¡La vida asi es!

Good People, It has taken me awhile to do this. No not join the Peace Corps! That was just a matter of time, a destiny. No it has taken me awhile to create this website because of my ambivalence towards computers and lack of internet accessibility. So because of this the blog will be updated only periodically. But!!!!!! I will try to include cool photos so I´ll keep you interested. Leave a comment to contact me. ---> I served from 2007-2009

My Photo
Location: San Marcos, Guatemala

I am under the Appropriate Technology sector of Peace Corps and work as a Hydrologist. Our goal is to improve family/community health by building gravity-flow water systems. I am located along the Chapas border (Mexico) and have a large coverage area in the municipalities of Sibinal, Tajumulco, and Tacana. Grey-water deposits, latrines, water roof can-catchments, rope-pumps, and 8,000L water holding tanks are some examples of our projects. DISCLAIMER: This WEBsite is is not Peace Corps- Guatemala affiliated.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sibinal, San Marcos - El sitio mio

When I first arrived at my site I immediately jumped on food security projects that were already in progress. Oyster mushroom houses and outdoor fish holding ponds are some examples. The central goal of these programs is for them to become sustainable. Ideally families sell a certain % of fish or shrooms to maintain the projects. The rest of the stock would be used for consumption. Photos courtesy of MCC.

Here is a Northern view of my primary site Sibinal! This is also where I live. It is located in a beautiful valley. The central muni is not very large as you can see but there are over 20,000 people living here total. The majority are in the surroundings Aldeas (small poor suburbs essentially) which, is where I predominateley work. In this photo you can see occasionally active Volcan Tacana. NOTE in this photo the clearer 1000m (from the muni) ridge that appears to be half-way up the Volcano.

Okay now take a look here, this is a Southern view of Sibinal from THAT same ridge in the previous photo now looking in the opposite direction. You are now looking outwards past my muni (down below out of sight) at another Volcan, Tajumulco (Central America´s largest Volcano at 13,845ft. Just about 400ft. shy of Mt. Rainer). Yes I live between to Volcanos. I have yet to climb either but will do so when the rainy season is over.

Yeah you would look like crap too if you just climbed THAT 1000 meter ridge! Now we have to get down! Here I am gracefully posing with my counterpart buds Nate, Osmar, and Juan Puablo. We were coming back from an overnight trip from one of the far off Aldeas. Note the sweat.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Montericco - A quick trip to the Pacific

We had to take a lancha (boat) to cross the mangrove wetlands to get to the beach.
You cannot see it very well in this picture but my shirt matches my bathing suit. I{m a rockstar!A quick trip to Montericco beach complete with pig.... The black sand comes from volcanic rock. The undercurrent was so strong it nearly drowns you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lake Atitlan - 3 days of relaxation

water bottle!

This incrediable lake, Atitlan is about 300m deep and is considered the most beautiful bodies of water in the world by many travel writers. It resides in a 80,000 year old crater, which is surrounded by mountains. TONS of tourists all over the world flock here. The water was warm enough to swim outward

Friday, August 3, 2007

Xenacoj Feria

Welcome to the non-stop Xenacoj ferias

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Graduation and our Stove family project

My training group! We are all a mix of three Peace Corps programs. Appropriate Technology, Small Business, and Youth Development.

What can I say? There were tears, hugs and sad goodbyes. Then the entire training group was off to get wasted before they left for their new sites for two years. Well... not for us Xenacoj boys . Being the kind-hearted almas that we were, it was our determination to return to Xenacoj and finish what we started: Our wood efficient burning stove that prevents an open fire and smoke accumulating in the cocina.Here is the problem: Our adoring host sisters tortilla with an open flame. It is because of this one of them has burn marks on her right arm from the fire. Not to mention, respiratory disease can become a problem from chronic exposure to kitchen smoke. This is the number one cause of dreath among Guatemalans!
Ah yes, I was more then excited to help out...
Vuahla! I meant to put a family portrait here in front of the finished stove but >I cannot find it. I wanted to show you how happy everyone was to see it finished (minus the chimney - the most important part). You get the idea though. Imagine a metal chimney extending to the roof. It took us about 2.0 days of straight building. That night we meet up with our fellow training group and PARTIED in Antigua (pic not shown)!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

San Antonio Aldea - Our training project

During our Appropriate Technology training we were assigned to build a final project. For us we were sent to San Antonio, a small Aldea of Xenacoj (my training pueblo in the mountains near the capital). We discussed the needs of the community and decided to build a water can-catchment roof to provide water for the existing latrine at the small local primary school. We had to develop a budget, buy materials, get the community involved, and build it ALL IN SPANISH! After months of planning, preparation and building (and screwing up) we finished! In the final photo is me with John, Tony, and our trainer Lynn and John´s host Dad Luis.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nebaj Field-Based Training

Up in the mountains of the department of El Quiché was our field based training. We were in Nebaj for a couple of nights and then our bags were packed and we set forth toward the Aldeas. We spent nearly 2 weeks in the field with luxurious accomodations (sarcastism!). Here you can see my fellow Peace Corps Buds during the cold mornings.

In our field area we were over 300om up in the mountains. Incrediable views!

I look very engaged don´t I? Here I am with Miguel. We are taking land surveys to calculate the hydraulic gradient from a spring to the center of town. Simply put: To calculate if there is a sufficient pressure head to bring freshwater to the center of the pueblo (or muni). Mixing Cement to build a latrine for a school.....good for the theighs

The homes up in the department of El Quiché were rustic and poor. The services we could offer were in great demand. One of our final products. An Egg shape water holding tank. It holds over 8000L and it is over 2 meters deep.

Grizzled with my Spanish teacher...