I am a French Canadian living in Guatemala, but currently weekending in Honduras, reading a British news site about the death of a Pakistani politician who was assassinated by her own countrymen or Saudi Arabs based in Afghanistan who used to be funded by the American CIA.


Midnight Clear

This was our Christmas Eve moon. We saw it rise over the mountains as we got home from a Christmas program at church (we left early as it started 1 hour late). We ate some traditional Christmas food (lentil-chicken wraps), opened some gifts from my old school in Spruce Grove, and then watched 2 Wonder Years Christmas episodes.

The local bars kept us awake (some, we were pretty tired) with loud music and other neighbours had firecrackers and gunshots going into the early hours of the morning.

Acadia woke us up this Christmas.

I'm currently waiting for Blaise to finish bathing so we can get to the rest of the presents. I have 3 DVDs under our little tree. I've already opened some new underwear and a Macworld magazine. Blaise has to bathe because he has scabies and so we have to cover his little body with poison at night and wash him good in the mornings.

April, Amber's sister, is here for the holidays. We picked her up from Guatemala City on Saturday. It's good to have some family with us this year - especially one who will help with the diaper changes and dishes ;)

¡Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas!


Game 7: Oilers vs. Flyers

After waiting 9 days of patiently downloading 160 MB each day, my iTunes purchase arrived: 1987 Stanley Cup Final - Game 7 - Philadelphia Flyers vs. Edmonton Oilers.

I was in grade 5 and a new fan to hockey. My favorite players were (and continue to be)
  • Glenn Anderson (9)
  • Esa Tikkanen (10)
  • Craig MacTavish (14)
  • Grant Fuhr (31)
  • Kevin Lowe (4)
  • Craig Muni (28)
  • Jari Kurri (17)
I haven't as into hockey since the core of this Oilers team disbanded over the following years. Watching them play again was quite a trip. The game is completely different today. Back then it was wide open and the passing and skating was incredible. They almost always carried the puck into the zone, only dumping it in when there was a line change.

Aside from the thrill of seeing the amazing plays by the Oilers and the great saves by Ron Hextall of the Flyers (he won the Conn Smyth even though the Flyers lost the Cup), it was interesting to watch from a historical perspective. The fans were pretty unruly and ignorant throughout most of the game too. They booed Hextall when he got the Conn Smyth. They threw garbage on the ice frequently throughout the game. The worst came at the end. When the cup was presented to captain Wayne Gretzky a bunch of Edmonton fans already flooded the ice - tugging at the cup and at the players. It completely ruined the moment for the players and you can read their lips as they yell at the fans to leave the ice. After watching that, I can't blame Gretzky for moving to L.A. a year later.


with my eyes . . .

I spent the past week delivering and installing stoves in the communities of Chicoy, Mocohán, and Purulhá. Throughout the week, I kept my eyes open to the surreal adventures at every turn.

. . . I see a street still blocked by a landslide five months old. There's not much money in Purulhá and so a clean up just may not happen for a few years.

. . . I see a woman nursing her toddler while seated on the ground under a tree in her yard. She looks exhausted.

. . . I see a tractor trailer surrounded by emergency vehicles and non-emergency vehicles. There are cans of cola everywhere. A big mess.

. . . I see down into the stovepipe into a kitchen that will no longer be filled with smoke. I get to cut lots of holes in people's roofs and then I get to seal the pipe with instant gasket silicon.

. . . I see bright pink flowers in the trees as I drive home crossing the departmental lines between Baja Verapaz and Alta Verapaz.

. . . I see a dead piglet still tethered in its yard. Its feet are almost pointed straight up.

. . . I see brilliant white cliffs on the mountain that walls in Mocohán; the clear blue and the textured green.

. . . I see fast fading photos of a recently deceased father. The photos are in a frame with broken glass. The man is in his army uniform and he's firing a machine gun.

. . . I see women quickly put their weaving down to show me how they've set up their stoves. I'm sure they are grateful for the interruption. The weaving itself is always bright, though I see a girl weaving on black for the first time.

. . . I see black cobwebs hanging from low rafters. They are thickly covered in soot as are the rafters and aluminum sheets composing the roof.

. . . I see sunrays exposing dust and smoke in a kitchen.

. . . I see a widow smile. She's ecstatic about getting her new stove. She's torn apart where she used to cook and she gratefully presents me and my helper with a glass of juice.

. . . I see an outhouse all alone in a field. There isn't much of a door. There isn't a door. Who am I fooling?

