Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Breakfast was at the cabin. The girls were voluntarily getting ready to go...

For the kids it was  a day of more fun, during the day depending of the age there was horse back-riding, canoeing, rock climbing and various other activities:

For lunch like the day before we had to pick the kids  up to enjoy the picnic. We had ours  at the lunch area in the main building while watching the US-Ghana, World Cup game.  (Final score Ghana 2 - US 1) :-(

Adults could choose to attend cooking classes, dancing classes and adoption topics workshops. I had a presentation on Quinceañera (once I do the Alfombras Webinar I will do a Quinceañera one, stay tuned). This presentation was not well attended because it coincided with dance rehearsal, which was for my girls the highlight of the day.

In the evening the Fiesta started with a dance routine by every age group followed by a live band which made everyone dance, that was my highlight!

The icing on the cake was meeting Riley on my youngest readers. She is a great dancer!

Credits for most of the pictures LAHC memory pack.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Alfombras Presentation at LAHC and Invitation to GG's first Webinar!

Ok, so why was I saying Latin America Heritage Camp? I just realized yesterday that it is Latin AmericaN Heritage Camp! I am sorry... I will go back and correct all posts.

Any way this is post number 3 of the LAHC 2010 series, its Friday the day of my presentation! 

I want to start this post  pointing out an important cultural difference. I came back telling everyone how impressed I was with the organization but even more so of how reliable people are and the level of trust  that prevails. All it took to have everything setup for my presentation were 2 phone call and 6 emails over a period of 6 months. We agreed I was coming, I got the place and date I was to come, all information needed: my bio, course description, class set up was set and everything worked out. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY EMAILS IT WOULD TAKE IN GUATEMALA TO HAVE SOMEBODY SHOW UP SOMEWHERE AND GET THE LOGISTICS RIGHT!?  (not even involving international traveling). I had to come and tell everyone why the 'gringos' are  the 'gringos'! 

Anyway, after coming out of the shock of nobody thinking much of people following through on their commitments (without having to be confirmed again and again) and the shock of seeing everything work, I headed after lunch  to my back to back presentations of Alfombras (sawdust rugs)

The first part of the workshop was a presentation of the context on which the Alfombras are elaborated, the types of Alfombras, techniques and preparation. 

The second part was a hands on activity where everyone got to make an Alfombra. 

At the end, thanks to INGUAT everyone walked out of the workshop with a free map of Guatemala, friendship bracelets for their children and a big poster of Guatemala. 

I know some of you are thinking I wish I could have seen the presentation! so......



JOIN ME NEXT THURSDAY JULY 29TH AT 6:00 PM MT. To register simply email me and  I will send and invitation with the link. 

This is what some participants said about the workshop:

"I loved your presentation and look forward to more in the future!  It was wonderful having your detailed explanation of Santa Semana - not the version I have read about on the internet.  I could have listened to you talk all weekend! "

" I really enjoyed introducing you in the adult workshop and thought you did a wonderful job conveying the traditions and culture of Guatemala. I have shown the sawdust rug I made to many people."

"I think you were very popular! EVERYONE was talking about the rugs! "

A peek at some of the pictures you will see in the presentation:

PS. Here is a link to a cute children´s book on the subject. (There is an English and a Spanish version)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This is a continuation of a previous post Latin America Heritage Camp .

So, the next day, the camp was inaugurated with a parade of all participating countries of birth. The first and largest group was Guatemala with 92 children!

I cannot explain what came upon me but I could not control the tears of emotion. I think it was seeing the love of the parents, I was watching the children´s life story not being adopted but also the struggles, some more some less, they will have because of being adopted. All an all it was a feeling of love should conquer all.

The count of participants was 130 families more than 300 participants! Children had t-shirts according to their grade age. At the end of the ceremony each group of kids went with their group lead by two or three counselors. The counselors were young adults most of them adopted and others college kids from a Latin America background.

