Maya-Mam Market Culture – Living Local in Guatemala

Sunday was market-day in Comitancillo with farmers from all over the region converging, and transforming the quiet streets to sell their goods. Here are a variety of regional chile peppers and dried fish.

They arrived at 4 o’clock in the morning. Outside my hotel window in the cobbled streets below, men and women arrived from the countryside, or from smaller towns and villages around Comitancillo, with their tables and poles and blue and black tarpaulins and their bulging sacks of whatever it was …

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Indigenous Farmers Confront Canada’s Goldcorp

Tomasa at her home in Comitancillo, Guatemala (Photo Credit - KJ Dakin)

Lines etch across Tomasa Perez Jimenez’s tawny features as her eyes study her floor. The cracked earth contrasts with the party pink of her traditional blouse. Her voice is quiet and steady as she discusses the mine that has been operating on her doorstep for more than a decade. “In …

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Behind the Canadian Flag – Mining in Central America

Mother and daughter farmers with their children and grandchildren in Comitancillo, Guatemala.

Seven years ago, I broke the stitches that secured the Canadian flag to my bright blue backpack. It was a symbolic act. It was a traveller’s coming of age moment when I realized that I was no longer proud of my country’s political reputation abroad. When I was 19, I …

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Permaculture vs. Gold Mining in Guatemala

Indigenous seed saving in Tuixcajchis (Photo by KJ Dakin)

In the arid mountain village of Tuixcajchis, Aurelia Jimenez Zacories is always growing something on her small but productive tract of land. She spends her days coaxing vegetables and the staples of corn, wheat and potatoes from the soil, raising livestock, building organic soil, planting trees and saving her seeds …

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Photos from the Field – Comitancillo, Guatemala

It was my first time collaborating with a photojournalist to capture stories. Here is the wildly talented and wildly wonderful, KJ Dakin and a few curious children standing by.

You don’t wait for chicken buses in Guatemala. You get pushed onto them, literally, and within seconds become one with a noisy chugging engine, far too many bodies pressed together on seats, and ranchara music assaulting your ears for the entire (tiresome) journey. Alas… And then you wake up and …

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A,B,C,D,E is for Ecological Education in Guatemala

School children at Tuixoquel, Comitancillo.

Promoting ‘education’ is just one of the many banners that government and development organizations love to wave as solutions to complex issues that cause poverty and disease. Build a school, fund curriculum development, pay teacher’s salaries. And so forth. Unfortunately, applying the broad stroke of ‘education’ can also cause more …

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