. . . I see cheap china piled on a wooden shelf in a kitchen where I'm working. I'm sure the family saved up to buy these pieces over time because many of them don't match.

. . . I see a rather stout woman lathering herself as she wears only her corte (traditional skirt). She doesn't care that I'm walking right in front of her on the path. I don't stare.

. . . I see a pot of madly boiling maiz in a blackened pot over an open fire.

. . . I see chickens and chicks scratching around inside a kitchen. I restrain myself from telling the family how unsanitary this is. I guess I don't want to tell them because my assumption is that their assumption is that I could be arrogant and bossy.

. . . I see a modestly beautiful garden. The mom and a few children are weeding while I'm there. It's the mint that really catches my eye. They call it "hierba buena" (good herb) and use it in soups.

. . . I see a mother pulling up her child's pants on the side of the road. It's refreshing to note that it isn't a man urinating on the side of the road facing me this time.

. . . I see a baby girl with Down sydrome. I can only pray that her life will not be defined by abuse. She is a sweet and happy baby while she is in front of my lenses.


Movie News!

Peter Jackson is going to make The Hobbit. How awesome is that? There had been a dispute that is now resolved between Jackson and New Line Cinema. What is a little confusing is the fact that they are making 2 movies from the 1 book that is 1/3 of the size of one of The Lord of the Rings books (which are in fact 6 books put in 3 volumes). They should have made 6 movies for The Lord of the Rings. The One Ring reports too.

In other movie news, I rented 5 movies on DVD for 5 nights from a store in Cobán (30 minutes away). I've hesitated renting from there because I don't go too often and I don't want to get slammed with their heavy fines. You can keep the movies for as many days as the number of films you rent and they actually have a pretty decent selection. You can see which ones on my movie review blog. (I'm finishing the last one tonight withe Amber: The Secret Life of Words)

To Complete Exhaustion

We delivered 25 stoves today in Chicoy, Mocohan, and Purulhá. I was proud when we delivered 14 stoves in one day on December 7. Each stoves weighs in at 700 lbs (320 kg) and it comes in 30 pieces (some very large, some tiny). We got a late start because my hired pick-up truck delayed me so long I looked for another. So from 9:20 am through til 5:15 pm I worked loading and unloading with a couple guys without a break for lunch.

I haven't felt so tired in a long long time. Almost every part of my body is sore and I could barely pick my 2 1/2 year old son up tonight. My fingertips hurt, so I'll stop now.


ups, downs, and straight across

We install the stovepipe in this woman's home. While I am working though, it is like working over a campfire because she has her old fire going and the new stove lit too. But she only has one stovepipe attached and no hole in the roof. What is funny is that the cap for the chimney is on the stove, so the stove looks installed, but completely indoors.

We get the hole in the aluminum roof and seal it off with silicon and she insists we have a coffee and sweetbread. I ask my little helper José to take my picture because I don't have any pictures of me installing a stove. This is as close as I've got for now.

This family lives 1/2 way up the mountain and the view is incredible. It's dusk and the sun is very bright in the west.

I look down and I can see where we transported a stove (all 700 lbs). Normally, we leave it to the family to do this as we don't have time to do all their work and they get more of a sense of ownership is they do it themselves. The family at the end of this path isn't home for one. Secondly, the family consists of an elderly aunt and her two young orphans.

I check into that very home the next day and all the pieces are still there and so are the two kids. The girl tells me that the aunt doesn't want the stove. She wants a bigger one. (ha ha ha). (this family is destitute, with barely enough money to eat). (they also don't speak the local language nor Spanish very well, but rather Q'eqchí, so the aunt didn't understand much during the training session).

This is what they currently cook on. I do my spiel and convince the two kids who I hope will persuade their aunt who is out working. I add too that they don't have to pay for the stove. . . this is a real selling point I think.


Greek to me

alpha beta gamma delta epsilon zeta eta theta iota kappa lamda mu nu xi omicron pi rho sigma tau upsilon phi chi psi omega

I'm trying to learn Greek. Not modern Greek. Greek of antiquity. I'm trying to gain an understanding of it so that I can ultimately read the New Testament in its original language. We'll see.

So far it's pretty tough, but I can effectively read it out loud, albeit in a rudimentary way (I have yet to learn all the accents and vowel combinations). I can recognize some words too like adelphous (brothers, as in phil-adelphia).

I've made some neat discoveries too. The tribe of Judah in Israel is the same word as Judas. I wonder why they decided to write it as Judah? And the first word of the New Testament is Biblos.

