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44 attend SSCA gathering E-mail
The News - Latest News

Info exchanged at SSCA meet
Info exchanged at SSCA meet
Story and photos by
Melinda Schell of s/v Sea Schell

The Rio Dulce Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam (gathering) met Tuesday, Nov. 18 with great success.  We had 44 participants for lunch and an afternoon of exchanging information.

 It started at noon at MAR Marina, where our new cruising station host, Marlene, is the owner.  We had a great lunch, Melinda, on Sea Schell gave a brief talk on the benefits of SSCA and what it offers.  Then we all divided into round tables.

The first 2 discussions were on electronics aboard moderated by Mike Church, on Grace.  He is a certified technician for Raymarine and extremely knowledgeable about all electronics.

 The other round table was moderated by Harry Schell and Charlie Freeman on “What would you do it”.  The second round of talks was on “Women living aboard” with Vicky Reynaud and Melinda moderating and “SSB issues” with Bob Reynaud and Charlie Freeman moderating. 

All 4 tables had much discussion and exchange of ideas.  It was a great afternoon which everyone seemed to really appreciate.  It threatened to rain all day but the rain gods held off until the Gam was over and everyone had gone home.  Another blessing.

Casa Guatemala News E-mail
The News - Latest News


Heather and 'Mami' Angie with children of Casa Guatemala
Heather and 'Mami' Angie with children of Casa Guatemala

A Message from Heather Graham

Dear Friends,

Here we are once again approaching the end of another year.  And what a year it has been. 2014 has brought many changes to Casa Guatemala; the biggest of course being the retirement of our beloved Mami Angie. I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from Angie for the last 14 years. She has been a mentor, a friend, and as she is to so many, like a mother to me. I am grateful to have had the amazing experience of getting to know her personally and professionally; of listening to her endless stories of her struggles and triumphs; and most importantly, to have gained her confidence to take on the responsibility of ensuring her legacy, Casa Guatemala.

It won’t be easy as these are very big shoes to fill, but luckily I still can rely on the constant support and guidance of Angie, as well as our skilled and professional board of directors who are working hard on the succession plans that Angie laid out in her last letter. And of course, as always, we have you. Without you, none of this would be possible. Your contributions to Casa Guatemala are what have allowed us to create and maintain this amazing organization. We will continue to need your help as we move into the future!

We would love to engage our donors to rise to the next level and become fundraisers! We have our US and Canadian charity organizations that you can volunteer with from home to help us to raise funds and awareness about our projects! We are looking for people to volunteer as board members for both organizations so that we can expand our efforts on the international front. Our volunteer program here in Rio Dulce will continue to depend on skilled people from around the world who are willing to share their time and love with the children. In 2015 we will be offering internships that will offer exciting opportunities to work as part of our administration team for those interested in a career in nonprofit management or social media. We are going to need lots of help to continue bringing Casa Guatemala forward so we hope we can count on you! If you are interested in becoming more involved, please feel free to contact me directly for more details.

Click to read more of the current Casa Guatemala Online Newsletter


Chikungunya virus warning E-mail
The News - Latest News

ImageThe US Embassy advises US citizens living or traveling in Guatemala on a public health situation regarding the Chikungunya virus.   Chikungunya virus is a recently identified in Guatemala and spreading virus, transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms regularly include fever, sore joints of the hands and feet that start between 3 and 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.   Other symptoms may include muscle aches, headache, fever, swollen joints and allergies.   No vaccine or drug to prevent Chikungunya Virus or any antiviral medication to treat it, so far.   While deaths from it are rare, people at high risk for this disease in severe form includes newborns and adults over 65 and those with chronic health conditions.  

The presentation of Chikungunya is similar to dengue.   Citizens are advised to seek medical attention if they are experiencing symptoms, especially if the fever is above 102 F (about 39 C).   At this time, prevention measures are aimed at reducing exposure to mosquitoes using repellents, covering the skin so that it is not exposed, clothing treated with permethrin, measures to control mosquitoes as emptying water containers around; and   supporting local measures to control mosquitoes.   Anyone sick with chikungunya should avoid mosquito bites to help prevent the virus from spreading further.  
Please visit the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on Chikungunya   for additional information.

