I'm back again. It's a strange feeling and somehow Guatemala allready feels very distant. I'm going to miss it a lot, but I'm also enjoying being back in Sweden again. Thank you for joining me on my travels! Now this blog will get some rest... Over and out.


I now officially hate goodbyes. I've never been good at goodbyes, and I don't think I've ever cried saying goodbye either. "It's not goodbye it's just good night" we say in CISV, and I like that way of putting it. But those days have been to much. I'm really close to start crying right now, and I didn't even leave Cobán yet...

Monday was calm, I even had some time to read and just relax. Tuesday I went to Tactic to say goodbye to some friends there. Mothers who will keep on struggling for themselves and their kids, also when I'm gone. I sat down painting with some of the kids for a while, having a last real chat with their mother. When leaving their house the kids insisted to hold my hands while walking me to the main road. And then I had to leave them there with their mother... When I went to another friends job to say goodbye to her I got to meet her daughter for the first time. At a start the child was pretty shy, but when her mother told her I was the one who gave her the crayons and a book for painting she gave me a huge smile and an even bigger hug. And then I had to say goodbye to them as well...

Today, Wednesday, I've been cooking almost the whole day. But I started the day at the market in the centre to buy everything needed for a typical Swedish dinner... I also had time to join another friend to the prison here in Cobán where one of her best friends has spent his last months, waiting. He is accused for a murder on a person who some people claim is still alive... And then I had to say goodbye to them too...

The hardest part is to answer the question "But when will you come back to Guatemala again?". Today I even had to tell one friend not to ask me that question. I'm sorry, but I really don't know if I'll ever come back. Or, I know I have to, but I don't have a clue about when that will be. 

When a seventeen year old girl, who almost has got no money at all, comes to you in a silent mode, asking again when you'll come back, giving you two pairs of beautiful earrings that she bought for you at the market earlier that day, showing with her whole body that she doesn't want to leave your room and then gives you the biggest hug ever before leaving, how do you react? How do you feel? What do you do? I my self can just try not to show how my stomac hurts and how badly I just want to stay with those beautiful people.

For those of you who might wonder, the dinner was great. The whole big "family" here, sixteen people, where gathered to eat meatballs, potatoes, beetroots, dark bread and strawberry cake. It was really nice, and still I'm the worst when it comes to the goodbye-and-thanks-for-everything-part.

Well tomorrow I'm off. Three days of travels until I'm back in Skåne. If I don't miss the plane at one of my transits in the States... Starting with bus to Guatemala City tomorrow. To make some more goodbyes, leaving a very caring Guatemalan family and one of my very best friends and role models here... If someone is interested in more news from Guatemala in Swedish just tell me, because this friend will stay here as a peace observer for one year and she'll send out very interesting reports every once in a while!

Well well, time to go to bed I guess... I'll be sad tomorrow and it will be a long trip back to Sweden, but at least I know I have a bunch of beautiful people awaiting me there as well. I apreciate you all so much! (And that includes all of you reading this blog, caring about my views, even if you happen to be far away from Sweden...)

Do you notice that I can't even take a proper goodbye here? Well, untill next time! Thank you. Good night.


So, I guess I've started the real countdown for my last days here in Cobán and Guatemala. Today was my last Sunday here (at least for this year...) and I've had a great day! I've been eating cake, laughing a lot and I also had time to listen to a liveband in the shopping mall (you know the German mall looking like a big church...). Since Rosa, la ama de mi casa, and probably my best friend here, has her only day "off" (still preparing three meals...) on Sundays we had to use it well!

It somehow feels very strange to leave Guatemala again, third time leaving now not knowing if I'll ever come back. And I'm very bad at goodbyes, I prefer saying "See you again!". And I hope I will, but I can't be sure. And this time I will leave some really good friends here, friends that will never have an opportunity to visit me like I've been visiting them. But I'm so greatful for all the beautiful people that I have got to know here, and I know they've all changed me a bit, hopefully for the better ;)

Da gang! Maria, Rosa, Hector and Gudelia. All up for some cake!

Maria, the youngest sister (out of seven).


Hector, the youngest out of fourteen siblings, enjoying his "tres leches".


Me, about to get high on sugar...


Querida Rosa, gonna miss you so much!

Felix, look! No hands! I know it's not heavy, but at least I'm carrying SOMETHING on my head... In Guatemala.

