Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Latin American Press is carrying an interesting article about how increased demand for biofuel could cause a food crisis in Guatemala. The whole story here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Swedish Ambassador to Guatemala, Lena Werner Dahlin, visited Santiago Atitlán in recognition of her country’s commitment to rebuild after Tropical Storm Stan. Sweden has contributed U$400,000.00 towards building new communities in Xucumuk for 900 affected families. However, the effort involves many agencies on both national and international level. The area, which lies north of Santiago Atitlán, is planned with sport facilities, green areas, archeological parks, a museum, areas for drying coffee and other crops and space enough to house chickens and other animals the families are dependent upon.

The photo is taken at the new museum that displayed a photo exhibit based on the events during and after the mudslide of October 5th, 2005. The Ambassador is accompanied with Santiago Atitlán´s mayor Diego Esquina Mendoza and members from both the Swedish and the Atitlaneco administrations.

In December 2006, when Father Anthony Taylor of the Archdioceses of Oklahoma City requested a meeting with members of Asociación K'aslimaal, the board of directors of the Hospitalito, it was a meeting of old friends with much history and memories to share. Board members Dr. Juan Manuel Chuc, Juan Tziná, and Diego Chichom had grown up with MICATOKLA, the Misión Catolico de Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma priests.

Today, we celebrated Father Taylor's return to Atitlán with a special lunch with the employees of Hospitalito Atitlán and the president of Acción Catolico, Jose Ramirez.

MICATOKLA first came to Atitlán in 1968, when they sent Father Francisco Stanley Rother to be the priest in Santiago Atitlán. It was funds from MICATOKLA that built the first hospital in Panabaj. On October 5th, 2007, in Oklahoma City, the process began for the canonizing of Father Stanley Rother (Padre Aplas as he was known locally).

Funds for the construction of the medical storage building came from the Archdioceses of Oklahoma. The plaque says... To the Archdioceses of Oklahoma City in recognition of the continued help for the health of the people of Santiago Atitlán.

Monday, November 05, 2007

November 1st is all Saints Day, the 2nd, All Souls Day, and in Latin America it is a very special and beautiful time filled with tradition. In Santiago Atitlán many thousands filled the cemetery to pay respect to their loved ones. The men added a fresh coat of paint to the crosses or the family crypts, and weeded the mounds or planted small shrubs or flowers. People carried large bags of pine needles to cover the graves, buckets of cut flowers, candles, incense, and food and drink. Some brought musical instruments. The young boys set off fireworks, the cotton candy and ice cream vendors were busy, and most everyone seemed to be enjoying this time together with family.

For me it was a time to visit old friends and their families. One in particular Tomas Coché Ajuchan died on Christmas Day, 2002, from complications from diabetes. He was 54 and my reason for becoming actively involved in the Hospitalito. Thank you Tomas, for leading me to such wonderful work.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


This week an old friend arrived with another donation for the Bomberos of Santiago Atitlán. Judy Royer, an ER physician from Dayton, Ohio, delivered items donated by...
North Central EMS of Eldorado, OHIO
Englewood FIre Department, Englewood, OHIO
Lewisberg Fire Department, Lewisberg OHIO
Good Samaritan Hospital, Dayton OHIO

In March of this year, Hospitalito director and bombero Dr. Juan Manuel Chuc began EMT training for the Bomberos Company 45. Dr. Royer and Dr. Chuc discussed the level of training completed thus far, so that she will begin collecting donations for her next trip.

In this photo are Volunteer rescue worker, Luis Cutzlan, Director Miguel Angel Ixbalan, Dr. Judy Royer, Dr. Juan Manuel Chuc and Jimmy Hutchinson.