August 2009 Issue: 10 Things You Never Knew About XelaWho (*And Never Thought to Ask)

Four years ago we had an idea: to make the best magazine that49-august-cover Quetzaltenango had ever seen – funny, well-written, informative and beautiful to look at. That was a lot of work, so we started making XelaWho instead.

Over the years, we’ve blown a sizeable number of trumpets – mostly our own – but on our fourth birthday we’re feeling particularly self-indulgent, so we’re busting open the doors on the normally super-secretive XelaWho society and sharing some little-known facts with the world.

1. We’re confusing. The word “XelaWho” is our invention – a play on words on Quetzaltenango’s original K’iche’ name, Xelajú. There’s no such place as “Xelawho” – please update your blogs accordingly.

2. We’re inspirational. Although we have no idea who these people are, “xelawho” has been registered as a username on YouTube, Twitter, Blogspot, the law school discussion forum (?!) and GodTube (?!?!). Keep it real, people.

3. We’re loved. Not just by the guidebooks, either – Siglo XXI (one of Guatemala’s vaguely respectable dailies) tells its readers to “Lea XelaWho, revista en inglés para extranjeros, pero con los datos más actualizados de los sitios por visitar.” (In other words, this homely publication acutally has the best calendar of events in town.)

4. We’re loathed. The blogosphere lays on the compliments, too, calling us “poorly written trash by a bunch of tryhard know-nothings” and “a microcosm of white liberalism and/or white activism.”

5. We’re stable. Over the years, we’ve been through six editors, five sales managers, eight photographers and printed contributions from 54 freelancers.

6. We’re viral. Ex-XelaWho writers have gone on to start spinoffs in Nicaragua (the now-defunct Leoneazy), Colombia (The Arepa) and San Cristobal de las Casas (The Arroz). 

7. We’re global. Using the lamest of calculations (three readers per mag plus the number of hits on our Website) we figure that over 200,000 people have done what you’re doing now.

8. We’re green. Due to technical issues way too boring to go into here, we don’t print on recycled paper. But we do run a reforestation project called Tierra Verde which has planted over 18,000 trees. So that’s something, right?

9. We’re approachable. Our mailbox is always open – in four years we’ve received a whopping three letters to the editor. One of them was even complimentary.

10. We’re creative. Sometimes we sit down to write a Top 10 list and can only come up with nine items, so we have to pad the last one out with filler.

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