Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Bulbs: The Day After...

Best to aspire to practice the Japanese philosophy that posits...

The Impermanence of Life and Things that manifest its force...may be rendered more beautiful by that very quality.

The Garden is always symbolic.

Spring Bulbs: The Day Before...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sacred Earth

Kristen or I took this photo in a small, compromised mining town in Guatemala near where AFOPADI works.
The sign roughly translate: "Our Mother Earth Is Sacred; Fight for Respect.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seeing Guatemala Through New Eyes

My recent Sustainable Sharing with Guatemala (SSG) annual site-visit to AFOPADI in Guatemala was made special by my traveling companion, Kristen Kepnick (above in blue with one of my best friends from the village). Kristen has been a fellow SSG board member for several years, but before the group materialized, she helped me at the Worldview Global Activism Expo and we were on the Board of MELA for a number of years before that. Kristen has performed the SSG Thankless Task of secretary for a while and will soon be our VP!
This was her first trip to Guatemala, but Kristen has traveled worldwide, so she was the perfect combination of open and not scared :) She's a wonderful photographer and has an amazing heart. Her Spanish is better than mine and she's younger, so I was delighted to see anew...
Below are a few of Kristen's photos from a lunch visit to the house of the new AFOPADI Agricultural promotor. He worked with AFOPADI in his village before and now walks the half hour to work with the other two agricultural promotors at the AFOPADI office in the village. This means he is often walking up to six hours a day to visit people's land when he is not working on the AFOPADI demonstration fields.

Kristen loves animals...these dogs are on the cleanest floor I have ever seen in the villages.

Here's her artistic view of coffee.

Kristen catches me admiring Chepe's home garden.

Checking out the coffee virus is the perfect activity for plant geeks.

Here Kristen captures our friend amidst the typical mountainous backdrop.

Finally, she immortalizes Chepe having a moment with his cow...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Re-entry is always such a challenge...

And that's not only because the TSA in Houston went through and opened LITERALLY everything in our suitcases (including slitting open bags of coffee) and the inevitable culture shock and GI bugs that seem to follow us home.
So we remember the great things about our SSG site visit to AFOPADI:

Amazing landscape...

impressive culture...

the most committed project staff...

the best al fresco dining with organic non-GMO homemade tortillas...

wonderful colleagues and lifelong friends.

PS: I added photos to previous 3 posts from Guatemala.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Back with water and electricity...

...the things we take for granted are amazing.

After almost two weeks in the village, we are back in Xela. Yesterday was the Mayan day of rain and incredibly, after months of dryness, it did! A torrential downpour for a few hours last night and then this evening on the road. Up here in the mountains, the clouds are impressive. The odd thing is that in the villages, I could never tell what direction they were coming from since they didn't appear to be moving: quite strange for a weather geek from a flat city by a lake.

Even though I have been visiting the same area for a decade, we visited a new place I had not even heard of that was only a 20-min walk from where we stay. It's a sacred Mayan site that is currently in use...the location commands a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. There are some big stones in a slightly wooded area (the entire region is deforested). The layout is like the naves of a church and you can sit in the stones. There are beliefs about what the area was used for, but I don't think it matters. The energy there was so strong and sacred and supportive, that I felt as if I could just stay and be content. This is all the more surprising because of the terror of war that was a constant for 35 years in this region. Additionally, the Maya were not allowed to practice their religion openly until after the peace accords which were less than 20 years ago. Maybe the land is reclaiming the spirit for the people...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Daily rhythms in rural Guatemala

apologies in advance for keyboard where it's easier to write without capitals..
i've been coming here now to the AFOPADI projects for 10 years, the last 3 in my dual capacity with SSG and Earthways, and it's an amazing gift of perspective. it hardly takes long to be reminded of daily passages. the roosters crow, people stir, the water comes on for a few hours (the population has grown so much that the water runs out about 8 am), the sun becomes incredibly strong, the wind blows up, birds chirp, a loudspeaker announces the village gathering, the energy calms, the stars emerge and i am overwhelmed with our small place in this world.