Archive for August, 2016

Peace Corps in Guatemala

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Yesterday, our local newspaper ran a front-page article about a retired couple who joined the Peace Corps, and are leaving at the end of September for Guatemala.

“Guatemala?” I said out loud. “A few years ago, Peace Corps announced they were leaving Guatemala. Are they back?”

Apparently so, because this couple has been assigned to the Western Highlands. I then searched for “Peace Corps in Guatemala” and it’s true. One hundred twenty-three Peace Corps volunteers currently serve in Guatemala.

My husband will retire eventually…”Tim? I have an idea.”


Ixancul, film by Jayro Bustamante

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

On Saturday, a group of us GuateMamas met at the Landmark Theater in Berkeley to watch Ixcanul, the prize-winning film by Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamonte, the first movie in the Kaqchikel language.

First, it was amazing to hear film dialogue spoken in Kaqchikel. Second, to see the landscape of Guatemala on the big screen–especially the magnificent volcano Pacaya, where much of the footage was shot, which we recognized and have climbed–was thrilling.

The plot centers around teenager Maria, who loves a boy who works with her at the local coffee plantation, but the boy has plans to leave for the US. Maria’s parents have plans too: to marry off Maria to the relatively prosperous plantation foreman. Spoiler alert: A baby is involved, and an adoption.

We GuateMamas had much to discuss after the film, and my prediction is we’ll continue the conversation next time we meet. If Ixancul is playing anywhere near you, Go. Go!

Watch the trailer here.




A visit with friends in Guatemala

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

When Olivia was a toddler, I moved to Antigua and rented a small house where we lived together while her adoption paperwork was being finalized. I studied Spanish a few afternoons a week, leaving Olivia in the loving and capable hands of nanny (and friend) Yoli Rodríguez. Yoli had children of her own, including her then-young son, known as Junior, who was a good “big brother” to Olivia, as well as to Maya, the daughter of another adoptive mom, Kallie K.

This summer in Guatemala, Yoli invited us to lunch at her home near Antigua, where we discovered photos of Olivia and me, and Kallie and Maya, displayed on Yoli’s living room wall, among Yoli’s other family pictures. Seeing the photos reminded me that our children remain in the hearts of their early caregivers, as their caregivers remain in ours.