Monday, May 18, 2009

A Dream Reality ~ by Waymon Burns

I was in Panajachel 2 weeks ago with my wife and her Guatemalan family. It's almost like a dream reality there. I'd first went there around 20 years ago and had always wanted to return.
I have plans to go again, possibly next year. I do plan to retire in Guatemala; possibly in San Lucas, near Antigua.
I like the people there, in spite of getting them to keep a promise, especially related to time or an appointment. - Waymon Burns Texas

(posted as a comment on "Lake Atitlan’s Monster" on May 18, 2009 1:49 PM)

My response:

Dear Waymon, thanks for your comment! Especially what you wrote "I like the people there, in spite of getting them to keep a promise, especially related to time or an appointment."

LOL... ain't it the truth? But they really are so nice, I love living there. Glad you enjoyed it. Let us know if you come back. We're going to retire there too, even as I am back and forth all the time right now. I'm starting to build a house there this year in Panajachel, Lake Atitlan.

You can write to me at Let's keep in touch!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Guatemalan Trade Fair in USA 2006

Guatemalan Trade Fair in California: Big International Business
US Big Business and Guatemalan Small Business Hook-up
By Martin Barillas

Guatemalan artisans will exhibit their wares at the Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles CA for the second showing of their handicrafts. The Mayan vendors, many of whom are artisans themselves, will offer their work for sale from August 24th through the 27th. Guatemalans who claim descent from the Mayans and who speak any one of some 12 different Amerindian languages live mostly in the highlands of the small Central American republic. They are known the world over for their colorful hand-woven fabrics which forms the basis for their native dress. The women of the highlands are renowned for their hand-woven and hand embroidered blouses, called huipiles. Besides clothing, the Guatemalan craftsmen will offer the public in California a chance to buy wood carvings, dolls, and other handicrafts.

This is the second such exhibition in California. In the 60s and 70s as North American and European travelers and backpackers visited Guatemala, they brought back clothing and other crafts for sale. Since the onset of the wave of immigrants from Central America to the US, more and more Guatemalans are themselves coming to the US to sell their wares. Guatemalan officials hope for an attendance in excess of 10,000 for the four day exhibit.
Sales of Guatemalan handicrafts has slumped, somewhat, due to East Asian competition but also because of criminal violence in Guatemala. According to Guatemalan daily Prensa LIbre, exports of handicrafts from January 1st to August 10th of this year stood at US$1.820 million. In comparison, Guatemala exported US$1.987 million in 2005. A number of craftsmen’s guilds, associations, and cooperatives that will be represented at the fair are indigenous community-based.

The fair will afford an opportunity for Guatemalans to sell to Americans, but also for Americans to sell to Guatemalans. Real estate brokers and developers are due to be on hand at the fair to entice Guatemalans living in the US to buy homes and real estate. In addition, companies that deal in wire transfers of money will be there to offer their services to Guatemalans who send money home. Companies such as MoneyGram, Western Union, and the US Postal Service are competing for a wire transfer market that exceeds $8 billion per annum, the approximate amount transferred from the US to Mexico, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

The Hollywood Park Casino is located at 3883 W. Century Blvd. Inglewood CA 90303. Tel: 310-330-2800.

2009 © Associated Content, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mexican Sunflowers Provide Support for Beans

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican sunflower is a warm season annual with a stout, gangly habit, growing to 5-6 ft (1.5-1.8 m) tall and 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) wide. The leaves are coarse, 3-lobed, 4-10 in (12.7-25 cm) long and 2-4 in (5-10 cm) wide. The leaves and stems are covered with a soft downy fuzz. The numerous flower heads are brilliant red-orange, like daisies or zinnias, and about 3 in (7.6 cm) across. The beautiful cultivar, 'Torch', was named an All America Selection and is the probably the most popular. Dwarf cultivars are also available including 'Goldfinger' and 'Fiesta Del Sol' that grow to about 3 ft (0.9 m) in height and perfect for smaller gardens.

There are about 10 species of Tithonia native to Mexico and Central America.

Light: Likes full sun, but can tolerate filtered sun or partial shade.
Moisture: Needs well-drained soil. Mexican sunflower is heat and drought resistant but water when dry for a good look.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 10 (4 if started indoors). Killed by frost, but will reseed itself next spring.
Propagation: Seeds.

Mexican sunflower is beautiful in cut flower arrangements, but the flower heads are borne on fragile hollow peduncles (flower stems) that must be cut carefully with a sharp knife lest they bend and collapse. Plant Mexican sunflower behind beds or borders where their coarse texture, rangy habit and vivid flowers will stand above less boisterous plantings. Unless you're growing one of the compact varieties, they will need plenty of room.

Few plants as large and spectacular as Mexican sunflower can complete two generations in a single summer. In the southern U.S., Mexican sunflower seeds planted in March or April will produce plants that flower and go to seed in June. Those seeds will fall to the ground, germinate, and produce a second generation of flowers that will mature before the first frost in October!

Yellow Torch Mexican sunflowers
The Mexican sunflower cultivar 'Yellow Torch' is as beautiful and appealing to butterflies as it's companion 'Red Torch'. Click to download a large version of this image.
Mexican sunflower is one of the best flowers you can grow for attracting butterflies. In late summer, a stand of tithonia may attract a half dozen or more butterfly and skipper species with one or more individuals on every single blossom!

