July 2006

Dear all --

YIKES !!!! It’s July already!!! I usually get this out to you by late spring, but, oh well, why even bother with all my good excuses. I spent the time updating our catalog, trying to get my yard in shape (a never ending project), and then, oh yes, there’s those two kidlets. I thought they’d take less time as they grew older. WRONG !! It’s end of school year events, soccer games with Tommy, tooth pulled for Joey, and who knows what else. I also wanted to add a few new classes and itineraries to the 2007 schedule as promised, for you faithful souls who keep coming back to Guatemala year after year.

I’ve sent a few groups (the weaving sequel and a few photo classes) up into the Quetzaltenango (Xela) area, but have wanted to branch out even more. So Steve Northup will take our Adventure Travel Photography class into the Ixil Triangle, way up in the Quiche. They’ve paved the roads, and even built a few nice hotels, since I was last there in ‘97 with our photo class and instructor Jon Kaplan. It reminded me of Nepal, one of my other favorite countries. What an adventure !!! Just as it should be.

Karen Searle and I finally put together a third itinerary for you weaving aficionados – the Lakes Villages Tour. Doesn’t five nites up at the Posada Santiago (instead of the usual two) sound like fun !!! Also, I’m offering two classes with new instructor Cynthia Padilla. A botanical painting and one called Painted Blessings – learning the folk art of painting retablos and ex votos. It sounds really fun to me and very ‘latino’. (Cynthia’s family is from Honduras.) Think about joining us this fall for that one !!

2005 was a good year for business. We had 56 folks come to Guatemala, many repeats and every single one of you a great addition to what I do feel like is our ever expanding family. Poor Guatemala suffered natural disasters, though, like so many other places in the world. The mudslides swallowed Panabaj, just a 10 minute walk from the Posada. I know many of you responded to that disaster. Lidia’s family asked me to help put their kids thru school. No, wait a minute, now that I think of it, Sindy was not in school and I asked why. When the issue was money I said I’d see what I could do about that, and have been giving them money for school costs ever since. Along with help from a few other folks, I am also helping two other families in Antigua with food, medicine and school costs. My friend Nancy McGirr’s fotokids project is doing well and just bought the building their school is in – which I think is a great move for the long haul.

So, there’s our update. We send our best regards and warm thoughts to all of you who have joined us, and become friends, over these past years. I hope you are doing well, and, in all you do que le vaya bien. Spread the word and come see us again in Guatemala !!

Abracos grande de Liza, Jessenia and my ever active Tommy boy,