Defining moments

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Defining moments

Photographing the Mayor of Antigua, President of Guatemala and President of Taiwan on Arc Street, then feeling like paparazzi as I was almost trampled by Taiwanese journalists.Hiking up Pacaya Volcano, frequently having to stop and take breaks so I wouldn’t shit my pants, then roasting colorful marshmallows over the volcano with sticks we found.

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Symbols of Guatemala

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Symbols of Guatemala

Which images of Guatemala symbolize my new understanding of Guatemalan cultura. Hmm.Well there are the things you might expect. The cobblestone streets of Antigua, because pavement is expensive. The face of Felix the coffee farmer, darkened by long hours in the harsh sunlight. The beautiful landscape of Hobbitenango, the Lord-of-the-Rings themed hotel and restaurant. The colorful chicken busses on every other corner.

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America died while I was in Guatemala

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America died while I was in Guatemala

Okay, maybe that headline is a little dramatic. But that’s what it felt like as I was lounging in my hammock in San Pedro La Laguna, overlooking Lake Atitlan. That’s what it felt like as I was receiving snapchats from my friends driving to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

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Juxtapositions

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Juxtapositions

For me, the images that symbolize the culture of Guatemala are the juxtapositions between old Mayan tradition and new advancements in technology.

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Passion and pingpong

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Passion and pingpong

There are two moments from my time in Guatemala that I will hold on to forever. The first was when we met JP Fuentes, the head of Los Patojos. As he told us about his story and how he ran away from everything only to come back and start this school, I was struck by his passion and compassion for his hometown.

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Disconnected

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Disconnected

I have never been someone who has been overly attached to my phone. That being said, I enjoy sharing memories on apps such at Instagram or Facebook through the pictures that I take.

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Just another gringo

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Just another gringo

Guatemala seemed more familiar to me than most of the places I’ve been to in the United States. I felt more at home in the climate, on the dusty streets, and with the brown-skinned people. I grew up in the Philippines, which was once a colony of Spain, and I found that Guatemala was very similar to the Philippines.

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Salmon in the river

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Salmon in the river

I walk into the market with my mind barred and alert, trying to avoid sensory overload. People trickle like a river and we seem to be walking into them like salmon. I hold my camera, itching for a moment to use it.“That sign says to watch your belongings,” Josiah says. Now I am gripping my camera less for use, more for security.

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Zone out in maize fields

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Zone out in maize fields

Through the window of the car, I could see the maize fields go on to what felt like forever. I was trying to see my country through their eyes. Mattie and Alayna were beside me, soaking a new facet of Guatemala, different from touristic Antigua.

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The other side of the camera

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The other side of the camera

Norman Teague leans in the doorway of the hotel, his right leg crossed over so that the heel of his black boot touches the toe of his left. His left hand edges out of his pocket, as if indifferent to being either in or out.

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Vanessa

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Vanessa

Vanessa and I met over a year ago. I met her at a conference where she was selling garments, and we just got along. I bombarded her with many questions about textiles and she politely and enthusiastically responded to my strange interrogation. I didn't know if she was going to remember me when I contacted her a few days ago, but she did.

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Social Media

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Social Media

I am awful at keeping connected to social media. I have many friends all around the world, but I rarely keep in contact with them. The only way I remember to message them is when I get notifications on my phone. This caused me to be even more disconnected in Guatemala than I usually am.

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Shedding a true light

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Shedding a true light

My group, the Aqua Sloths, wrote stories about an Antigua tattoo shop, the Guatemalan dating culture, and Virgen Del Soccorro, a home for disabled residents.

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Me llamo Jorge Luis

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Me llamo Jorge Luis

He smiles at me every time I glance at him, but I try not to look too often. I avoid pointing my camera at him. The idea seems uncivil. I am not here to photograph his arm that he clutches toward him or his hand that dangles at the wrist, the wheelchair that he leans against or his tongue that pops out every now and again.

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Guatemalan Sources

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Guatemalan Sources

I think our Guatemalan sources will be overjoyed to see what we made! The purpose of the magazine was to tell the story of Guatemalans and show what the country is like though the lives of individuals and we did just that.

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Doña Trinis

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Doña Trinis

Her smile was as warm as the day, and she welcomed us to her house with open arms. The smoke from the wood oven and afternoon sunlight created a surreal atmosphere behind Maria Trinidad Santos.

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Catocho

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Catocho

One of the most defining moments for my experience in Guatemala was having conversations and interactions with my friend Catocho at the resident home.

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