Friday, September 30, 2005

Volunteers Work with Women's Group

I have a ton of things to blog about ... which means that I have NO TIME TO BLOG!! It is one of those Catch 22's ... the more things that are happening, the less time I have to write about it!

Two volunteers, Rose Lord and Martha Luz Atkinson, from Global Coalition for Peace, (Washington, D.C.) arrived on Monday, Sept. 26th to continue the work with the women's group that they began in January of this year.

Their work began by teaching the women how to build Square Foot Gardens,

and the program has since expanded to include many aspects of "group development" to help the women organize. Rose and Martha Luz have committed to coming to El Remate for 2 weeks, 3 or 4 times per year (this is their third trip ... see for Rose's diary and lots of photos).

Rose and Martha Luz were really impressed on this trip to see how hard the women are working to earn some money to begin developing their land (Project Ix-canaan has over one full manzana of land that is solely for development by and for the women's group). Twice a week, the women are meeting at Doña Blanca's house to make tamales.

It takes them until about 3pm to finish cooking them ...

Here we see Doña Juana (President of the Women´s Group) and Doña Beti (Officer) covering the tamales in preparation for about 3 hours of steaming over the fire in the wood stove. Cyra (Vice President) is in the background, preparing maza for the tortillas they will eat for lunch ...

which she is shown cooking in this next photo ...

Doña Beti, Doña Juana, Doña Blanca, Janeth, Cyra and Alba, waiting for the 300 tamales to cook so they can pair up and go door to door selling them for Q2.00 each (about $0.25), thus earning about Q125.00 ($16.00) for the group each sales day.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Seeking Larynx

On top of the main temple of Topoxte, we met 3 workers doing restoration work. One of them, Rudy Arias (shown here with Enrique), had had his larynx removed about 8 years ago for cancer. He is now unable to talk. Is anyone out there able to give information or advice about how this man may be able to get an artificial larynx? Posted by Picasa


Saturday, September 24, 2005


A couple of days ago we went to Topoxte ... the Post Classic Mayan site just across the lake from Yaxha. I will be posting some photos and info over the next few days ... but this photo of the tiny sun-dappled steps ascending the front of the main pyramid, was one of my favorites.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fishing in Lake Peten Itza Posted by Picasa


Friday, September 16, 2005

Sunrise over Remate

Sunrise in El Remate Posted by Picasa



Our new godson, Isaac brought his dad over last night so we could all watch the first episode of Survivor Guatemala, which we had seen advertised to be shown here in the country. We picked up a couple of big delicious, totally loaded pizzas at Las Orchidias (Don Angelos place) and settled in for an entertaining evening. Unfortunately, Survivor didn't come on here, and we ended up putting on a movie instead. Posted by Picasa


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ana and the Giant Lemon

Ana is showing her mom the giant lemons that grow right outside my kitchen door. They are so heavy that many of the branches are almost sweeping the ground, laden with "Limon Real", one of the many varieties growing profusely in the area. Between the first ripe lemon, and the last, there are few months of the year when I don't have fresh lemon juice. Posted by Picasa


Monday, September 12, 2005


Tzolkin is almost 10 weeks into his new incarnation. I'm sure he has tripled in size. I see that his picture on my first blog entry has disappeared, so I'll post him again. Posted by Picasa


Friday, September 09, 2005

Dancing Classes

An Argentinian dancer, Munira Sena, is volunteering to teach some classes in belly dancing to the women's group. Here they are shown in tonight's class ... they had a great time, and are all looking forward to continuing tomorrow.

P.S. Project Ix-canaan accepts volunteers who want give of their time and talents to treat, to heal, to teach, to read, to organize ... Contact us at Posted by Picasa


No Electricity in the Jungle

Yesterday we were without electricity from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., so I was able to take a "guilt-free" holiday from the computer. We spent much of the day outside with the dogs, cats, birds and orchids. Posted by Picasa


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The New Truck

Here are Enrique and I in front of our new truck on the day we went to Guatemala City to pick it up. When our last truck finally bit the dust, the manager of Toyota Guatemala offered us a brand new one (2006, deisel, double cab, forest green) at cost. Our Calgary support group (who you will be reading lots more about here as time goes by) immediately swung into high gear and raised the funds to cover the first 1/3 of the cost. Shortly after, we had a visit from the new President of Toyota, Fernando Saravia, who pledged another 1/3, at which point Eduardo Cofiño volunteered to pay not only the last 1/3, but also the licencing fees, insurance and alarm installation.

Here is Eduardo Cofiño ... our long time friend and Project Ix-canaan supporter, owner of Gringo Perdido, partner of Toyota Guatemala, and Ambassador of Petén.

And here are the partners of Toyota Guatemala on the day the truck was presented to Project Ix-canaan. Fernando Saravia is the man on the far right.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Actun Kan Caves

Today during our trip to Santa Elena we went by the Actun Kan Caves back in the mountains behind the town to obtain permission to hold the Earth Ceremony part of Activation Maya there on December 16th, and to take some photos for the website (


Ecological Insect Control

To minimize the numbers of mosquitos, many local people hang a plastic bag containing some water from the ceiling inside or from a bush or limb outside.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Visiting Yaxha

Now that the Survivor cast and crew have moved out of Yaxha, Enrique and I decided to go with our friends (Todd, Monique and our god-daughter Ana, who are here from Florida) to revisit the site for the first time in about 4 years, to see the many changes since the park has been under development.

We felt suitably welcomed by the greetings of a family of saraguates (howler monkeys) whose loud roar always brings prehistoric dinosaurs to mind (I tried to post the video clip, but I guess this blog won't take it ... or at least I haven't figured out how).

We were all impressed by the new infrastructure in the park, which will enable lots of people to be able to see as much of the ruins as possible without danger to themselves or the ancient site. This work is being financed and carried out jointly by the Industrial Development Bank and the government of Guatemala (under the direction of our friend, Eduardo Cofiño). Several other major Mayan sites in Peten are also being developed for eco-tourism.

There are several plazas throughout the grounds of the ancient city that have been restored already, and, now that the Survivor crews are gone, the work is continuing to unearth 5 more.

The most impressive of all the pyramids is this one in the center plaza of the city.

It has a breathtaking view of Lake Yaxha and the jungle canopy below. The height from the jungle floor is also pretty breathtaking!! I stay well back from the edge!

After our tour of the site, we went down by the lake where there are barbecue pits and picnic sites, as well as a small museum and some small boats which can be hired to take people over to the "sister" site of Topochte, just on the other side of the lake. It was already late in the day so we didn't go ... but we decided to come out another day to visit Topochte as well as to check out one of the areas three Canopy Tours which is located on the road back.

On our drive back to El Remate, we stopped at a small tienda in Las Vinas that is practically famous around the area for their sales of coconut water ... a better source of electrolytes than Gator-Ade! The young man who helped us was an expert with a machete and quickly chopped off the outside of the shells, leaving just the coconut meat with a hole for a straw.