Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tentative Dates for Exhibit and Excursion

On Wednesday I held a meeting with my group of young photographers to discuss their exhibit (see photo below). They decided to hold it on Wednesday, July 2. A few posts below you can see a preview of the photos they are going to exhibit. I also began letting them share my Canon SD750 digital point and shoot camera.

I also revealed to them that I was sponsoring a trip to take them to the ancient Maya ruins of Ek Balam a little over an hour from Xualtez. They set the date for July 6. I first took a group to Ek Balam in 1999 when the ruins had recently opened and archaeologists were still in the initial phases of uncovering and reconstructing the ruins. We were the only visitors there, but there were dozens of local men working on reconstruction. This time more ruins will have been reconstructed and there will certainly be more tourists. Few young people from Xualtez have even been to the famous ruins of Chichén Itza, at about an equal distance from their community, so this will be a new experience for everyone involved. Since Ek Balam is off the well-beaten tourist path between Merida and Cancun, less tourists visit, so we hope to not have our views blocked by mobs of people like you find at Chichén Itza.

August 1999 Group at Ek balam


Friday, June 27, 2008

Anthropology at AHS

While teaching Spanish Honors classes this, my first year at Athens High School, I proposed an anthropology class and it was accepted. So far I have only found one other school in the state to offer such a class. There has been a lot of interest and 42 students have signed up to take it. Like many high schools, AHS already offers sociology and psychology, but finally, the little-known field of anthropology will get exposure. This opportunity for students will give much needed publicity for a field that offers a more in depth look at the holistic context within which human nature exists. Anthropology’s unique scope will give students have a better understanding of the complexities of human nature—something that is absent from most high school curriculums.

Click here to see the article about the class that appeared in student newspaper earlier this year.


Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Portraits

You can see some very recent portraits by clicking on the new slideshow to the right. I will be updating it from time to time.


Recent House Improvements

I first went to Xualtez in early 1998 while doing an internship as a student at OU. After returning several times, the community gave me a piece of land on the eastern side of the village on the edge of the jungle. In 2000, I hired a few men to build me a simple, traditional hut of wood and palm thatch. I tapped into the community water system fed from a tower a few blocks away and began having traditional stone fence built. Over the past eight years I have finished my stone fence, planted coconut, almond, banana, orange, lime and other trees in my yard along with some medicinal plants. I attached a small room to shower in, got the house wired for electricity and had a concrete floor poured.
Before arriving this year, I had a wooden gate built where the opening of my stone fence the goes to the street. I also had roof replaced with new palm—it took 1,500 palmetto leaves! Finally, I had my “shower room” sided with boards and the tarpaper roof replaced with a metal one that now extends to cover a small section just outside my back door forming a tiny porch area. Below are a few recent pictures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Satellite Photos of Xualtez

In the past few months Google has updated a section of their satellite photographs on their online maps and on Google Earth. The new section now includes Xualtez, the community where I work and live. The color is not very accurate, but the detail is much better than surrounding areas. Here is a screen capture of a view from Google Earth:


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Youth Photo Exhibit Preview

These pictures, taken by children from Xualtez, are a sample of about two dozen that I will be organizing into an exhibit this summer. They range from the aftermath of hurricane Emily in 2005 to photos of relatives in 2007.

taken by Juan Osorio Chan

taken by Mariana Poot Osorio

taken by Grisel Cab Albornoz

taken by Gustavo Osorio Chan

taken by William Albornoz Uitzil

taken by William Albornoz Uitzil