This week's Photo of the Week is of a lovely female Townsend Warbler. She was photographed on January 17, 2015 by Pedro Juan Solis of Santa Cruz la Laguna and the owner/operator of Adventure Tours Atitlan. Pedro tells me that the Townsend Warbler is a migratory bird. It nests in Alaska to Oregon and migrates in the winter to Mexico and Central America. The male of the species has a yellow face with a very black cheek patch with a yellow crescent under eye. Black streaks extend from the throat down its sides. Usually you can see this bird in jocote trees and it eats mostly insects and the honeydew excreted by scale insects. You can see this bird in Santa Cruz la Laguna, area!
View the Photos of the Week archive at: http://santacruzlalaguna.weebly.com/photos.html
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Oh, no! No events to list this week!
If you have any events you would like to promote, please send your blurb with image or photo to: email@example.com. I need to receive your submission no later than Sunday afternoons as this Blog comes out on Monday mornings.
Check out regular event listings on the Lake Atitlan Events Calendar, http://ev-cal.com/fb/106177
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Representatives from OCRET have been making visits to the lake front land owners recently. What is OCRET? Oficina de Control de Areas de Reserva Territorial del Estado de Guatemala. OCRET controls the possession rights of property within their jurisdiction which is 200 horizontal meters from the Lake's edge. It has been known for sometime that one cannot OWN this land, but instead must register and lease it from OCRET in 30 year increments. Some people comply, others don't. But OCRET now has an office in Solola and is making a concentrated effort to get everyone to comply.
Real Estate Agent Armand Boissy has written 2 blog posts about the recent developments. You can view his blog posts here.
I think that the post of June 11th is very informative and answers many questions, but perhaps raises a few as well!
From this information it seems that the first 20 meters of the 200 meters actually is considered PUBLIC BEACH land and as such cannot be leased through OCRET. In this instance you do NOT own or even lease the land, but are responsible for maintaining it, must prevent "invasion", and must allow people to be able to walk the shore line.
Also, even if your property does not abut the shoreline but falls within the 200 meters designation, you are expected to comply and register with OCRET.
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From Roberto Luz, director of Festival Atitlan and other events. . . . .
After years of having to scramble to find a place to put on concerts, have picnics, bring dance troupes, etc. to the lake area I decided that it’s time to start working on putting together a permanent cultural park here on the lake, a place that was self-sustaining and yet accessible to everyone. A place where the idea is the advancement of higher cultural and ecological values, and a place where the many different cultures that make up life on Lake Atitlan can have space to get creative. One reason that the Festival Atitlan has become more sporadic in recent years is the difficulty in finding the appropriate space.
The idea is to purchase a large piece of property where different areas could be developed to support and promote art in all of its different manifestations. A place where events of all sizes could be enjoyed by everyone. I envision an outdoor acoustic shell with a large stage and dressing rooms, composting toilets, a campground and communal kitchen as well as art galleries, areas for workshops and retreats, a playground for the kids, a place for lakeside events, an archaeological museum and whatever other ideas could pop up. The property could be turned into a permaculture heaven, and you could even set up some great organic gardens. It could become a showplace for good ecological practices. It could be a very positive influence and would definitely be a benefit to the community.
What I came up with as a way to actually do this is to find four partners who will invest a bit with me and approach it as a low key, low profit business, with the intention of making money mainly to pay for the park. I am absolutely certain that we could pay for a piece of land and maintain it by putting on events and renting the place out for other people to do events (weddings, concerts, campers, maybe a restaurant concession). The evangelicos (who come to Santiago in hoards every couple of months for huge gatherings and rent out every empty space in sight) would definitely rent the place for their functions. The surrounding forest would absorb whatever noise the place would generate. Ever the last years I have been approached with any number of incredibly talented proposals that I’ve had to let slip by because there simply is no place.
So far there are three of us, and we could use another partner or two… It’s not a big investment.….