For travel messages issued by CDC, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636 ) within the United States or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the Web site http://www.cdc.gov/travel 

We encourage US citizens traveling or residing in Guatemala, register with the Department of   State (STEP) Smart Traveler Enrollment Program The register through STEP allows you to get the latest security messages and allows the US Embassy or nearest Consulate to contact you in case of an emergency.   If you do not have internet access, you can sign up directly on the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
Fiambre -- the salad with 50 ingredients E-mail
Features - History and Culture

(Editor's Note: This article was written for the Chisme-Vindicator 5 years ago by our wonderful, beautiful and oh, so talented friend Valeria -- and it's still just as informative and entertaining as when she first wrote it. Now, right before the Day of the Dead, Nov. 1, Guatemalan families are gathering the ingredients for their own particular style of fiambre. To see more of Valeria's articles, click on Features in the left hand main menu, then select History and Culture. Enjoy! Ok, Valeria ... send us some more!)



Guatemalan traditional cuisine
 When the Spanish came and started colonizing the new world, they brought with them to this strange land everything they could carry with them to recreate their memories from home.

There was no quarantine back then of course, so ships came full of new spices, seeds and sea sick animals to cure melancholy.
These colonists brought as much as they could to make the transition easier; that’s how we got pork and chickens and horses and many other things like spices and herbs.

Traditional food has its roots in the Spanish influence adding the new local ingredients back in the 1500's and 1600's, when they settled in Guatemala. They adapted their recipes to the local flavors in the attempt to recreate the memories of home through food, resulting in a brand new list of dishes that the population adopted as their own and started building new memories and traditions around them.

That is the case of fiambre.


Fiambre was pretty much a “leftovers” salad that was brought (and still is) to the cemetery on November the first, the Day of the Dead. It is brought with tons of flowers and ornaments and, of course, some white liquor to the tombs.

 Now the thing is this picnic was not for the living but for the dead. The families came and cleaned the graves of their loved ones, put fresh flowers in the vases and wrapped chains made with colorful paper around the tomb stones, had a little snack, said prayers and left a dish of fiambre with a bottle of rum or cusha (local illegal liquor) for their deceased to feast on later.  

Potluck in Paradise E-mail
The News - Latest News

Story and Photos by Jody Aston

Potluck in Paradise organizer Vito de Lorenzo
Potluck in Paradise organizer Vito de Lorenzo
Rain and high water did not dampen the spirits of those who answered the call of the morning net and came to the potluck meal on Saturday. Originally planned for the small park across from Backpackers, the water did, however, create a need for a new venue. Heather Graham came to the rescue and welcomed the group to Backpackers. The trellised deck proved a lovely spot for the get-together and the party was a big success.

Thanks to Mike Church, who initiated the idea and to Vito deLorenzo, who spread the word. Individual marinas often have picnics amongst themselves for the resident boaters, but this event was a little different, and especially fun because it was a gathering of cruisers and landlubbers from all around the rio. More potlucks may be held in the future, so get your favorite recipes ready and stay tuned!

Click on Read More for more photos

Zoologico La Aurora - a must see! E-mail
Features - History and Culture

Parque Zoologico Nacional La Aurora
(Photos by Jane Anne Lyons)
Most of us living in Rio Dulce dread having to go to Guatemala City; whatever the reason is that took you there in the first place. And as many of you know, sometimes things might take longer than usual.  

So instead of impatiently waiting in your hotel room for whatever brought you there, call a cab and go explore the city, it can be fun.  Image

One of the places (later on I will tell you about others), is the zoo. It is like stepping into a green and lush oasis in the middle of the noisy and rushing concrete jungle. It’s actually a nice place to hang out for the day; I think you can even get a couple of cold beers in the Guatemalan food court.

