Events Calendar

<< Sep 2015 >>
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4

XelaWho by Issue

Site sponsor:

Barfly: Xela’s Jet Set…Well, Chicken Bus Set

Barfly is XelaWho‘s monthly gallery of photos of folks enjoying themselves in night spots around town. Who knows how many modeling and movie careers we’ve spawned?  Have a look to see who’s famous this month.

Election Special

Guatemalan politicians are often contemptuously referred to as payasos (clowns) by many of their fellow citizens and at no time does it become more apparent as to why they earn this nickname than during election season. Whether it’s making ludicrous promises that they could never be able to fulfil (more on that in a moment); making up fake melodramatic stories for their campaign videos or fake endorsements for their adverts (also more on that in a moment); plastering cringeworthy but utterly meaningless slogans on huge billboards with gigantic, photoshopped faces on them; or literally turning over every rock in the country so that they can be painted with the rainbow of party colours, as if that one extra painted rock will be the thing that sways your vote on election day; the parties and their candidates come out of the woodworks for a full-frontal assault on your senses in the few months that lead up to elections.
And so in the interest of guiding our readers through all the craziness, this month we present to you XelaWho’s Election Special Editorial, featuring the all new XelaWho Election Campaign Awards for the parties that have wowed us the most with their election campaign extravaganzas. So without further ado, let us begin…

Recipe of the Month:Salsa de Tomate Casera

by Simone Riddle

It’s back to basics in Xelawho’s kitchen for this month’s recipe. Everyone knows how to make a tomato sauce, right? But do you know how to make it estilo chapin? Like many dishes in the Mayan culinary repertoire, there is a unique way to create a salsa de tomate, and it doesn’t begin with frying an onion. Master this one and you will look legit, fijo.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use it as a base to add to pizzas, pasta, frijoles blancos, fish and even on top of your eggs for breakfast.

1lb of tomatoes (approx.. 5-6 tomatoes)
1 red bell pepper (chile pimiento rojo)
2 cloves of garlic
1 ½ onion, halved
half a jalapeño chili
½ inch of chile guaque (optional)
½ inch of chile pasa (optional)
2 tbs of olive oil
1 tsp of salsa inglesa (optional)
a couple of springs of thyme (tomillo)
Start by giving all the vegetables a wash
Add the tomatoes, peeled garlic, the red pepper, the halved onion, chile guaque, chile pasa and the sprigs of thyme to a large pan, fill the pan with cold water to almost cover the vegetables. Cover, bring to the boil and cook until the vegetables are soft
Remove the sprigs of thyme and blend the vegetables, adding some of the liquid to help blend more easily
Pour the blended mixture back to the pan, mix and add salt and pepper to taste
Next, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add the remaining half of onion (chopped) and to begin to fry. Add the finely diced jalapeño chili if you like your salsa to have some kick. Fry for a couple of minutes to soften
Carefully pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan, adding the salsa inglesa and stir before simmering for another 5-10 minutes to let the flavours infuse
Check again for seasoning and it’s ready, simple.
Watch out for next month’s recipe, which will use this salsa as a base – so get practicing!

Book your cookery class with Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA) where Women Circle members offer traditional Mayan techniques. Check out their website ( for more information.



P o p p i n g

Going for Gold

The 2015 Pan American Games have got off to a cracking start for Guatemala so far. At the time of writing we’re only just over half way through and Guatemala have already won a whopping 6 gold medals, placing them eighth in the Gold Medal League table and only two medals away from beating their all time record of 7 in the Guadalajara Games in 2011. Guatemala have emerged as champions in Badminton, Gymnastics, the Pentathlon, Shooting and Sailing (which we didn’t even know existed in Guatemala).
Just don’t mention the fact that the United States are racing ahead with 65 gold medals already. Although, that’s not really a fair comparison in our opinion: it’s a bit like putting Xelajú MC up against Real Madrid and then trying to claim it´s a fair match because “they´re both city football teams.”

