Category Archives: Guatemala

Glimpses of Guatemala: Tikal

You start your day early and arrive at Tikal while morning’s cool touch still covers the jungle. As you follow your guide down the dirt trails, birds greet you with their chirps and whistles. You pass the great ceiba tree, the national tree of Guatemala. If you look down, perhaps you’ll see butterflies gathered around a puddle or ants intent on a destination.

Once you reach the Grand Plaza with the two temples facing each other, you take a break as you also take in the history and scenery around you.

Then you’re off to reach Temple IV further on in the jungle. Not fully excavated, Temple IV can be climbed by wooden ladder-steps. Somehow these look safer than the steep, uneven stone steps you saw at the Grand Plaza.

Up you go, step by step. When you finally reach the very top, you sit down and look. You are above the canopy of the jungle, so nothing impedes your view. What was that deep roar? A howler monkey? You read that they can be heard 5 miles away…

As you sit there, you welcome a sense of wonder. Wonder over the beauty before your eyes. Wonder over the diversity of the animals and plants you’ve seen. Wonder over the intelligence and skill of a people who built and understood so much centuries ago. As you make your way down the wooden steps and drive to a hotel for dinner, you certainly have plenty to think about.

I have been to Tikal 22 times and there was always something to wonder over. This part of Guatemala reflects the rest of the country in that it is a place of wonder. You could say it’s wonder-full.

Baby Cheeks & Folk Medicine Practices (A Story about Cachetes)

 

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Here’s a Guatemalan baby being carried on his mother’s back. Don’t you love the colorful fabrics?

“Aw, Tía Elena, look at that baby!” Emily said. Together, aunt and niece watched the little fellow being carried through the mall.

“Those cheeks!” Tía Elena smiled. “Now we might call those cachetes.”

Emily had to grin. As a Spanish-English interpreter, her Tía Elena couldn’t help dropping in a little language lesson now and then. “Cachetes, huh?”

, and it looks like his mamá took good care of them, too.” She stopped in front of a mirror and gave a silly smile. “Kind of like mine. No sagging cheeks for me!”

Emily giggled at her aunt’s antics.

“You can laugh,” Tía Elena said, “but if my mamita had stood me up on my little baby feet too early, my cheeks might have ‘fallen’ and been saggy for life!”

Emily raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Well, that’s what Mamá thought until a doctor kindly told her not to worry about it much. And look at me now!” She gave her cheeks one last playful pat before hauling Emily off to her favorite shoe store.

That night, Emily decided to check out Tía Elena’s story. Sure enough, her smartphone delivered  the answer: her tía hadn’t made it up! Hey, this Understanding the Guatemalan Patient looks pretty cool! Maybe I could get it for Tía Elena for Christmas. She’d like it. And it would even be small enough to fit in her huge-but-almost-full purse! Emily added the book to her Amazon cart and proceeded to checkout.

Looking for a gift for a medical interpreter or a language lover? Full of interesting words and folk medicine/cultural tidbits, Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is sure to bring hours of education and fun. And with our “BOGO” (Buy-1-Get-One) special offer through midnight (CDT) on Monday, October 19, 2015, there’s even more reason to check it out today! (No coupon code required.)

 

Glimpses of Guatemala: Tecpán

When people picture Central America, many of them probably envision balmy tropical weather. However, thanks to high elevations, parts of Guatemala can be chilly, especially in the winter months. A favorite of these just-right-for-chocolate-caliente places is Tecpán.
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Located in the departamento de Chimaltenango – Guatemala has “departments” instead of “states” – Tecpán offers a rural escape from the bustle of Guatemala City near enough to make it a one-day outing. After the drive, start with brunch at a restaurant…

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…then hike the pine-lined hills, and, of course, browse the shops filled with the eye-catching Guatemalan artistry we love.DSC05131

 

 

 

 

 

You can also visit the nearby Iximché ruins or perhaps learn about the culture of the Kaqchikel Maya people. Top off your outing with a treat, like a choco-banano (a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts) if all that activity has warmed you up or enjoy a steaming cafecito. ¡Buen provecho!

