Monday, May 6, 2013

Last Sunday

Last Sunday (April 28) was our last Sunday at our church is Santiago.

It was special for a number of reasons.  First of all there was a wedding.  Not just a wedding, but also because the husband to be, was not catholic he received his baptism, first communion, confirmation before the being married.  It was also special as our priest gave a blessing and thanks to us and another volunteer family (The Smiths) for our time in Santiago Atitlan.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


All of our recyclable paper and cardboard goes to Adisa, the school and workshop for developmentally challenged individuals. They make many products from recycled paper and cardboard that are sold on

There is a truck that comes around and buys all things metal. We give our food cans and aluminum cans to one of the older women who has a store on the main road and she receives the proceeds from that.

For the first 2 years we were here there was no recycling locally for glass or plastic. We would save it up and take it to Antigua (2 ½ hours from here) once or twice a year. We don’t have that much plastic and glass recycling as we make most things from scratch and can’t buy a lot of things in bottles. However, now there is a local place that accepts recycling called Punto Verde (Green Point). This has made recycling much more convenient.

Corn is the staple food in Guatemala and can grow anywhere….. Even in the drainage ditch on the side of the road.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Eco Bricks

Trash is a problem all over the world, but when we first moved to Guatemala we were really struck by the amount of trash everywhere. That is when we learned about Eco bricks. Eco bricks are made from plastic drink bottles stuffed with trash. Since we rarely buy a drink in a plastic bottle, we started looking for bottles on the ground while we were walking back and forth to town. Then we started stuffing bottles.

We stuff all trash that is not compostable or recyclable. If you use a stick to push the trash down in the bottle, we found that we could fit a whole cereal bag full of trash in one bottle. We’ve found that wide mouth bottles are easier to stuff and pick up those up preferentially. Since we compost even our toilet paper, recycle everything recyclable, and stuff bottles, we only have a small cereal bag size of trash every 2-3 months!

The Eco bricks are then used in place of cement blocks or other building materials to build things. A
frame of wood is made and chicken wire attached to both sides. The stuffed bottles are then slipped between the chicken wire. They can be used with the bottles showing to make things like garbage cans that don’t need to be sealed or they can be covered by cement for a home. Recently a school in a town nearby was collecting them to make a playground and a local school garden project took some to make some benches in the garden.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Holy Thursday

Although Easter has passed, I wanted to write about my favorite Mass of the year in Guatemala. It is the Holy Thursday Mass. It is outdoors at 5pm in the square of the Church with at least a thousand people present. During the Mass, one can see majestic Volcan San Pedro and the sky changing colors as the sun sets.
Each year the priest has had the same message. Holy Thursday is the commemoration of Christ giving us three gifts… his love for us, the Eucharist, and the priesthood. Each year I’ve thought that was a simple, true summary of what we celebrate on Holy Thursday.