The gardens are ample and the green cushiony grass invites you to lie down for a little while and simply enjoy the sound of the wind lulling on the tall tree tops; that beats the ugly voices of the news people on tv reminding you it sucks out there     Image

Well, Guatemala’s zoo is pretty good. It's actually one of the best in Latin America and one of my favorite places to go when I need to relax and forget about worldly issues.  

ImageOriginally the area was purchased by president Reyna Barrios to turn it into a nice “recreational garden” for the city, believing that if people had a place to relax, breathe fresh air and exercise, they would be more efficient at work and happier citizens. He was a very romantic guy…    

Angie retires from Casa Guatemala E-mail
The News - Latest News

(Editor’s Note: Angelina Galdamez, known simply as “Angie” or "Mami Angie", founder of Casa Guatemala, is retiring this month due to health issues and has established a new board of directors to continue her efforts with the Rio Dulce orphanage and various projects which she implemented over the years. Below is a letter which she’d like to share with friends, volunteers and supporters:)

Dear Friends,
As you know, Casa Guatemala has been my life since 1977 when I first arrived as a volunteer of Casa Canada. Shortly there after, when my predecessor Naomi Bronstein decided to leave the project and go back to Canada, I took on the responsibility of creating Casa Guatemala with the vision of making the organization into something much bigger than it was when I took over.

I am very proud to say that I have been able to accomplish my goals when I look at the fruits of my labor:

The hundreds of children who have been placed in adoption; the thousands of children that have had the opportunity to get an education and become professionals here in Guatemala; the sick and malnourished children that I have brought back from the brink of death; the jungle paradise that I have created as a safe haven for the children in our care and the social enterprise we have created in order to provide our own source of income as well as meaningful job opportunities for hundreds of adolescents in our care. 

For thirty-six years this has been what I have dedicated my life to. It has not been easy and there have been many times when I was afraid that I would not be able to continue. Yet thanks to my perseverance and the help of many people from around the world, I have been able to succeed in my mission of providing a safe and loving home, education, and health care to the generations of children who have depended on me.

Mishell celebrates 15th birthday E-mail
The News - Latest News
Mishell with Ponytail John -- Wally White photo-
Mishell with Ponytail John -- Wally White photo-
Mishell Sullivan Jenaira (daughter of the late Leo Sullivan) celebrates her 15th birthday party with John (Ponytail) Garrett at Bruno's along with a group of family & friends. Feliz fiesta de quinceañer, Mishell ! More photos by Wally White HERE .
Equipos del Rio expands inventory E-mail
The News - Latest News
Friendly, professional staff at Equipos del Rio
Friendly, professional staff at Equipos del Rio
Everytime I visit Equipos del Rio I'm amazed at the new items they've added to their inventory which ranges from boaters items to home maintenance, farm and ranch equipment and much more.

It's like having a boaters store combined with a hardware store. The more you look around, the more items you'll discover -- and at very competitive prices (and if you're a regular customer, go ahead and ask for a discount).

They stock a wide variety of pump impellers, NGK spark plugs, propellers, bilge pumps, fuel filters, grease gun cartridges, life jackets, spearguns, life rings, and foul weather gear.

They’re also a dealer for Igloo ice chests, Honda and Suzuki outboards, Interstate and Bosch batteries,  Zerex antifreeze, Suzuki motorcycles, and Perko hardware.

There’s a variety of pressure washers, weed eaters, lawn mowers, docklines, fish hooks and line, lubricants like WD40 and 3 in one Oil, 2 cycle and 4 cycle engine oil.

And there’s a good selection of fiberglass cloth, matte and epoxy and polyester resins.

Can't find it? Ask Lidia and chances are she can order it for you. And her English is probably better than your Spanish!

Equipos del Lago is located across the street from BanRural in the concrete mall, next to Sistemes Solaris and across the way from Comercial W&L .

Managing the store is Lidia with her friendly assistant Ariel. Phone 7930-5675 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Equipos del Rio is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Click Read More below to see photos of their new inventory.

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