Monday, September 14, 2015

Everyone Loves a Parade!

It's that time of year again.  The 15th of September is nigh! This is to Guatemalans what the 4th of July is to us United Stateseans (that's what they call us in Spanish by the way--Estadounidenses). The streets are alive with color and music and exitement as people watch with pride as their kids pass by in the school parades.  The secondary schools from the area all march through town today and tomorrow is reserved for the the elementary school kids.  As you can imagine, there are some serious repercussions for traffic.  We learned a long time ago that it was pointless to work on the day before Independence day as you end us just sitting in a traffic jam all day.  So we get a great two-day holiday!!!!  Here are some shots from our morning around town taking in the sights. 

Everyone looking for the best place to watch the parade go by.
Chichicastenango Plaza--just waiting....!

The smart kids leading the pack for the ITEC school.

Dance of the Bull attire--traditional dance of  Guatemala

Guys on stilts.  Notice the meat market guy is hoping to get some business today--got his little red flag out--that means "fresh meat today".

Parade marchers making their way down the highway to the soccer field.  Check out all the toy and snack vendors.

Cool band uniforms!

And the traffic..... These poor traffic cops are having a heated discussion with one of the bus drivers who wants to double stack the traffic "so people can get through faster".  Never mind the angry drivers that will be coming down form the other side of town.

They did manage to keep the street open for ambulances.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dental Clinic Upgrades

As we mentioned earlier, we have received some generous donations toward dental equipment.  So, we have decided to invest in a larger, but quieter air compressor that will operate both dental clinics at Clinica Caris, as well as central suction, rather than individual units, which gives us more suction power to be able to do oral surgery procedures.  We are hoping to have them installed and ready for our visiting oral surgeon, Dr. Robert Lamb, who will be working with our two dentists and teaching at the end of this month.  Here are some pictures of the construction project.

Dra. Sandra Aldana and assistant Maria Chan attending a patient in Clinica Caris.

Dra. Aura Alvarez and our intern Heidi Gonzalez with their patient at Clinica Caris
Our old, but rugged compressors.  Working hard still, but showing signs of giving up the ghost!
Kemmel and Gregorio working on plans for laying the tubing for the new compressor and central suction unit.

New breaker box for the equipment.  Here's something funny:  around here they call the the individual breaker switches flipones (flee-PON-es).  When you hear it in Spanish it takes a second to realize it's from the English "flip on".

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Politics as Usual

Things are getting crazier by the minute as election day gets here tomorrow.  This year has been full of grassroots activity generating a nationwide call to expose corruption in government.  After endless strikes, road blocks, and manifestations, Guatemala managed to  make the Vice President and even the President step down and face charges of taking bribes in a customs fraud scandal.

Downtown during the nationwide strike last week that led to the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina this week.

All of this is taking place while twelve different political parties campaign for their candidates for president, congressmen and mayors.
These are just the presidential candidates!

Word on the street is that the people are pretty disgusted with all politicians right now and aren't excited about any of the choices on the ballot.  Despite the lack of interest, the politicians have managed to drum up the appearance of support by funding large rowdy caravans and rallies and obnoxious political songs and adds blaring on the loud speakers attached to cars roaming the streets. We even saw a boat parade on Lake Atitlan last week!

Nothing's sacred when it comes to political posters. Lightposts, cliffsides, guardrails, even roadside death memorials are fair game around here.

Two party boats rented for at least a couple of hundred people who filled the docks and marched through town in several lake side towns. 
 It will be so good when this place gets back to normal. Should be interesting tomorrow--be praying for peaceful turnouts.