The composite family is so named because their members have flower heads that consist of many flowers, usually of two different types. Ray flowers look superficially like petals around the margin, and disk flowers are crowded together in the center of the composite flower head. Both kinds of flowers may have pollen-producing stamens and seed-producing ovaries. Use a hand lens to see these parts for yourself.


Radio Scripts

Package 30, Script 7
October 1993
Mexican Sunflowers Provide Support for Beans

Content: Sunflowers can provide support for bean plants. They also protect the soil and add nutrients and organic matter as they decompose.

Julio Cesar is a farmer in the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala. One of his main crops is beans. Julio uses a local plant, the Mexican sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia), to protect the beans and help them grow.

Here is how he does it.

First he plants a row of Mexican sunflowers. One or two days later he plants beans in the same row. The idea is that the beans will eventually grow up the sunflower stems and use them as support. After the sunflowers have grown for some time, little shoots begin to grow out of the stems. Julio cuts off these shoots. Otherwise the shoots grow into branches which prevent the beans from growing straight up. He cuts the shoots off the sunflower stems about every 15 days until the bean plants are well established and wrapped around the tall, strong, stems of the sunflowers.

After that Julio lets the sunflower shoots grow - this way the plant produces more branches and leaves which will be a good mulch on the ground next year. When the shoots grow bigger and form branches they provide shade which keeps Julio cool at harvest time.

This practice has lots of advantages. The sunflower is a cover crop when the beans are growing, keeping the soil protected. And Julio has stopped buying fertilizers for his beans. At the end of the season the sunflowers add nutrients and organic matter to the soil as they decompose. So the sunflowers act first as a mulch on the soil and then decompose adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Also when the flowers have died they can be dried and used as fuel.
Information Source

* This script is based on an interview with Julio Cesar Pereira, a farmer from Aldea Sombrerito Bajo, Nuevo Progreso, San Marcos, Guatemala.


Floridata: Tithonia rotundiflora
Yellow Torch Mexican sunflowers. The Mexican sunflower cultivar 'Yellow Torch' is as beautiful and appealing to butterflies as it's companion 'Red Torch'. ...

Mexican Sunflower Seeds
Here is a really neat video we found that really shows the Mexican sunflowers beauty. At first the butterfly is landing on butterfly weed then he flies over ...

PlantFiles: Detailed information on Mexican Sunflower Tithonia ...
Plant a row of Mexican Sunflowers for a quick temporary privacy screen while waiting for a new landscape to fill in. Attracts butterflies, especially the ...

How to Grow Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Rotundifolia) |
How to Grow Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Rotundifolia). A tall, cheerful flower, this annual (grows just one year) offers a fun way to fill the back of a ...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Swine Flu in Guatemala

API: Swine Flu Reported in Guatemala

Swine flu is in Guatemala. If you are a consular volunteer for your country of origin, you may already have this information. But if not, the link is,english/

D. Wayne Coop

Friday, May 8, 2009

Computers For Guatemala

Computers For Guatemala

* Home
* Computer Labs
* Recreation Park
* Other Projects
* About Guatemala
* How To Help
* Donors
* Positive Feedback

::Computers For Guatemala::

Having served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala from 1967 to 1970, I stayed in touch with friends, helping some of their children through school. On one trip to Guatemala I was asked by one student to meet with Catholic nuns who needed computers for their school. I put up signs in Darien CT and asked friends in New York City, and soon had 20 computers, which were sent to the school. Word spread in Guatemala and here at home, so to date we have sent over 300 computer systems to schools, orphanages, libraries and individuals, some in partnership with the Peace Corps, Catholic Charities, Child Aid, and a non-sectarian Quaker scholarship program.

We also have an eight acre recreation park “Nueva Vista” with playground equipment. We are growing fair trade coffee in the park and will use the profits to support the computer projects. Almost half of the park has been set aside for a suitable project such as a school or orphanage.

::Recent News::

* 03/12/2009: March 2009 News
* 11/26/2008: High School graduation in San Mateo Ixtatan, Huehuetenango
* 11/26/2008: Distributing Computers, October 2008
* 11/24/2008: Trip To Guatemala September 2008
* 06/29/2007: Board of Directors, & Field Coordinator
* 06/14/2007: Quaker Scholarship Students Receive Computers

::Our Logo::


Our logo is the Mayan symbol for both the Quetzal (national bird of Guatenala) and the Creator. By recycling a seemingly useless computer we give a Mayan child the means to create new things and hence the power to create a new life.


"I can imagine no better way to serve the young and disenfranchised of Guatemala than to provide, as you have been doing for decades, funds for education, and now educationally-formatted computers. For anyone of whatever background or nationality to become a realized individual, having the tools, developing a personal mission, and defying the odds are basic requirements."

David Milholland
Peace Corps Volunteer Group XI Guatemala
June 8, 2007

::Contact Information::

Connecticut Address:
Donald L. Livingston
47 Nearwater Lane
Darien CT 06820

New York Address:
55 West 89th Street
New York NY 10024

Telephone: (917) 468-4391
Fax: (212) 724-5934

Copyright 2008 Computers for Guatemala


Hi Catherine,

I thought you'd be interested in learning about this group. We've just purchased two computers from them for $55 a pop!

Thanks as always for your help!


Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.