Tag Archives: Central America

Probigua celebrates 25 years in the service of Guatemalan education

I love that there are still some people in this world that manage to change their bits of universe for the better. One of these determined people is Don Rigoberto Zamora Charuc, director and founder of Probigua. I’ve told you about Probigua before and my experience in Antigua working for them. Besides being an Academy of Spanish Studies in Antigua, Probigua is a non profit organisation that does more for guatemaltecos than their own government, some say. This year they are celebrating 25 years of existence and work in the field of education in Guatemala.
The results are impressive:
-12 schools built
-16 libraries added to schools that had no such facilities
-2 bibliobuses or library buses that travel on a specific schedule in many of the villages and communities so that the children have access to books at least for some hours every 2 weeks.

Taking advantage of a talented student’s presence in the school, Zach Martinez, Don Rigoberto suggested we do a video presentation of Probigua’s efforts. It was lovely visiting many of the communities they have been working in, taking interviews, interacting with the children, teachers, librarians and volunteers from all over the country. I can’t wait to see Zach’s hard work in putting together all the bits and parts of these colourful lives we’ve witnessed.

In Nahuala, the children had no desks or seats, they were sitting on concrete blocks from construction sites, on pieces of wood or simply on the floor. We broght 350 desks to their school and they were so happy and grateful! They had a ceremony prepared so that we can see a bit of their traditions they follow during La cuaresma (the 40 days before Easter time). Also, we heard live marimba thanks to a band that came to greet us.




San Pedro Yepocapa. This is where it all started back in the year 1989. With his brother, Luis Pedro Zamora Charuc, Don Rigoberto opened the first library in the entire rural area of Chimaltenango. Where? In their own house. The people were so surprised. Many wanted to buy the books, not knowing how a library actually works.



We went visiting this community and found out Probigua has built a wonderful school for the children here. So colourful and happy! We interrupted their schedule to tell them about Probigua and its celebration. Don Rigoberto took the lead. He presented us, students: Lori viene de Rumania, Zach de los Estados Unidos. Thanks to these past weeks of studying Spanish with Gladys, I was able to hold a 10 minute motivational speech about the importance of education and the great opportunity the students have when such a blessing comes upon them. Let me make it clear, I was on a stage, with a microphone, in front of all the students of the school. I said mint instead of mind once, but otherwise, not many funny errors (menta y mente). Multi-talented Zach also prepared some songs for his audience and the kids loved him! At the end they came running towards us only to ask us more about our origins, our countries or other cultural differences.












I love this country. If you guys want to help Probigua continue its fantastic work in Guatemala, you can do it here.

Feliz dia del Carino!

You might think I’m really late with this wish, but believe me I am not! In Romania we celebrate Valentine’s Day as an imported event from overseas, but we also have a traditional holiday for love on the 24th of February called DRAGOBETE. Well, I use this special occasion to show you some moments of a Guatemalan wedding witnessed here in Antigua. The bride and groom seemed genuinely nervous for the day.


My favourite part was when the bridesmaides gathered around the couple to take a picture together. All of them wore the Mayan traditional clothes.

bridesmades red

Let me explain, the Mayan people still make up a majority of the population in Guatemala and their fabulously coloured traditional clothing can be seen throughout the country. Guatemala might be small, but it hosts a huge diversity of textiles within the Mayan community. Each region and its people have their own stories and put them into differently coloured patterns and styles in their blouses and skirts. The blouses are usually called a huipil or güipil. They are woven by hand and sometimes it takes up to 6 months of work to accomplish these beauties. The corte is a wrap-around skirt that consists of a piece of cloth that makes a tube into which the woman steps. Excess material is wrapped around the body, folded at the waist and then tied with a faja (belt).

I particularly like the hair wraps or cinta. It is said that it is the best revealer of the town origin of a Mayan woman. In some villages, the style of how a woman wraps her hair in the cinta can indicate her marital status or whether she has children or is a matriarch. The cinta is the crowning jewel of a woman’s traje or traditional outfit and most often the most precious piece or her wardrobe.


And they lived happily ever after.

Hola, I’m in Antigua, Guatemala.

The sight from almost landing in Panama.
Close to Panama

My first trip across the ocean and out of Europe: Don’t be nervous, everything will be just fine! I kept saying to myself. And then this became an involuntary soundtrack before my actual flights. Cheers, brain, I know I can always count on you for messing up my sleep and bringing up weird songs before any kind of travelling. 🙂

But now I am here (OMG!) and everything is so great and exciting and new and crazy different, but sometimes also out-of-this-world similar to the Romanian culture. It’s so hard to put in words. Maybe something of a harmonious chaos that we also master in Romania.

One other surprising thing, I understand a lot of the language, it’s incredible! It feels like it was all the time asleep inside of me. This learning process is very exciting for me. I only need to listen carefully and I understand the use of expressions. Love it so much! At times, I even keep up conversations for so long that I forget I am speaking Spanish. Now that’s really something 🙂

The people. Oh my, I don’t even know where to start on this topic. They are very hospitable, kind, patient, welcoming but also curious to know about you and your country. Here in Antigua they get a lot of tourists and they are used to sharing their lives with them. I have been welcomed with open arms into their houses (thank you Charly, Luis, Majo and Elizabeth), I met the extended family with aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas. I’m enjoying small talk during meals at my wonderful home and I have the perfect view on the terrace of my room. Antigua is surrounded by volcanos (Volcan de Agua, Volcan de Fuego and Acatenango)and I am lucky enough to see them all 🙂
What can I say, guys, it was love at first sight with Antigua. Here, el Volcan de Agua, first thing in the morning.

Volcan de Agua is the most beautiful one, standing alone with its blunt peak sometimes wrapped in white clouds. The more cheeky one is called Volcan de Fuego. As his name hints, he is still active and kicking. Sometimes more than once per day. It’s far away so we can’t even hear the explosions many times, but you get such an adrenaline rush to see it by night! Mirna from Probigua Spanish School took a great photo of it the other day. I was overwhelmed at its sight to even move a muscle, but she managed to capture it! Such good timing! The Spanish language schools here in Antigua are renowned all around the world and have become one of the main industries along with tourism.

Volcan de Fuego, Mirna

So enough about how amazing this entire trip is for me, let me walk you around the places so you can get the positive vibes in wonderful Antigua. The city has well preserved Spanish colonial style buildings and many ruins of churches. During the colonial times it also served as the capital of an administrative region that covered most of Central America.

View over entire Antigua from La Cerro de la Cruz.
cerro de la Cruz view over Antigua

La Merced church.

La Merced

Antigua is well known for having elaborate religious ceremonies during important Catholic events such as Cuaresma (40 days before Easter Sunday), the Holy Week (Semana Santa), Easter. I will be here just before Easter time so I will document all the flowers, fruits, pine needles and paint artworks made by the artists to celebrate these events. Here you see Cathedral of San José which is located in the Central Park.

Flare san jose

This is the sight from Palacio de los Capitanes, Plaza Central. In the background, the beautiful Volcan de Agua.
Main Park

The main market. Love the colors of everything here. So many new veggies and fruits I had no idea about. Now wish me luck learning their names in Spanish with no Romanian equivalent. Quiero un camion de nisperos.♥

el mercado

el mercado )


As for me, I wait for good light and spy on people, I’m really enjoying myself out here. 🙂 This is fast healthy food on the street. If you like how one lady is cooking, you usually stick with her. Guacamoooooleee tortilla wrap, yum! ♥

fast food



la luz



Oh, yes, this is me during lunch break soaking up the sun as much as I can before I return home. Keep bright 🙂