62 Stoves

My recent days are dominated with identifying needy families to receive the gift of a stove, the training of how to use, care for, and install the stove, the order and delivery of the stoves, and ultimately the door-to-door delivery of the stoves and the installation. Once the stoves are installed I still need to photograph them and write the thank you letters to the donors (you can be a donor too!).

It's been a saga! I'll skip the boring details of having to do half the training myself because HELPS International did not effectively communicate with me or the fact that the truck going to pick up the stoves in Chiquimula was delayed on the highway because of a tractor trailer crash that stopped traffic for 6 hours on one of Guatemala's busiest highways (single lane nonetheless) thus ruining all the plans I had for unloading the truck in daylight that same day. Ah! My suffering!!

Each ONIL stove is put together with 11 concrete blocks (35 lbs each), 3 large cement pieces (230 lbs), 8 piece iron griddle (40 lbs) with a tool to remove the pieces, 8 ceramic tiles for the combustion unit, 2 metal interior pieces, 6 part stove pipe unit, two small wooden wedges to keep it steady and a tiny envelope with incidental wires and nails.

After the lengthy and exhausting process of unloading the 62 stoves (not the 682 concrete blocks - we make those locally), I get to deliver the stoves to each home - mainly so that I can know exactly where the house is, ensure that the stove is properly installed and get photos. The homes are scattered among 6 buroughs in Tactic (29 stoves) and 6 far flung villages (33 stoves).

I find myself with 3 unsolicited yet motivated helpers. The smallest offers his services first. He's 10. I agree thinking he can help load and unload the incidental pieces (the light ones) and I can pay him a little for that. He goes directly for the 140 lb concrete piece. Then his two cousins show up mid morning wanting to tag along. Hmmmm.

So we deliver 9 stoves yesterday morning and I dismiss the lads for the afternoon as I know there will be plenty of help in the village I'm going to and the regular workers where the stoves are stored always help load the hired pick-up.

We barely make 2 trips to San Antonio Panec as the hill is very steep and the vintage Toyota 1/2 ton has trouble climbing the mountain with either of the loads (2100 lbs and 1400 lbs respectively). We have to unload some blocks at the bottom and come back for them each time. I try phoning 3 of the recipients but I get giggling women at the other end, so my plan is thwarted once again. 2 families aren't home, but we leave the stoves anyhow.

The chauffeur picks passengers up on the way back to Tactic earning more income. He drops them off in the centre of town and asks if it's cool if he loads up some produce for his next trip before dropping me off 1/2 a km down the highway. Sure.

I watch resignedly as 2 young guys toss 300 cabbages from 1 pick up to ours for 45 minutes.

I spend some of that time waiting in the cab and staring at some of the bling hanging from his rear-view mirror and listening to the radio. The radio in this country really deserves its own blog post.

I should mention that it is unusually hot this day. Amber helps me out with some aloe vera (savila in Spanish).


Die Duck Die

Blaise's stuffed toy duck used to say a prayer when you squeezed it's foot. The voice is a scary child's voice, half whispering. Sometimes in English. Sometimes in French.

Amber washed the duck. Now, when you squeeze it's foot, nothing happens. But every now and again, the duck comes alive and just starts praying. On it's own. Without provocation. At 10:45 tonight, from Blaise's room we heard Now I lay me down to sleep . . .

I snuck into the room. Found the duck. And threw him outside.

Say your prayers ducky!!


Guatemalan Canadian Bank Note

I happened to glance at one of the new one Quetzal polymer bills on my desk this morning and was very surprised to see "CANADIAN BANK NOTE" printed on the bottom left corner of the front of the bill.

I did a quick search and discovered that the Canadian Bank Note Company does a lot of production of international secure documents ranging from currencies, passports, postage stamps, and various licences, certificates and tickets. I remember now that when I was in Ukraine in 1993 we were using a Canadian printed temporary currency called the Coupon.


World AIDS Day - December 1

Extend your hand to help the millions of children orphaned by AIDS and those afflicted with the disease itself.
World AIDS Day site offers an opportunity to give
World Vision has many excellent programs reaching AIDS orphans around the world
Seed of Hope where my buddy Carl works in South Africa is right in the middle of the epidemic
I ordered a book called The Skeptics Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis a couple months ago, not because I was a skeptic, but rather just to be more informed so that I could inform others with some degree of authority. A couple stats stung me:
the life expectancy in Botswana, Africa dropped from 65 years to 40 within 15 years

every day 1,500 additional children are infected with HIV

by 2010, it is estimated that there will be 25,000,000 AIDS orphans in the world
I choose to do something about it.

