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Guatemala

I spent most of three years in Guatemala, basing myself in La Antigua. It is a strange place to live because it is a haven for the Guatemalan elite who live behind high walls surmounted by barbed wire and send their children to school accompanied by armed guards. And it is the home of a substantial expat community, Americans for the most part, who came as Peace Corp volunteers in the 1970's and later discovered considerable business acumen as hoteliers and restauranteurs profiting from the Maya peasants who insure a large and inexpensive labour pool. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and magnet for tourists who flock to her parks avid to see the Maya women in their exquisite huipiles and to buy the textiles for which they are justifiably famous. Most are unaware of the irony that, come sunset, they will steal away, for the town which needs them does not sustain them economically.

"Peace Comes Slowly". Women in La Antigua, Guatemala is a photo-essay published in August, 1998 which looks at he ongoing struggle of Maya women to achieve economic and social equity in a society which has discriminated against them since the conquest.

La Antigua is home to the most elaborate celebration of Easter outside Seville, Spain and a photographer's dream. "Bearing the Weight, Holy Week in La Antigua" is a photo essay published in The World and I in April, 2000.

The gritty village of Todos Santos in the misty Cuchumatan mountains is so different from La Antigua one might well be on another planet. Yet here in November of each year, the people also celebrate death and rebirth in the form of the Rooster Race. It is a catharsis I think of as "unholy week". a brutalizing, debilitating affair culminating in a horseback "race" that leaves whole families economically and. - because death is not uncommon - emotionally devastated.

Rooster Race: Day of the Dead in Todos Santos, Guatemala was published in November 1999 in the World & I
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Peace Comes, Slowly: Women in Antigua, Guatemala was published in World & I
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