Saturday, March 30, 2013

Home again, Hippity Hop

In the midst of reverse culture shock, not sure where to begin. Why not plants?
Blooming Beauty high atop the mountains AND dust amidst a dry season compounded by Climate Change.
Appropriate for Easter...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Climate Change in Gutemala

So here we are in the "developing world," in a country with far less means than the US...the other day, one of the two newspapers had a big spread about the impact of Climate Change. It discussed which regions in Guatemala  would become far more dry in the future. Here, the question of water and land accessibility already impacts who can eat enough and who is malnourished (52% of the country and in the region AFOPADI works, between 72 and 82% of the Indigenous are malnourished according to a recent AFOPADI study), so you can imagine the negative repercussions from less rain and all the impacts that follow.
Where AFOPADI works (and SSG supports), the dry season is normally from November through April. This past year, the dry season began in Chicago, we had a severe drought so, who knows how we are all connected. Anyway, I have been visiting this area since 2005 and I have never encountered such intense heat here. People imagine that extra month of the dry season intensified the heat. By late morning, it´s been too hot to be out in the sun for more than a few minutes until the wind sweeps in mid-afternoon and it´s bearable. People plan their day around the heat, leaving for market early and returning so they avoid the mid-day sun. The rains normally begin in May and the Mayan ceremonies include this as part of their annual, seasonal rituals...I wish we had more integration with the land and the seasons and the weather in the US.
The area where AFOPADI works has such poor land that only the Indigenous migrant workers farm it because they have nowhere else to grow subsistance crops. Through AFOPADI permaculture practices (compost, terracing, avoiding monocultures and chemicals), yields are improved, but people still don´t own enough land to support the nutritional needs of their families. Around here, advocating for land reform can still get you killed. Just last week one leader from Platforma Agraria was kidnapped, tortured and assassinated. Another was kidnapped. This is all happening just as Guatemala is making History in terms of its past governmental and military use of Genocide. The former President during the early 1980s, Rios-Montt, is finally being brought to trail after eleven years of the cases being brought against him. He presided over the government during the worst years of the genocide against the Indigenous. There is much documentation of the atrocities during the 30-year-war that began after the CIA coup against the democratically-elected, Socialist President, Arbenz in 1954. Even though it is likely Rios-Montt will not be convicted, it´s amazing that the proceedings were broadcast over the Internet.
Yes, to more transparency! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hi from Guatemala

High heat, dry season began a month early...Climate Change possibly.
High poverty.
High inspiration from AFOPADI, step by step positive change.
High gratitude for all of it, especially teas from medicinal plants in the garden.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Reflective Art by Rita Stern Milch

While in LA, I bought this golden (in more ways than one) painting by Rita Stern Milch at rumba. I have known Rita and her art for many years; this move to abstraction was quite a switch from her many decades of representational portraits and landscapes. Of course, my better half says I am a sucker for blobs, quote/unquote!
But really, I find that this painting has enormous depth both intellectually and emotionally. Not to mention being beautiful. I unpacked it and put it on this table at home temporarily, but I like its location because it reflects reflected northern light. And with each shift of the light, the painting reveals different layers, different personalities. I didn't even notice the strips of paper collage until I got it home.
This is a piece of art I know I can live with for a long time...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Changing Light

No, I have not dropped off the planet. In fact, I noticed this image recently: it's light reflected into the north-facing window of my office, bounced off the neighbor's window. Spring is on its merry way.

Yes, I am soon on my hopefully merry way for my annual non-profit site visit to Guatemala. Lots of preparation for AFOPADI, Earthways & SSG, not to mention client design deadlines. Always grateful for a full life.