Thursday, April 29, 2010


There are three definitions for pilas:

1. A water deposit with an area for washing (click here for pictures of modern pilas). The one in the picture is a communal pila. It has 5 spots for 5 women to come and wash. Women would come here wash and gossip making I am sure a wonderful event. Communal pilas are still in the rural areas. Pilas are the next step above washing clothes in the river on a rock.
You can find a pila at basically every house in Guatemala

2. Batteries. That toy comes with batteries included. El juguete trae las pilas incluídas.

3. Colloquial expression: From the concept of batteries comes this very common expression used when somebody needs to get more proactive or needs to be more energetic. One would say: "Ponete las pilas." or "Me voy a poner las pilas." (Put on the batteries. or I will put on the batteries.) Also someone that is pilas is a person that is energetic, thinks quick on his feet, similar to chispudo.

The picture is a communal pila in Finca Filadelfia

Thanks to Pablo`s comment for reminding me to write another very Guatemala memory. At soccer games the commentator would switch the microphone as follows: Luis was commenting on a play and to give the microphone to the other commentator he would ask: ¿José cual es la Pila? (What is the battery) Jose answers "Ray-o-vac- tremenda en duración"(Long lasting Ray-o-Vac) and keeps commenting.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Buen Provecho!

I love the expression "Buen Provecho" it is the equivalent to Bon Apettite. It is said if you walk in a room and people are eating you salute saying Buen Provecho. It is said at the end of every meal, when you are done you say Muchas Gracias and people will automatically respond Buen Provecho!

Sent from my mobile. CIAV, Cambiando Vidas

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is a picture of a busy Sunday at Central Park Guatemala City.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The ability to balance a load on the head is one I admire. This is one of the abilities taught at an early age to girls in the rural area. It is interesting because it is an ability fomented only in girls. I have not seen a man balancing a load on his head! You can see girls and women carrying anything from a bucket with corn grains on the way to the grind or a bucket of dough on the way back. A basket of food, cooked or alive! A bundle of flowers or wood. Load can be big or small an probably as heavy as 50 pounds. Women can go downhill, uphill, in paved or dirts roads.
I took this picture in Mazatenango. I was waiting in line on a road block due to construction, a blessing to locals, who immediately come out with their products to offer them to the stuck drivers. This woman is carrying a plate of rellenitos on her head (rellenitos are like a croquet of platano dough stuffed with sweetened beans).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Socccer, futbol, is the game in Guatemala. Every 15 spare minutes is an opportunity to play, every open space with a couple of rocks to mark the goal turns into a soccer field and anything can be a ball.
In this picture father and son are playing with an empty plastic bottle of coke.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Mil Gracias - A thousand "thank-yous"- that is one of the more than "mil" reasons why I love living in Guatemala.

On Tuesday, Tom received an e-mail from a friend regarding a favor we did to him. As a normal curious wife I asked Tom what did our friend write. Tom responded 'He wrote: Mil Gracias'. I noticed the expression had stood out to Tom so, what would have otherwise seemed normal, now I identified it as one of those subtleties that makes Guatemala what it is.

My response was don't you love it? Where else but in Guatemala would one get ONE THOUSAND gracias! We joked that in the US we get a 'thanks' even less than a thank-you!

Mil gracias!, Muchas Gracias!, Muchisimas Gracias!, Que Dios te lo pague! Gracias Miles!, Inmesamente agracedido!, Que Dios te lo multiplique!, Un Millón de Gracias!, Infinitamente Agradecido! are some of the common expression of Guatemalans grateful personality.

Waking up to a rainy morning.

Sent from my mobile. CIAV, Cambiando Vidas