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   November 10, 2003: Day of the Dead
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Hello all!!


 It's nice to be back on line with a new update.  We are doing well in Guatemala and only one of us has snuck back into the US.  By the time most of you are reading this Annette will be in Norton, Massachusetts visiting her parents for a week.

  I will be working hard, mostly, and missing her the rest of the time.  Our clinic is doing well. We have to change locations for the month of December and a bit into the new year.  It seems we have termites in our roof.  Our land lady picked December to change the entire roof because it isn't supposed to rain during that month.  I hope it doesn't, officially the rainy season is over but we have had some rain.  In fact water fell from the sky just this afternoon.  We will of course send pictures of the work in progress and of our new space.  We are only moving one block north so our patients will not have far to go if they forget and go to our regular office.  We will be located in a garage port for a month and a half.  It really isn't as bad as it sounds.  We are in the entrance to the American Legion library.  We have a roof over our heads and a small courtyard just off the car port with a fountain in the center.  We do hope, however, that we will return to our regular office soon.  On a better note we went to a great party last weekend.  Strange of all places the party was held in a graveyard.


I now know Latin America celebrates the day of the dead in quite a different way than I imagined.  Everyone heads for the local cemetery and takes along home made kites.  They fly the kites and believe this helps their relatives get to heaven.  We went to one of the local towns famous for this day,  Santiago, Guatemala.


  You can see in the pictures,  (all of them are from the first of November,) everyone just hangs out all over the place.  On top of the mausoleums, sitting on the grave mounds themselves and even on the grave stones.  Now some of you may be a little offended by this, as were some of the gringos who went in our group.  However this way of remembering their dead is very common the culture down here.  And it was also so much fun.  The whole town of Santiago gets into it.  There are a overwhelming amount of vendors selling all kinds of food and local hand made crafts.  Of course you could buy all kinds of kites as well.  We didn't buy any kites, choosing to watch the groups around us try to get their kites into the air.  The kites where quite large and their were usually 5-10 people trying to get their kite in the air.  

We did not see one of the huge kites behind Annette get airborne.  Those were ridiculously large and the wind would have to have been much stronger.  On of the fun things was to see the crowd scatter when one kite came down.  We hade to duck down a few times ourselves.  It was my first party in a cemetery and I felt it went very well.  

We have reached the point where we can now eat street food with out getting sick so it is also a real cheap outing.  By street food I of course mean food sold on the street not just picked up of it.  We may be in the third world but we still live first class...oh alright second, but we are trying.  In Antigua we can go out a have a wonderful and filling lunch for about $1.30.  This is even a sit down and be served lunch.  


On another subject Guatemala is having their elections right now.  I do not think anyone received 50% of the votes this time, so they will have a runoff of the top two in December.  The one candidate who we really did not want to win will most likely not be one of them.  Rios Mont is bad news. There are no official numbers yet, but that is what I understand as of today.  We will keep you informed.  I hope you are all well.  We miss you all and promise to keep better updates.  I think Annette is going to write about our garden next.  Two months of work and we have already harvested two radishes.  Wheee.  If we keep this up we may have a small salad by Christmas!  It is fun though, and good exercise to boot. 

Lots of love,

Nathan and Annette