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XelaWho by Issue

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Come Together!

by Cameron Smith

Today, Guatemala is a fractured country. 500 years of a racist Spanish caste system, rating humans in worth from Spanish at the top to indigenous at the bottom, has left a scar right across the hearts of all Guatemalans. For the sake of all, this absurd racism and fealty to [...]


P o p p i n g


Oh Guatemala, you beautiful country! How sad it is to know your history, but January finally gave us something we can celebrate about. Almost 35 years later, justice has been served. What really happened in the fire at the Spanish embassy in 1980 we will never [...]

Reverse Culture Shock

by Richard Brown

Going back to the US for Christmas was the usual reverse-culture shock. It actually reminded me of what happened last night, watching Unmistaken Child, a documentary about a young Nepalese Buddhist monks’ efforts to find the reincarnation of his beloved and celebrated master. In one scene featuring the Dalai Lama [...]

The World of Humberto Ak’abal

by Diana Pastor

The world of Humberto Ak’abal is different from that of ordinary men because it is made of what many have lost: the power to appreciate the little things in life and nature. There is an interesting video on YouTube where this poet of Mayan origins sings some beautiful verses in [...]

Recipe of the Month: Carne Guisada

by Simone Riddle

After el desayuno chapín, stews are one of the most popular dishes served in comedores y cocinas throughout the country. ‘Caldos’ ‘recaldos’ and ‘guisados’, which are all types of stews, tend to be overshadowed by their more infamous cousins ‘pepian’, ‘jocon’ and ‘kaq ik’. Despite their fame, visitors are missing [...]

Xela: Cultural Potentials

by Julio Urizar

There is no doubt that the cultural life of Xela is one of its most prominent features. Historically, the city has been a constantly active cultural space and that spirit is reflected in the architecture and identity of the streets that still boast being the birthplace of poets, painters and [...]


With the highest number of Facebook users in Central America and a Twitter population growing by the thousands every month, social media can be a great place to find out what’s buzzing in Guatemala. Of course, there’s also a whole lot of nonsense posted online too, but at XelaWho we like nonsense so here are [...]

Vertical Pilgrims

By Cameron Smith

We are in the Western Highlands of Guatemala at a mountain resembling a giant tooth, formed by the volcanic violence of ancient and recent history. A hundred feet of thin mountain air below me, not far from the base of this sheer cliff that I am inching up, there is [...]


P o p p i n g

Guerrilla Gardeners

Rumor is a group of Xela locals and foreigners might be organizing themselves to green up and beautify their homes. A need to reclaim their knowledge of food is driving these subversive gardeners to plant their own munchies. And it seems like a perfect idea: [...]

Top Tips for Learning Spanish in 2015

by Diana Pastor

2015! We begin a New Year and we’re sure that many of our readers are here in Xela with the purpose of improving their Spanish. Many of you are no doubt wondering how long it will take until you’re able to crack a joke in Spanish that results in people [...]