Guatemala city

International Clarity: Guatemala (from Mariana)

This week’s guest author: Mariana Rodriguez

 
 

Let me introduce you to The Beautiful Land of Eternal Spring

(Guatemala)

Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, Honduras to the east and El Salvador to the southeast.

Guatemala’s abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contributes to Mesoamerica’s designation as a biodiversity hotspot.
After independence, it was ruled by a series of dictators, assisted by the United Fruit Company and the United States government. From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala underwent a civil war fought between the government and leftist rebels. Following the war, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections. In the most recent election, held in 2011, Otto Pérez Molina of the Patriotic Party won the presidency.

Education

The government runs a number of public elementary and secondary-level schools. These schools are free, though the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, and transportation makes them less accessible to the poorer segments of society and significant numbers of poor children do not attend school. Many middle and upper-class children go to private schools. The country also has one public university (USAC or Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala), and nine private ones (see List of universities in Guatemala). USAC was one of the first universities in Guatemala. It was officially declared a university on January 31, 1676 by royal command of King Charles II of Spain. Only 74.5% of the population aged 15 and over are literate, the lowest literacy rate in Central America. Although it has the lowest literacy rate, Guatemala is expected to change this within the next 20 years.  Organizations such as Child Aid, which trains teachers in villages throughout the Central Highlands region, are working to improve educational outcomes for children. Lack of training for rural teachers is one of the key contributors to the country’s low literacy rates.

Culture

Guatemala City is home to many of the nation’s libraries and museums, including the National Archives, the National Library, and the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, which has an extensive collection of Maya artifacts. There are private museums, such as the Ixchel, which focuses on textiles, and the Popol Vuh, which focuses on Maya archaeology. Both museums are housed inside the Universidad Francisco Marroquín campus. Almost each of the 329 municipalities in the country has a small museum.

Cuisine

Many traditional foods in Guatemalan cuisine are based on Maya cuisine and prominently feature corn, chilies and beans as key ingredients. There are also foods that are commonly eaten on certain days of the week. For example, it is a popular custom to eat paches (a kind of tamale made from potatoes) on Thursday. Certain dishes are also associated with special occasions, such as fiambre for All Saints Day on November 1 and tamales, which are common around Christmas.

What the People of Guatemala Really Are

Guatemala has approximately 13 million inhabitants. The western and northwestern highlands have the highest population density, while the lowlands of the Peten department are only sparsely populated.
Just over 60 percent of Guatemala’s population are of mixed Amerindian-Spanish descent. The remaining 40 percent belong to one of 23 Mayan ethnic groups, making Guatemala one of the countries with the largest indigenous populations in Latin America.
The patterns and colors of typical Mayan blouses and skirts vary from region to region and often from town to town. Traditional Mayan dress is not as prevalent among men as among women, and it is often combined with western-style hats or shirts. On holidays and special occasions dress is particularly colorful and often includes distinctive headdress.
On the day of the Virgin of Guadelupe, celebrated on December 12, children all over the country dress like their ancestors. In parts of the highlands, kids still dress like this every day — minus the mustache.
The great New YorkTimes wrote a blog about these beautiful ponds in Coban, Alta Verapaz
 

Other Wonders this Beautiful Country Offers

Tikal, Peten

Flores Island, Peten

Castillo San Felipe, Izabal

Playa Blanca, Izabal

Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepeques

Panajachel, Solola

Guatemala City

Monterrico Beach, Santa Rosa

In conclusion: Guatemalans are friendly, loyal and if you decide to visit you will feel like home J
We do have running water
Not the whole country is dangerous… just like many other countries has it good and bad places to visit.
Not all of us wear typical clothes.  Just the Indigenous people of the country.
Some videos im pretty sure you will enjoy.
And for those that understand Spanish…

From Kyle again:

If you have experience in both the U.S. and another country (for at least 3 months in each spot) and would like to write a post, email me at thedurfblog@gmail.com and I can send you more information.  Thanks!

Keep seeking truth.

You may also be interested in:
International Clarity: Mexico (from Sear Rodriguez)
International Clarity: Peru (from Hannah Cabrera)
Peru Post 10: Avoiding the Single Story

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