Sunday, January 21, 2007

Two Hikes (+photos)

Here are ten photos from a couple of hikes I took in Guatemala. The first photos were taken in the jungle at Biotopo Cerro Cahui, which is in the protected Mayan Biosphere Reserve. My eight year old nephew says that it looks like I am sitting in a dinosaur´s foot in one of these pictures. The monkeys sounded like dinosaurs, too, although I can´t say as I have actually heard a dinasaur. The next photos are from Volcán de Pacaya, an active volcano near Guatemala City. Some of the lava rocks I saw were deposited two days ago.

Status Report

I want to metion how things are going in Guatemala with regards to The Water Project. This is on the personal level, and a week from now, not to mention a month from now, this might seem completely out of date.

Fun with pastels I have been staying in Antigua lately, and it is easy to get lost here. An amazing person, who runs a community center that grows leaders who can organize to obtain government funding for projects in their communities, loaned me a CD of children´s art, and I can´t find his place to return it. That may be because he doesn´t put a sign outside of his door, which may be because the good work he is doing could possibly get him killed. So if his center isn´t open it is hard to find.

Lots of shops are like that, not because of subversive activities, rather because of the colonial history and architecture. Closed doors obscure what you thought were landmarks. It makes every day in the same ten square blocks an adventure. And it serves as a metaphor for my process. I wander around, meeting great people, sometimes making excellent connections, and sometimes getting lost.

I have met wonderful people including artists, and friends of artists. I am also helping a lovely Mayan couple get a website started for their work in sacred relationship with the earth and other Mayan messages for the world. I meet a lot of Guatemalans as well as foreigners who think The Water Project is cool.

So far, though the precise path forward is a bit obscured. My guidance tells me all is well. The seeds are planted and will grow in their time. I sit with this and trust the organic nature of the project to bring forth just the right people who are truly in communion with this work. My hunch is that the community is back up north, in El Petén. We will see...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More Good News

A close friend has sent a financial donation toward my work with The Water Project, the first from a non-family member. Thank you, Dear One!!

Another wonderful friend had offered financial support when she saw the initial version of the concept paper in October. I was not ready to receive at that time, but have since learned the answer: "Yes, thank you! Is there anything specific you had in mind for this donation?"

Bit by bit the learning comes, all in support of the project, and my incredible happiness in getting to develop it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Visit to Tikal, Mayan Ruins (+photos)

Guard at Tikal I visited Tikal yesterday, a famous park that preserves a set of gigantic Mayan ruins. Here are my photos.

I have seen a lot in my nearly 42 years, and came with a ho-hum attitude. At first, on this rainy morning, the climb to the top of Templo IV, Temple 4, was indeed disappointing. Everyone had told me how great it would be, but it seemed like a stack of rocks to me, and besides, I couldn´t get any good photos with all that mist. They are restoring Templo IV, a process which will take many years, and there was only a small area where you could even sit.

I have been working with a book about creating your reality, "Ask and It Is Given," (Abraham-Hicks) and it teaches about how thought and emotions create our experiences. I decided to practice in this moment, and see if I could turn what felt dull into something, well, better. (You may want to practice this in an amazing place like Tikal for best results... ;-)

I started by looking for something interesting in my immediate proximity. There was a security guard, so I asked if I could take his photo. He seemed flattered, and shyly shared with me that he had been a guard at Tikal for seven years. He told me he lives 80 kilometers away (about 50 miles). It is costly to commute, say 30 quetzales (around $4.00) for the bus, so he goes home to his family every other night, staying overnight in the park otherwise. I said it must be in his heart now, his blood, this place. With touching emotion he said yes, Tikal is a part of him. He is pictured above.

Sending rocks to Templo IVCheered up by our interaction, I descended the steep steps in pursuit of my next story. I wandered around the side of the temple, and found another area of men working, willing to be photographed. This time they were setting up to bring rocks and water to the guys at the top. What did they use for this feat? A cable system invented by one of the restorers, powered by... well, just take a look.

The rest of the day went extremely well: peaceful, delightful and fulfilling. I now feel that Tikal is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. I honestly don´t know if it is because I decided to change my inner world, or if the outer world would have come to greet me anyway.

The Water Project (+paper)

My father pointed out that it has become difficult to get to the paper describing The Water Project´s concept, design, and status. From now on, at least until there is a website, versions of that paper will be available here:

Images from Antigua and El Remate; News from India (+photos)

Images from Antigua and El Remate, Guatemala Here are eleven photos showing Antigua, some drawings, and El Remate in El Petén, Guatemala, where I continue with The Water Project. I have a new camera, and aspire to the greatness of Terry´s photography... this will take practice!

While in Antigua, I heard from Santhan, the sculptor in India. He said that he would like to join The Water Project, and details are forthcoming. I really felt that Santhan was the art lead for India, yet we both needed to consider it carefully. I am utterly thrilled! Santhan is the first confirmed artist for the project. I am going forward with plans for a return trip to India in February.

Here in Guatemala things go poco a poco. Moments, people, conversations, and Lago de Petén Itzá itself, a lake I am swimming in daily, have given hope and inspiration. More on that when it is time to share...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

All Is Well in Guatemala

I am delighted to report that my luggage arrived intact, my health is good, and on New Year's Eve Day I found some quetzales. They were hiding at a bank machine in a mall in Zone 4 of Guatemala City. Today I am visiting the Modern Art museum here. Starting tomorrow I plan to spend a few days in Antigua, after which I will head to the north of the country, to El Petén. This is the general area I found myself most drawn to when reading about Guatemala. Then a wise and beloved teacher, Eve Soldinger, urged me to spend time there, which affirms my sense of things. I have a digital camera now, so I will post photos soon.