Some old friends, who set up a homestead back in the early 70’s and left the country with the war in the 80’s have generously offered to sell us their piece in Tzan Chaj (Santiago) for a very reasonable price. There are 18-19 cuerdas (about 4 acres), which is large enough to do anything that we could possibly think up, and I believe that we will recuperate our investments within a very reasonable amount of time. The land is beautiful, covered in Avocados, coffee, and corn, with lots of firewood trees and flat areas. It has both road and lake access, and even has the shells of a couple of buildings and a windmill tower to start with. With this as a start we could then proceed to carefully and intelligently plan how to develop it into a cultural paradise in the woods, and at that point you could start including the community in the efforts….
There you have it… it seems like a natural progression to all of the projects that we’ve done over the years, and could evolve to be something incredible… what would happen if we took all that creative energy like from Festival Atitlan and, instead of tearing it down and rebuilding it each time, actually created a real, evolving place to “Return to paradise”?
Roberto can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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by Jeanne Mendez, February 21, 2013
Written with the Roundhouse Writing Circle, Santa Cruz la Laguna
She’d gotten up early that morning – something she loved when it happened accidentally, after a peaceful night’s sleep. The sparrows had just started their morning symphony and the dogs stretched and yawned at the sound. She stroked each soft head in turn as she made her way to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
As was her custom on these early mornings, she sat down on the steps and looked out at the lake and the sky just starting to turn pink and yellow. And as the sparrows quieted down, she saw the big white heron gliding above the water and landing effortlessly on the dock post. He sat motionless, just watching the sky as she was, or perhaps more likely the water, like an elegant statue that just seemed to appear on the rotted wood. She held her breath and watched him – knowing full well that even the sound of the dogs barking wouldn’t disturb him, no less the sound of her breath.
Time stood still it seemed and the peace was only broken by the insistent whistle of the tea kettle she had all but forgotten. As she rose, the dogs did too – starting their own morning ritual of yapping at each others’ ears and legs. They knew the routine well. (Was she really so predictable, even to her dogs?) They’d wait impatiently while she sipped her tea. Almost every morning she’d find the need to tell them, “Yes, I know you want to go for a run. But I need my tea first,” believing – knowing without a doubt – that they understood completely and that their continued jumping impatience was more like young children disregarding what they’ve heard than a lack of comprehension.
She went back out to the steps, looking out toward the east as she sat on the ledge, savoring the sweet honeyed brew and warming her hand around the mug. It wasn’t a cold morning. It never was. Her friends in snow country would scoff at the idea of her seeking warmth. But there was a delicious chill in the air that she knew would be baked away by the sun in just a few hours time.
She loved this morning feel – the cool, calm air; the warmth of the mug; the sweet smell of the waking garden; the light changing imperceptibly as the seconds went by; the glass-like stillness of the lake ruffled only by the waking ducks; a fish or two leaping into the air for their own morning breath. And, the fishermen, silently letting out or hauling in their nets, paddling their wooden kayukas to move like silk along the water, barely causing a ripple as they went.
They too seemed to respect the stillness, to revel in its peace. They’d nod and say a soft “hekj” at each other, but nothing more at this hour. They would chat across their nets at greater length as the day wore on, but at dawn they were as quiet as the world around them.
Except Francisco – the singer. Each morning he’d sing a simple song to himself as he glided toward the next bay. Sometimes she’d hear him when she was still in bed and she’d smile at his regularity – like the sparrows and the ducks. She couldn’t understand the words, but after a time she grew to recognize the 4 or 5 gentle melodies that seemed to be his favorites. She wondered if they were love songs or church songs or perhaps some lullaby that had stayed in his head since the evening before.
For a long time she knew him only by his voice. The color of his boat was only a silhouette against the rising sun and his face was completely in shadow. But somehow (she didn’t remember exactly when or how) she’d learned his name.
He was a young man, maybe 30 or 35. It was so hard to tell. And he had smiled broadly at her one day as she cozied up in her sweater at the edge of the dock. It was just that one day that he was so near and had said “Buenos dias” with his beautiful smile. And that was all he said. He continued paddling and resumed his song.
