnt by the military (?I think). This then led to a re-vote 2 months later.
So people were lining up this morning in San Marcos or their area. It is very very quiet in the streets, I heard that people are not allowed to market election stuff up to 3 days before the election. And then tonight, when the results are revealed, that is when the fiesta is.. . The other interesting thing is that citizens who can are obliged to give large amounts of money to their local candidates to help with marketing costs. If the local candidate does not win then they return the money, if they do win then they give the promise of work for January 2012 when they have the power to make such decisions. For example giving construction jobs to certain people who have contributed during the elections. Let us see what happens this evening...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Life in San Marcos

So aside from me spending days on my laptop finishing the report for the NAPA project, and also working on my university assignments.. what has life been life in San Marcos?

Firstly I made a local friend Fernando who is the director of a Mayan Indigenous Healing and Wisdom centre in the centre of town. He is interested in healing techniques, including astrology, naturopathy (using local knowledge of plants for treating sickness), massage and is passionate about a revolution for peace on a world scale, especially after the experience of being born into a country in civil war and being separated from family. He will make a presentation at the conference in October which will be a great opportunity for networking with like-minded people. This is the one I will be attending as well as part of the NAPA-OT conference.

I also had a visit from Yann - a friend from Antigua that we met on the volcano climb. So I got a chance to use the kitchen (making hot chocolate from the cocoa beans off the tree - yum!) and make some yummy soups and pasta with the local fresh veges. So lots of cooking... We also did a bit of bush walking and took a boat ride to the main city on the lake.. Panajachel. Here we had a beautiful breakfast, stopped in for ice-cream, and did some more food shopping (I even found Japanese miso for soups!) and I got my hair cut and also done in a traditional style by a local woman looking to sell the head pieces to tourists..

I also checked out a program called Las Piramides - which has yoga every morning at 7 am and meditation program. Maybe go there a few mornings a week to keep the balance.

I went to find "la cambalacha" yesterday which is a centre promoting the arts and dance for local children. I thought I could spend some time volunteering there in terms of dance with the children. SO I will be assisting with a class next Tuesday afternoon. At the same time I met a lovely English lady who's little boy was attending La Cambalacha for the first time. After chatting for a while she said that the local private school was looking for a English teacher 4 hours a week.

As well as a local public primary and secondary school, they have a 'Waldoff' school here! I think it may be one of the only in Guatemala? So I am going to apply for the English teaching job here. This will give me a chance to meet some more people.

Tried to throw a Salsa party last night -- not many people showed up!!! ha ha it is so quiet here :) Next time to try and find a fiesta I think I will head to the nearest town "XELA'

It is a Saturday morning so I am off to do my laundry now!