 

Choco BananoAt Understanding the Guatemalan Patient, one of our goals is to help medical mission teams be better prepared to communicate with the Guatemalan people they serve. Are you heading to the mountains of Guatemala on a mission trip sometime this fall/winter or do you know someone who is? Check out Understanding the Guatemalan Patient on Amazon today! 

¡Feliz Día de la Independencia!

¡Feliz Día de la Independencia! Happy Independence Day! With everything going on in Guatemala, this is an exciting year. In honor of independence since 1821, here are the first and two final stanzas of the himno nacional. As many of you probably know, there are many verses in-between!

¡Guatemala feliz…! que tus aras 
no profane jamás el verdugo; 
ni haya esclavos que laman el yugo 
ni tiranos que escupan tu faz. 

Ave Indiana que vive en tu escudo,
paladión que protege tu suelo;
¡ojalá que remonte su vuelo,
más que el cóndor y el águila real!

 ¡Ojalá que remonte su vuelo, 
más que el cóndor y el águila real! 
y en sus alas levante hasta el cielo, 
GUATEMALA, tu nombre inmortal!

Of course, the “Ave Indiana que vive en tu escudo” is the quetzal. What a truly amazing bird! Have any of you seen one in real life?

Glimpses of Guatemala: One of the most beautiful places on earth…

One of the most beautiful places on earth

A lake surrounded by volcanoes and shaded by sunset-streaked clouds. Maybe this scene can be found around the world, but if you know Guatemala you probably know just the lake we’re talking about.

Some favorite memories of this place include breakfast on the shore surrounded by beautiful flowers under Guatemala-blue skies, playing along a “beach”, appreciating the crisp morning air after having been in the humidity-laden Petén, chatting with old friends and dreamily admiring the landscape and thinking it seemed like Hawaii. (Anyone who has actually been to Hawaii might see it differently…)

So what is the name of this place? Like we said, to those who know Guatemala it will seem simple, but perhaps not for others. Write an answer in the comment section and don’t forget to tell your favorite memories of this place! Let’s share the wonders of one of the most beautiful places on earth that happens to be in our loved Guatemala.

At Understanding the Guatemalan Patient, we want to share both the world and words of Guatemala with you. That’s why we’ve included folk medicine notes and other tidbits along with medical terms in the book. Check out some of our past “Word(s) of the Week” to get a glimpse of what you’ll find within the pages of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient,

A Taste from Guatemala: So what makes an avocado smoothie awesome?

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It all started at Las Puertas, a restaurant once located on the island of Flores in Lake Petén Itza. There they served the best smoothies – or licuados as the menu called them – in town. Along with traditional licuado flavors like melón, they offered a more exotic choice: aguacate! You read that right…avocado it was! Thanks to a Japanese friend who was living in Guatemala, this smoothie became a new favorite.

Not convinced that an avocado smoothie could be good? The idea may make American taste buds tremble, but an adventurous person like yourself will surely give it a try!

Here’s the recipe.

Awesome Avocado Smoothie

Yields: 1 generous serving

Add all of the following ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!                 

10-12 ice cubes

1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (almond milk if you prefer)

3 slices from 1/2 of an avocado

1 teaspoon vanilla

sweetener (to taste)

Everyone has their own “sweet scale”. Do what you like, but you may find that you enjoy this treat without any sweetener, especially if you have more European tastes. It’s all thanks to the final ingredient, which is…

1 teaspoon lime juice

Yes, the sweet tang of lime makes this licuado awesome! Without knowing about the lime, this smoothie would be…not the same.

Sometimes it’s like that with words, isn’t it? Knowing just the right word can really flavor up a conversation. That’s what Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is here for – to help you take your conversations with Guatemalans from adequate to awesome.

If you already own a copy, don’t forget to send us your feedback via the contact us page or post a review on Amazon. We’d love to hear from you! And for all of you spunky smoothie sippers, let us know your thoughts on the licuado de aguacate as well!