This morning, as she sat on the steps, she noticed a young boy in the kayuka with Francisco. He was pulling in the net as the boat glided past the heron and he didn’t seem to notice when the statue moved, stretched to its full height and flapped its enormous wings. As the boy and the singer turned their heads, they just caught sight of the heron rising from their net with a fish hanging from its beak. As he perched again on his dock post, she smiled and laughed along with the boy and the man who had no other choice but to do so too.
The heron showed no sign of satisfaction or bemusement and she imagined his eyes focused sharply on the net once again as he returned to his statuesque pose.
Betts, her oldest girl, sat down beside her, nuzzling her nose gently under her hand. And she stroked her dear old friend who seemed to understand that, in the quiet and the stillness, this time was theirs to share without a word with Francisco, the boy, the sky, the lake and the fish. And the still white heron who saw it all.
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Fundacion Salud Oral is a group of Guatemalan dentists treating kids and the elderly in places where there’s often absolutely no dental care. (Imagine a broken tooth with an exposed nerve and no way to treat it – ever.) This is true grassroots - Guatemalans helping Guatemalans. They need to raise at least 40 unique, new donors (at any level) and $5,000 in two weeks to buy critical dental equipment *and* qualify to raise funds in the future through Global Giving. In other words, it will be a game-changer. Can you help with the 40-donor part? Even a $10 donation counts. Think of it as buying lunch or a round of beers - but instead, you’ll be buying kids a round of dental education and treatment that can last a lifetime. Please be one of the 40. Click the link below and give whatever you can.
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WHERE THERE IS NO DOCTOR
Hesperian Health Guide (formerly Hesperian Foundation) has been producing the world famous Where There is No Doctor since 1977 and many other health guides as well. This non-profit sells their books, but they offer many of them as free downloadable PDF versions.
From the following link you can access the list of their publications and which ones are available as PDFs. Make a small donation while you are at it. They do good work.
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CHICKENS AND EGGS!
Last week I reported that Atitlan Organics, located in Tzununa, has organic chickens and eggs for sale. Now Shad Qudsi says they have high quality live egg laying chickens for sale. Shad says,
"The breed is Leghorn and they lay a minimum of 5 eggs per week, 11 months of the year. THEY WILL START LAYING AROUND NOVEMBER 15th!
They arrive on our farm at one day old on June 25th. The first ones go on sale July 1st at Q20 per hen, Each week, the price goes up by Q5. On October 31st, they are Q100 per hen and they have to be picked up by then. We reccomend waiting until they have at least three weeks, so they are strong enough to go out to various places and adapt well. Please write me a message or call me at 4681-4697. We have about 75 left for sale. They go fast, so don't delay."
Atitlan Organics' website also has instructions for building and managing a permaculture-inspired hen house:
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Traci Styner alerted me to an error in last week's blog in the section about the Immigration Changes. I cited that this came from Guatemala Migracion, but it is from a Guatemala immigration service that is owned by a woman who used to work for Migracion. https://www.facebook.com/img.serv
To all our customers, we inform that Immigration is making some sudden changes. Those who have children under age, are asked to add to the visa extension application a complete legalized copy of passports of both parents.
Also I advise to start the process 3 weeks before the expiration date for under age children to avoid paying fines and now is required a certified copy of the birth certificate of the child in the country of origin by the Embassy of Guatemala and the foreign ministry in Guatemala.
Please take note. Thank You."
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Rainfall in Paxanax for the week of June 9-14: 4.4 inches or 11.303 cm.
For the first two weeks in June 2015 we have had 9.15 inches (23.241 cm) of rain which represents 58% of the rainfall we had last year for the same time period (15.81 inches or 40.16 cm).
Click this link to view the Rainfall Report on this website:
*** The Mayan glyph Kawoq symbolizes rain, lightning and thunder, water and air. It also represents the collective consciousness. ***
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