Choked Back

Two weeks ago my ISP knocked on my door and explained that because he had taken on new clients, he was going to have to limit my internet consumption to 250 MB/day. He said that up until now, for the 18 months that I had been 'enjoying' the service, I had not had any limits while others had been locked down to 100 MB/day. He said that on occasion I pushed 1 GB and even went over 1 GB once.

Now, when I go over my limit my internet service dies for about 20 hours. This happened a couple Sundays ago. I was sad.

So I got me a little net monitor to make sure that never happens again. I've been maintaining about 100 MB/day (up and downloads combined). Blogging, emailing, shopping, facebooking, downloading software updates, maintaining zaakistan.com, getting podcasts (a big consumer of bandwidth), and getting The Office episode every week (if it ever resumes), and reading other people's blogs now has to be done carefully. With bridled restraint.

It hurtses.



Basically, I suck. Of a list of 100 most popular books (must be of Canadians for all the Canadian authors in the list), I've read 18 of them. Amber on the other hand has read 32 of them.

There are a couple reasons I suck: I read really really really really slowly and the other reason is that I do mindnumbing stuff like playing "The Never-Ending Movie Quiz" and iPod Cubis.

Amber on the other hand can power through a novel in about 2 days and that's when she practices restraint. She actually stops herself from reading novels because she would run out in a couple weeks and then have nothing to read for months. Punk.

Popular books we've read:

Just Amber:
The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
1984 (Orwell)
The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
Lord of the Flies (Golding)
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
Les Miserables (Hugo)
Just Zaak:
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Both of us have read:
The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
The Hobbit (Tolkien)
The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
The Bible
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
There is no consolation. Not even people telling me they've only read fortune cookies in the last ten years.

(Amber's dominatrix outfit is in the wash so we had to do a headlock pose instead)


I ♥ Paper

Graph paper. Writing paper. Note Pads. Blank music paper. Flipchart tablets. Drawing paper. Thick paper. Thin paper. Construction paper. Recycled paper. . .

I'm a sucker. I see it for sale. I don't necessarily have an immediate use for it. I buy it. Like the twelve 50-sheet legal pads that I bought this morning.



My buddy Edwin who works for the ministry too came by this afternoon. He told me about a family in Chicoy. The father died of an illness very abruptly on Tuesday. The mother was very ill and needed medicine and he had a list of the three medicines.

I looked up the stuff and phone a doctor friend in Canada because one of the medicines couldn't be found in Tactic. Got the medicines together and went with Edwin to Chicoy to see this widow, a mother of a couple of our students. We got the story there.

The husband was in the army and contracted a couple venereal diseases when he was away. He passed these on to his wife who now suffers and could possibly die. The man's brothers accuse the poor woman of being the one who got him sick.

I wrote about this woman's sister a couple weeks ago. Her husband was murdered five years ago.


Well of Emotions

Today was exciting and tiring and hilarious and heartbreaking and frustrating and inspiring. It was training day for the the 60 stoves that we are going to install in people's homes. I wrote about this before when we trained in March and installed in July.

I was a little frustrated at how slowly the training went and despit having 48 of the familes showing up at the two sessions, the facilitator would only certify 16 at each one, so we've got to have another two next week.

But at the same time I was inspired at how many of the women responded to the stoves and expressed an eagerness in receiving and learning.

I had to laugh when two of the women demonstrated what they were learning came forward with babies tied to their backs. There they were moving heavy concrete blocks.

I'm excited to see so many families getting these stoves. It will save them up to 1/6 of their monthly income or days of work each month buying or collecting firewood. And it will get the smoke out of their kitchens.

This is one of our students. She's deaf. She's also got a gorgeous smile. Her sponsors got her an appointment with some hearing specialists and now she has this hearing aid in both ears and she has some hearing now. I need to find out how much, but I was excited to see her with this as I was managing her account. Her family is also getting a stove.

This is what people paid. A mixture of down payments and full payments.

I was heartbroken when an old woman caring for her orphaned niece and nephew explained that she has no money and probably won't be able to pay. There's no way she's not getting a stove. I was just as heartbroken as I spent the morning and afternoon with dirty, poorly dressed and sick babies. I'm so blessed to be able to provide for my children.

Working in Guatemala, I have to keep my emotions at an arms length most of the time just so I can get my job done. It sneaks up on me sometimes.