Children did sports, crafts, spanish lesson, dance, mayan astronomy, etc. At lunch we were to pick them up at 12:00 to have picnic lunch as a family. We got a little turned around as to the place to pick the up so we got scolded for being some minutes late to what my husband humorously commented that it could not be much of a Latin Heritage Camp if people are not late!!! (we where not late again though)

After lunch children took off again with their groups to many more activities like, piñatas making, cooking, artifact digging, etc while adults had workshops to choose from, one of them being mine (offered at two different time slots). I was nervous because I thought after lunch there was not going to be that much interest but to my surprise I had two full classes with over 25 participants each!!! (I will have one post just for the presentation)

(pictures are from LAHC memory pack)

In the evening we were invited to a VIP dinner for presenters, counselors and coordinators. A fabulous ceviche was served, you can find the recipe here. I had fun wearing my traditional outfits. The one I wore for the dinner was the ceremonial guipil for San Juan Sacatepequez.

It was a day full of excitement and tons of activities, here is Megan checked out for the day! We didn´t make it to the evening camp circle.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Gaby Moreno, Winner of the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, "Maxell Song of the Year" via "Escondidos"

was nominated alongside her co-writer Vincent Jones for an Emmy in the category of "Outstanding Main Title Theme Music" for her theme song to the NBC show "Parks and Recreation." You can learn more about Gaby and buy her music at or amazon: Still the Unkown .

To add my two cents to the story I have to say that, because we are friends with her aunt (wrote about her in a past post), I have followed a little closer her passion and hard work. Gaby did the first version of the National Anthem of Guatemala that was sung at a more modern style. it was then controversial none the less outstanding. Gaby´s mom, Lucy Bonilla, is a recognized voice in radio and is often seen as the host of distinguished events in Guatemala.

Gaby makes Guatemala and Guatemalans proud! May God keep blessing her work.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LAHC - Latin America Heritage Camp -

I recently came back from our first time participation at the Latin America Heritage Camp. My reaction: O....M...G.....!!!!!!!! If you are a family with adopted children from Latin America or an adopted child yourself please seriously consider this experience.

I was introduced to the camp by Denise one of my first loved readers (and whom I had the great pleasure to meet at the camp). She told me about the camp and told the camp people about me. Happily, that translated into becoming a presenter at the LAHC 2010.

I didn´t have a clear vision of what the camp was going to be like, but whatever that might be it was exceeded to the 'n' potent. The experience was unique and fulfilling in so many ways. One, I had never been to a camp, since there are no summer camps in Guatemala (yet!). As some of you might now because of my family´s business (English Language Schools) I grew up with more ties to the American Culture than an average Guatemalan, ie I had a subscription the World Magazine (The National Geographic kids version). There I read and saw pictures of camps and always dreamt of attending one. Now I have, and more exciting even, my kids have too! Reason number two, the opportunity to share about Guatemala, to continue giving meaning to Guatemalan Genes and its mission. It was literally a surreal experience when somebody approached me and said "Hi, I am such and such, I follow your blog and I love it". Reason number three, to see the faces of love and struggle of parents and children and know I am not alone. Our Alex, our adopted son, is going through such a rough go that sometimes hope and faith start running low and this experience was a gas stop. I do have to say, even though I know my husband hates this 'what if' comments, that if I had known about this camp and had come every year with Alex it would have made a huge impact, more so than so many therapy sessions.

The Camp happened June 24th - June 27th at the Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado (just past Winter Park). During our time in Colorado we had season passes to Winter Park so we knew the area, but I had never been during summer and again O....M.... G.....!! what a setting. Here are some pictures of the view from the main gathering facility (KIVA) and our cabin.

View from KIVA building, place of registration and main gatherings.

Our cabin, Timberline, 8 presenters and our families shared the cabin: 21 adults and children.

View from our cabin

View from our cabin

We arrived at the Camp Thursday at around 5pm, we registered and quickly went to our assigned cabin (the presenter´s cabin) to drop our bags and get ready for the welcoming dinner. The welcoming dinner is a casual gathering with abundant ingredients to make your own tacos plus already an excitement build up to what tomorrow will bring. We made our fist acquaintances: a wonderful couple, Belizean-American with and adopted daughter from Belize. We had a great conversation managing to keep any political Guatemala-Belize issues of the table :-) while the girls had a blast running and roller skating. That night back at the cabin we met our roommates and stayed up to yea hours of the night talking (more on this wonderful people in later posts).

Dinner at KIVA. You don´t see a lot of people yet sitting down because we are in line for the food!

Taco ingredients even for us vegetarians.

I went to bed pinching myself, I couldn´t believe I was part of this amazing event!