Lago Atitlán

I'm back! Back in Cobán and back to my computer... I've had one week of wonderful vacations, well spent. I started up with a birthday party in the capital (about four hours in the children's part of Pizza Hut...). Followed by a shorter stop in Antigua to meet up with some wonderful friends, and thereafter with chickenbus to my favourite spot in this country, Lago Atitlán.

Lago Atitlán, or Lake Atitlan in English, is a beautiful place in many ways. First of all it's situated on about 1500 meters above sea level and surrounded by volcanos. The history of the lake is interesting in itself since it was shaped after an volcanic eruption about 84,000 years ago. They say that the eruption was so strong it sent ashes all the way to the United States and to Panama... The lake is also surrounded by different Mayan villages, some more turistic than others, and there is a lot of culture and old traditions preserved. But, for me, Lago Atitlán is also a beutiful spot in Guatemala because of it's quietness. You can actually go here to listen to the nature, to look at the calm waters and enjoy the ravishing view of the volcanoes.

It's been great to have time for some tourism, to be able to relax, enjoy, meet friends and just to be. But at the same time it's hard. As one of my best friends said (she's now here for one year working as a peace observer): "It's hard to be a tourist here among all those people that I normally work with." Because the poverty, the inequality and most of all, our own power and powerlessness might get even more clear in a small touristic town. And all we can do is to be friendly to the people we meet. Maybe give the begger a coin or two, maybe buy a bracelet from the small Mayan woman, but we can't change the reality here and we have to learn how to live our lives in those strange parallell worlds.

But I had a great time, really did! Thanks Katta, Esteban, Lisa and Elin for joining me! It would be so nice if we could do it all over again! And now I really feel that I could start to prepare my self to go back home again. To face a new/old reality and to start processing all the things I've learned here. Just one week left now to finnish it all up!

Now, just sit back and enjoy some photos...

Lisa and Elin. On our way to the lake in the 2nd chickenbus (Elin just discovered she got robbed on the first bus, wallet and creditcard gone...)

Esteban and me, just realizing the Guatemalan busses are NOT made for tall people (I mean, taller than me...).

The centre of Sololá 20 minutes from the lake. You'll hopefully be able to see the beautiful pants and skirts (!) the men wear...

The Lake.

Colours by the lake. In a few hours there will be vendors here, trying to sell their handycraft to bypassing tourists.

Lakeview. In the early morning, before boats and turists arrive.

Katta and one of all street dogs enjoying the morning sun.

And so did I.

¡Se fue la luz otra vez!

It's raining again. This time very heavy. The combination of heavy rain and sheet metal roofs is making it almost impossible to have a normal conversation. The rainy season in Guatemala has started. It's been raining for almost two weeks now, a couple of hours every day, sometimes the whole day. But from the other two rainy seasons I've spent here I can't recall it to be this heavy ("fuerte" in Spanish, can't really find a good word in English, neither in Swedish...), but they say it's because of the climate changes...

"The light went away again!" is what they say when the electricity goes away. Normally it's connected to the heavy rains. I found it hard to understand the expression first, but in a country where most people don't have electric cookers and where other electronic equipment is very limited it's logical to talk about the light going away. No one here talks about electricity.

This time the light went away in the evening, just before the sunset. Soon it was all dark both inside and outside and only the frequent lightnings (and the shopping mall with the huge McDonald's M that never seems to be out of anything) gave us some light on and off. "¡Ya viene la luz!" ("The light is back!") Rosa said happily, lightening a candle in the citchen to be able to prepare the dinner.

Now the light is back again and the floor in my room reminds me of a private swimming pool. But we live in a good house. We notice the loss of electricity because we have access to it. And I notice the water leaking in to my room because I actually have good walls and windows surrounding me. A big part of Guatemala doesn't. First year when I was here, in 2005, a whole village just dissapeared in te heavy rains. It rains a lot up in the highlands and around the more volcanic parts of the country, and that's also where the poor Mayan people have their homes and grow their crops. Guess who (again) are the most exposed in this country?

But any way. I've been here for almost eight weeks now, only two and a half more to go. So it's really time for me to go on vacations, don't you think? Tomorrow I leave for a birthday party in Guatemala City, after that I'll go to some other turistic, but beautiful and interesting places, trying to stay away from flu and heavy rains. Hopefully together with some really nice people! Wish me luck!

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