We were invited to attend the graduation ceremonies of the Colegio Blaise Pascal as one of our church members / students was graduating from computer studies. We attended, dutifully. I don't even remember having desire to attend anyone's graduation. Ever. Not even my two grads.

It was LOUD. Really LOUD. We couldn't even shout at each other to be understood. This was just the prelude music. It was as if they were pumping up a crowd for some concert or boxing match.

What is most ironic is that the sound is very bad. Feedback on occasion, but the music is clipping all the time. And then a man occasionally interrupts the music with some mundane announcement.

A couple weeks ago, I attended another graduation and they had big band and jazz music playing throughout the entire service.

This is during the national anthem.

The ceremony was being broadcast LIVE on a local radio station via cell phone. The announcer wasn't getting any messages from home base, but if I were home base, I would have just stuck on a CD and killed the show citing sound quality issues.


New Birth

Well, Cappuccino Surprise is now the proud mama of a little baby nanny goat. I rounded the corner of our little stable with Blaise this morning, ready to milk Ermentrude and there she was!

It looks as though she was born outside, which is odd, because we put sacks over the walls of one side of the stable so the wind wouldn't get in and we put fresh sawdust down too.

What's so amazing is watching the little one walk already and nurse. I tried milking Surprise, but there's only colostrum. Maybe in a couple days. I'm going to by an animal bottle to feed the kid. This way, Surprise will produce more milk and her udder won't get smaller.

Amber came out with Acadia to see the little one too. We've had several guests already: the greenhouse guys, the greenhouse owner Miguel and also Walter, our neighbour.

This is sad news... along with the new little female was born a dead male. He's fully developed, so I'm not sure if he was stillborn or died during the birth. He was still inside the sack. I buried him.


...that get me revved

I like to sing. When I'm listening to certain songs there is nothing that can stop me from singing certain lines. I think it's because the lines carry conviction that I share. Here are some of those lines.
When the boy was a boy, the girl was a girl
they found eachother in a wicked world
Strong in some respects,
but she couldn't stand for the way he begged and gave in
Pride is for men
young girls should run and hide instead
You risk the game by taking dares with "yes"

"Eat for Two" by 10,000 Maniacs

And I love when folks
Look right at me
And what I'm doing
Or have done
And lay it on about
How groovy I am
And that I'm looking grand
And every single word
Makes me think I'll live forever
Never knowing that they probably
Won't remember what they said tomorrow
Tomorrow I could be dead

"The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes & The Pride Of Life" by Smalltown Poets

When youre done
With being beautiful and young
When that course is run, then come to me

"I'll Be That Girl" by Barenaked Ladies

In a seedy karaoke bar
By the banks of the mighty Bosphorus
Is a Japanese man in a business suit singing 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes'
And the muscular cyborg German dudes dance with sexy French Canadians
While the overweight Americans wear their patriotic jumpsuits

"Wheels" by Cake

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she's done to it
There's one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool.

"Rockin' in The Free World" by Neil Young

Your father was a pervert
Face down in the dirt
He taught you how to hurt
My father was a miner who lived in the suburbs
Let's live in the suburbs
If I let where I'm from burn I can never return!

"Vampire/Forest Fire" by Arcade Fire

Hey my love do you believe that we
Might last a thousand years
Or more if not for this?
Our flesh and blood it ties
You and me right up
Tie me down
Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
Were climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue

"Two Step" by Dave Matthews Band

So leave me alone
You ought to be proud that I'm getting good marks
Needle in the hay

"Needle in the Hay" by Elliott Smith

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
praise Him all creatures here below,
praise Him above ye heavenly host,
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

"The Flowery Song" by Five Iron Frenzy

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control

"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley

just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean its there.
(theres someone on your shoulder)
(theres someone on your shoulder)
There there!

"There There" by Radiohead

When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin' I hang my head and cry.

"Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash

Things will stay the same so I'll remain
And show just who I am
Seeing things around me
Bonnie and Clyde
Graffiti with no message
Doctors, medicines, or pride
But it doesn't really matter
They're blowin' in the wind
On the cover of a magazine
Babylon is falling

"Hallelujah" by k-os

Cry for guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate

"If I Had A Rocket Launcher" by Bruce Cockburn

You look like a perfect fit
For a girl in need of a tourniquet
But can you save me
Come on and save me
If you could save me
From the ranks of the freaks
Who suspect they could never love anyone

"Save Me" by Aimee Mann

I've seen so much in so many places
So many heartaches, so many faces
So many dirty things
You couldn't even believe
I would stand in line for this
There's always room in life for this
Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart

"Extreme Ways" by Moby

If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel
On your knees boy

"Mysterious Ways" by U2

But don't cry
Know the tears'll do no good
So dry your eyes

"Life is Sweet" by Natalie Merchant

Those here without the lord,
How do you cope?