The Quetzal: Meet Guatemala’s National Bird

By Diana Pastor

Many times, I have been asked the same question about the name of Quetzaltenango by foreigners here: Are there really Quetzales here? Embarrassed, I must answer that perhaps long ago they lived here but today it is difficult to see them even in their natural habitats (rain forest). The Quetzales, which incidentally share their name with the Guatemalan national currency, originally lived in abundance, throughout the Western part of the country. Today, though, they are predominantly seen in San Marcos and Baja Verapaz. Although there may also be some Quetzals living in the areas of San Martin, Chile Verde and between Cantel and Zunil (the latter are municipalities of Quetzaltenango). However, in these areas, sightings have only been recorded by Rangers.

Laughter by the Bucket Load

By Kin Entertainment

“My Candidate Ain’t Chafa (shoddy)” is a comedy theatre show about the adventures of a group of shopkeepers who, tired of the same campaign promises election after election, resolve to form their own political party. Brace yourselves for two hours of laughter, quips and gags in which you’ll witness timely satire about the political figures of our country in 2015’s presidential race.
The Plot: Maco, Marta, Pancho and Charly are vendors in the popular Plaza El Amata. They resolve to join other merchants to form the political party, El Amate Front, in order to enter the election race.

18,000 Km and Counting: a Real Life Forest Gump

We’re sure that many people reading this will be well accustomed to adventurous travelling in this part of the world. We all have great stories from our exploits that we constantly share, and will probably keeping on sharing for a long time to come. My own stories normally involve being crammed onto a chicken bus with my face pushed so hard up against the window I temporarily look like the Elephant Man’s cousin.

But, please, spare a thought for Jamie Ramsay who is currently running from Vancouver to Buenos Aires for charity. Armed only with a shopping cart to carry all his possessions, Jamie has become a real life Forest Gump, running across countries to raise money for charities. Ok, I admit that the comparison to Forest Gump really only comes from the running and the beard, but the Scotsman’s story is one to truly capture the imagination. We contacted him for an interview and this is what he had to say:



P o p p i n g

Long Walk for Justice

Oswaldo Ochoa is not a name many of us would have heard before June, but last month he completed the 200km (125 miles) trip from Xela to Guatemala City… on foot! Ochoa, known as Quixote, arrived in the capital one week after leaving his home in Xela. Inspired by Gandhi, Ochoa went on hunger strike during his pilgrimage, only drinking tea and juices. He arrived in the capital 4kg (9lbs) lighter, wearing a straw hat, a Guatemalan flag draped across his shoulders and with his feet covered in blisters. His march was in protest against the on-going corruption in Guatemala, & on arrival he called for the resignation of President Perez Molina. His arrival in the capital was greeted by cheering crowds, a fitting tribute to a 62 year old man who had completed a grueling journey. I just hope he remembered to bring money for the bus home.

The Ten Year Guatemala Spring (Part 2)

By Diana Pastor

The day that Jacob Arbenz took power, the speech he gave was energetic and full of hope. Arbenz, who was the son of a German Swiss immigrant, was educated at the Polytechnic of Guatemala and was highlighted as an outstanding student. After graduating, he began working as a teacher at the Polytechnic and at the Fort of San Jose Buenavista, where he came face-to-face with the harsh working conditions of the indigenous population. Arbenz was part of the revolutionary army during the revolution of 1944 and afterwards was named defense minister during the government of Juan Jose Arevalo. During the subsequent election he was voted as President of the country. Arbenz had many plans for his government, but his central focus was land reform. By then, an American company known as the United Fruit Company owned 50% of the arable land in the country, while only using about 3% of it, and also monopolized many other services such as transport and control of sea ports.

Art Walks in Xela

by Alba Carrasco

Art walks are cultural expressions that are created with the aim of exploring urban spaces by linking them to specific topics under an experimental and educational approach. Exploring different urban areas whilst also reflecting on our relationship with public spaces, on social issues and then sharing these insights with others are just some of the ideas pursued by this initiative.
Following the methodology of “The Walk Exchange”, La Ciudad de la Imaginación held its first art walk within the framework of its Guatemala Después exhibition in collaboration with Sitio Seña, who are one of the artistic projects that will be presented at the exhibition. The Walk Exchange is an organization founded by artists and educators in New York who offer these kinds of creative and educational walks openly and freely for the public. They place an emphasis on the body as a means to produce and transmit knowledge, and since 2010 these initiatives have been organised in collaboration with a multitude of different organisations. In the words of one of its members “we walk to learn about spaces, ideas and about each one of us.”