We came to build houses in an area of Guatemala devastated by Hurricane Stan. Here they're rebuilding a road, on our way from the capital to our area near Lake Atitlan.
Our hotel in San Lucas Toliman; very pleasant and friendly hosts, with a soft spot for Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
Typical local taxi. A short ride might cost 3 Quetzales - about 38 cents.
Basketball/soccer in the Parque Central in San Lucas Toliman (every town has a central park).
Sitting in the Central Park. The two on either side of the tree are Habitat for Humanity staff.
We met the two families for whom we would build. It was initially awkward. Their native language is a Mayan dialect, not Spanish.
The chilcren soon warmed up.
Two girls from one of the families. These hand-embroidered blouses are called Huipiles. Different towns have characteristic patterns; this dates back to the Spanish, who wanted to identify people.
San Lucas Toliman is on the shores of Lake Atitlan, a caldera ringed by volcanoes - the most beautiful lake in the world!
A view of Lake Atitlan, from the road as we travel from San Lucas to the village of Chitulul, where we would build.
A view from the grounds of the nice hotel in San Lucas. We had a couple of meals here, and would hang out at the pool.
Lake Atitlan; this is the corner between the main road and the small road to our village.
On the way to our village. Very hilly country, and the high population forces them to farm even hills like this, in spite of the erosion.
This is a typical stucco home, that one of our Habitat families live in.
Half of our group, at house 1, with house 1 mason, his helpers, and the family.
House 1. The mason (hired by Habitat) is wearing the cowboy hat.
The homes are engineered to be earthquake resistant; rebar at specific locations horizontally and vertically.
The girls have to help take care of the babies. And that doesn't stop them from helping.
Stan and kids; new home (house 2) on the left, old straight ahead.
We brought a polaroid; this was a big hit. As were our digital cameras; we'd take a picture and they'd crowd around to see.
The concrete blocks were quite soft; they trimmed them with a machete. Here he's making room for a horizontal course of rebar, for earthquake resistance.
Horizontal course of rebar, for earthquake resistance. Nathan on left, Kate in blue, Ellen on right.
Horse carying its own food. Some neighborhood kids on the path across the road; they were curious but shy.
We brought some books; they didn't have any.
Kate & Brad
Ronda treated a number of kids, including one who'd stepped on a nail.
Temporary framework for the door. You could pound nails into these soft bricks. The rubber tube is for electircal wire.
Making progress. Note the coffee bush on the right; they're everywhere.
Nathan, Kate, & Brad.
Kids playing with a top.
Making room for door hinges.
Making progress; sheet metal roof is earthquake resistant.
Preparing the floor; we covered this with concrete.
Bucket brigade for the floor.
They'd never seen a frisbee.
The women and girls wore colorful clothing all the time, and there's a lot of work in them.
Making tortillas, on a typical stove.
Rhonda (Rosita) and Rhonda (Ronda)
We were there in the rainy season; it only rained hard once. But boy did it rain!
And we got stuck. Too slippery; it took forever to get past the steep point. And was pretty dangerous; the van was slipping right and left, and it's a steep dropoff on the right.
Pinata - one for the boys, one for the girls.
But they all went for the candy.
We demonstrated American culture.
That soup was wonderful!
In our hotel, getting ready for a little carnival at a local handicapped school. Jessie, Jenna, and Kate.
Jessie doing magic. Dan at right.
The kids were pretty timid. Guatemalan kids don't seem to play much, and the parents don't play with the kids.
The handicapped school
Speed bumps on the main roads, to slow down traffic through the village. That's a great place to pass, as we're about to do. I'm riding in the back of a pickup, with about 30 others.
Chicken buses - a primary form of intercity transportation. Old American school buses, fixed up and tricked out.
Lake Atitlan. We're boating to another town, Santiago Atitlan, with a school of Hurricane Stan orphans.
This woman was the example for a Guatemalan coin.
Here's one of the pickups; with about half the normal load. On the way to a school of Hurricane Stan orphans.
Jenna and Kate, ready to cheer up the orphans.
The orphan's school
Only one sticker per girl allowed!
It got pretty rowdy.
Area devastated by Hurricane Stan.
This hospital was half-buried by a mudslide.
This village was buried by a mudslide.
The mudslide split here, leaving this building untouched. The writing on the building says “Thank you Stan, for leaving this island of paradise.”
At a hotel in Panajachel, another town on Lake Atitlan; an old hippie hangout.
Nature preserve in Panajachel
Tim and a banana tree in the nature preserve
View of the lake from the nature preserve.
Ancient Mayan stone head, long defaced but still revered.
Cemetaries are colorful.
San Simon, a cigar-smoking hard-drinking semi-deity.
San Simon with friends.
Church in Chichicastenango, the day before the famous market (included in the book 1000 things to do before you die)
Many different ways to carry things
Antigua, the old Spanish capitol until it was abandoned after a number of devastating earthquakes
A renovated monastery in Antigua, now a very nice hotel
The volcano Auga is to the south of Antigua
Market in Antigua
Our guide leading to Pacaya volcano. These rocks are still hot. Note the burnt stick.
On our way to Pacaya
Climbing Pacaya. This lava is very sharp!
Our guide showing off
This lava is hot!
Security at the start of the hike up Pacaya; there used to be a problem with robberies on the trail.
Mayan ceremonies in the central plaza in Tikal. After President Bush visited a Mayan purification ceremony was held here.
At Tikal, view to the “Lost World” pyramid. This appeared in Star Wars
Vegetation had overgrown all the temples, before it was cleared.
Nathan climibing the stairs to one temple. They don't want you to climb the stone stairs - too many people died.
Nathan on top
The hard way down!
Ready to go on a zip-line tour?
There he goes!
Here he comes!