Thursday, 23 October 2014

Giant Kites in Guatemala

Día de los Muertos, Santiago Sacatepéquez
On November 1st of every year the people of both Santiago Sacatepéquez, and Sumpango, Guatemala, put together giant kites to fly during the Day of the Dead during the All Saints Day Kite Festival.
The vibrantly colored designs on the kites, made of cloth and paper with bamboo frames, depict religious or folkloric themes and they are flown in the nearby Sacatepéquez cemetery to honor the dead. The locals in this small municipality dress up in colorful clothing and head to the cemetery to spend the day cleaning up the graves and decorating them with flowers while they have picnics right next to their departed family members.
Traditionally, the building of the kites takes 40 days, the first day marked by the village's unmarried men heading out to the coast at 4:00 am to laboriously collect bamboo for the kite frames. Every part of the kite is made using nature's bounty; the glue is a mixture of yucca flower, lemon peel, and water, ropes are made of the maguey plant (the plant that also brings us tequila), and the tales are made from woven cloth.
The practice of flying colorful kites during the Day of the Dead celebrations has been around for 3,000 years and is recognized by various religious sects, and locals believe it is a tool for communicating with the beyond

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Journey of an Old School Bus

If you have ever traveled in Guatemala you have no doubt seen the colorful “pimped” old school buses that will take you to the most remote corners of the country. Now there’s an interesting documentary on how those old school busses make it down, all the way from the US to Guatemala, and why they are as colorful as they are.

Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses leave the United States on a southward migration that carries them to Guatemala, where they are repaired, repainted, and resurrected as the brightly-colored camionetas that bring the vast majority of Guatemalans to work each day. Since 2006, nearly 1,000 camioneta drivers and fare-collectors have been murdered for either refusing or being unable to pay the extortion money demanded by local Guatemalan gangs. LA CAMIONETA follows one such bus on its transformative journey: a journey between North and South, between life and death, and through an unfolding collection of moments, people, and places that serve to quietly remind us of the interconnected worlds in which we live.

For more information, visit the website