Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 6: Death and Life

Lots more pictures can be found at

We woke up in Panajachel to news of a major mud slide in Guatemala City...25 dead and hundreds missing. We had seen evidence of mud and rock slides all though our travels here, so the news was not entirely surprising...but it was entirely sad. Through the day we saw response from local communities in the form of collection of food, clothing and other necessities to help the victims.

Ann and Bev joined us in Panajachel after a brief trip to the mountain area of Comitancillo. While there assessing the maternal newborn child health requirements they were called to the home of a very poor family with nine children that were reported to be severely malnourished. Just before they arrive the youngest of the children died. Much of their time there was spent consoling the family. The incident underlined the need for the very program CAUSE Canada will be implementing.

Docks at Panajachel on Lake Atitlan
Panajachel is a beautiful and colourful town on the edge of lake Atitlan surrounded by steep hills and volcanos. Strolling through the colourful marketplace we were greeted by a parade of dancers and musicians dressed in masks and wild costumes. Their dance was a traditional parody of the historical interactions between indigenous peoples and the Spanish conquistadors. Check out our Facebook page to get sense of this fascinating event.

Overlooking Panajachel and Lake Atitlan
Street drama in Pana
The villain
Goofy nut vendor

It was a short day of cycling. We drove to a spot just 15 km from Antigua and sped along a busy, mainly downhill, pothole-paved road towards the old city. En route, traffic was being diverted from the main street of a outlying village. While cars were turned away, they removed the barriers for us cyclists. A few blocks on we ran into the cause of the detour. A marching band competition was in progress and we were literally in the midst of it as we carefully walked our bikes through the crowds and performers in six separate bands. We even joined the parade one point, dancing in step to the music. Our efforts were rewarded with wild applause from the spectators. 

A few kilometres on we rolled onto the beautiful cobblestone roads of Antigua...beautiful to the eye...but very tough on cyclists with no suspension. Tomorrow will be a much tougher day on the bikes.

We cycled into and through a marching band competition just outside Antigua!

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