"Breakfast" by Newsboys

There's the progress we have found (when the rain)
A way to talk around the problem (when the children reign)
Building towered foresight (keep your conscience in the dark)
isn't anything at all (melt the statues in the park)
Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky and tell the sky
Don't fall on me (What is it up in the air for) (It's gonna fall)

"Fall On Me" by R.E.M.

Elle me regardait
Et elle souriait
Elle m'a fait penser à rien en ce moment
Et comme le vent elle s’en allait
Et moi je suis réveillé
Oui moi je suis réveillé

"No Sleep" by Sam Roberts

It doesn’t mean much
It doesn’t mean anything at all
The life I’ve left behind me
Is a cold room
I’ve crossed the last line
From where I can’t return

"Sweet Surrender" by Sarah McLachlan

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.

"Barrett's Privateers" by Stan Rogers

Just cast your cares and
Please beware of snakes
They come in all shapes and sizes
Tempt you, put scales on your eyelids

"Irene" by Toby Mac

His head it felt heavy
As he cut across the land
He went deeper into black
Deeper into white
He could see the stars shine
Like nails in the night
He felt the healing, healing
Healing, healing hands of love
Like the stars shiny, shiny...from above
He put his hands in the pocket
His finger on the steel
The pistol weighed heavy
His heart he could feel
Was beating, beating
Beating, beating oh my love
Oh my love, oh my love
Oh my love.

"Exit" by U2

All you funny little men
With that fever in your eyes
You say you put them with the others, put them with the others
You should never analyse
He fucked the watermelon women like a thief in the night
All the time, all the time radiating
More heat than light

"More Heat than Light" by The Veils

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

"Idiot Wind" by Bob Dylan

My friend Greg says it's all good
As the eastern seaboard's blown away
Now everything is going half-price
So look at all the money we saved
And all the politicians shake their asses
Looking for the backdoor

"Members Only" by Sheryl Crow
Yeah, I'm not partial to long blog posts either... I need a drink of water. What are some songs you can't help but sing along to?


El Nuevo Presidente

Yesterday Guatemalan went to the polls for a second time to vote for the two candidates in the presidential run-off. No one got more than 50% of the vote in the general election, so the top two candidates campaign for another 6 weeks. The orange guy lost and the green guy won.

Speaking with most people, they didn't really have faith in any of the candidates. A man I had breakfast with on Saturday told me that it was basically like choosing a terminal disease.

Colom of the party U.N.E. won with 53% of the vote. The accusations he's fought during the campaign is that he is a Mayan priest who is going to commit the country to idols once elected and that his party bought votes by giving away sheet metal for example. His platform is to clean up police and judge corruption while addressing the root of violence which is poverty.

Pérez Molina, the guy who lost, was accused of killing a lot of people during the civil war as a part of the military and of being financially backed by some drug lords. His platform was to beef up the military and police while reinstating the death penalty. (He seems really keen on killing people)

You can read about the results in this article by the CBC and watch these TV adverts for Colom and for Pérez Molina.



On Tuesday, Amber discovered that there was mold forming on our car rug. There was no question that our car smelled musty, but mold is another issue for me.

So we gutted the entire car to get the rug out for a scrubbing and drying. It took quite a while, but I think it was worth it.

The spare tire well in our trunk periodically fills up with water and the water leaks into the back seat and onto the floor of the car causing a very moist car. At least that's the theory. I punched some nail holes into the bottom of the trunk to give the water somewhere else to go.

I was worried for the last couple nights that someone might actually come and steal our seats. No one did. Though someone untied both my goats this afternoon...

Amber, Blaise and I installed the carpet, panels and seats this afternoon. Just one screw was missing in the end. Here's to a moldfree car for the next while!

Fiesta de Cumpleaños

Les turned 52 the other day and our cell group, which includes three of his children, threw him a party.

The last short-term mission team of the year (#16) was here so we made it extra Guatemalan for them: Churrascos and Marimbas.

We didn't have firecrackers though. That's good, because my babies don't handle those well.

Oh, and there was cake too.