Indigenous Kaqchiquel girls play on the steps of a centuries-old, earthquake-battered church in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala.  2014
 La Limonada (Lemonade) slum.  Guatemala City, which has one of the highest murder rates in the world, Guatemala.  2014    According to USAID, "2.6 million people – or 40% of the urban population – lived in slums. In Guatemala City, “slum islands”, like La LImonada, are located amidst more affluent, fully serviced areas." 
 "Niño Picapedrero" (child who digs out stones), sits for hours manually shatters rocks into gravel, without protective eyewear, adequate footware or training, to earn money for his family, Retalhuleu Province, Guatemala.  2014
 A severely malnourished indigenous child, whose lost much of his hair to malnutrition, is nursed back to health at the health clinic at Nuestra Ahijados Assoc. in Antigua.  2014   The first 1,000 days of development, from the moment of conception, are a make or break time, researchers say, for physical and intellectual development.  The nutritional deficit during this phase of development cannot be made up for later in life even if the child eats well later in life.  
 Vulnerable targets for forced gang recruitment: Young men sell sweets, cigarettes, etc. on a street corner in the center of Guatemala City.  Urban crime is one of the primary factors for children migrating to the United States and Guatemala City has one of the highest murder rates of any city in the world. 2014
 Help comes too late for one teenaged victim of a high-speed motorcycle accident while "bomberos voluntarios" paramedics attend to the other rider who is fighting for her life.  Bomberos suspected that drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident in Guatemala City's crime-riddled Zone 7.  2014
 A glass of water has been set on the pavement beside the body of a 23 year old motorcyclist who, police alleged, was killed after he and a pistol-wielding accomplice robbed a car on a Guatemala City highway in broad daylight.  During their attempted escape, witnesses said, another driver, watching this very common robbery unfold, sideswiped the motorcycle sending the driver and his accomplice to the pavement, killing the driver.  The injured accomplice escaped on foot into this crime-ridden Zone 7 neighborhood.  Guatemala City, Guatemala.  2014
 Four generations of the Mendez Izaguirre family prepare lunch of corn tortillas and a stew made from a small rodent, possibly a "tuza" (pocket gopher) caught in a trap in their corn field.  The family consists of 18 members, living in several houses of wood, reeds and corrugated tin, on their tiny property.  The tiny, single gopher will be the sole supply of protein for this indigenous Kaqchiquel family's midday meal.  Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala.  2014
 This small rodent, possibly a "tuza" (pocket gopher) caught in a trap in their corn field will be the sole supply of protein for this indigenous Kaqchiquel family of 18 members' midday meal.  Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala.  2014
 Childhood, particularly for girls, in rural Guatemala means hard work to keep the family going.  This indigenous Kaqchiquel girl holds an infant sibling while her mother does laundry by hand at a village structure for open air clothes washing.  Other girls help their mothers by carrying large buckets with water to be used in the washing process.  Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala.  2014
 When the sun goes down, the streets in Guatemala City empty almost immediately because it has one of the highest murder rates in the world.  2014 Guatemala City is one of the most dangerous cities in the world with a 2013 murder rate of 68.4 homicides per 100,000 people, considerably higher than the American cities of Chicago (18.5/100,000), Los Angeles (7.8/100,000 and New York (5.1/100,000).
 Night clerk mesmerized by his calculator in a shop open to the street, but protected by iron bars, in central Guatemala City, Guatemala.  2014  After dark, in Guatemala City people recede behind bars and locked doors, because it has one of the highest crime rates in the world.
 Concrete barriers were erected by police in 2011 to prevent vehicles from entering or leaving Barrio El Gallito for security reasons.  In fact, El Gallito is considered a "red zone", a no-go zone where fire and ambulance crews will still not enter many areas here because of gang activity and the prevalence of illegal fire arms.  The police put up the barriers to prevent drivers mistakenly entering the area because many incursions have resulted in the drivers' being murdered.  This is ground zero for coercive child gang recruitment.  Barrio El Gallito, Zone 3, Guatemala City, Guatemala.  2014
 Emaciated Guatemalan homeless woman with a substance abuse problem patrols her block where she earns money be helping drivers park their cars.  Drug addiction is a big problem in Guatemala city, where illegal drugs and sniffing glue or solvent widely consumed on the streets.  Many adolescent (minor) migrants head north to the United States in an attempt to rid themselves of drug addiction, to get away from street gangs who often brutally beat them or simply to get off the streets.  2014
 An entire city block is covered with placards of the "desaparecidos", the missing from the 36-year civil war in Guatemala City.  Guatemala.  2014  After almost two decades since the war ended, it is still very much on the minds of Guatemaltecos.
 The Idyll: Storm clouds forming over the volcanoes of Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala.  On my first trip to Guatemala in 1986, I was told that the far, south side of the lake was dangerous and to be avoided if possible, which I found puzzling because I had imagined the rebels hiding in the vast jungles that used to clothe El Petén to the north.  The clouds seem to rise from below the horizon adding to the drama because “La Falda”, or the skirt of the volcanic mountain range, where coffee is grown, immediately drops down to the plantations of the coastal plain.  A band of continuous forest clothes the mountains just above the coffee plantations which created a corridor from the Mexican border to the capital for the anti-government guerillas.  In fact, Santiago Atitlan village at the foot of the tallest volcano (center) was the scene of a massacre of 13 villagers by the military four years after that first visit.
 "Niño Picapedrero" (child who digs out stones) working with his father sifting the Panajachel River bed for gravel and sand for the construction industry.  The worker crews dig from sun up to sundown, earning just 40 Quetzals/ cubic meter (US$5/cubic meter), or 70 Quetzals (US$ 8.80)/per worker/day.  The Panajachel River bed has been greatly widened by the digging, tranforming it into a quarry which increases the sediment that is carried to the clear waters of the crater lake, Lago de Atitlan, affecting water quality.  Panajachel, Guatemala.  2014
 Junk food (mostly from the US) have pushed out healthier food choices in corner bodega markets throughout Guatemala, further contributing to the malnutrition crisis.    Guatemala once was self-sufficient in corn production, the country's staple food, but cheaper gov't-subsidized corn from the United States began flowing into the country in the 1990's.    Guatemalan per capita corn production dropped 30% from 1995 to 2005.  Then imported corn prices began to rise sharply in 2007 with demand for corn, for bio-fuel production in the US, to meet new bio-fuel standards, further financially squeezing impoverished Guatemalan consumers.  2014
 A prime, vulnerable target for forced gang recruitment: A young Guatemalan boy tells his story on a Guatemala City - Antigua bus, a refurbished American school bus, before proceeding down the aisle to collect change.  These so-called, "chicken buses", are rather infamous for crime and gang-related shakedowns or even murders of their drivers who refused to pay extortion fees.  In 2014, bombs were even thrown aboard such buses to punish drivers.
 A teenaged indigenous Kaqchiquel girl sells sweets to foreign tourists in Antigua.  Often such vendors live in the mountain villages surrounding Antigua, where they have farms that do not produce enough produce to meet their families' needs.  Antigua, Guatemala.  2014
 A Guatemalan girl prepares to cross the Rio Suchiate with family from Guatemala to the Mexican side of the river without a passport or any other documents, which is typical along the porous Guatemala-Mexico border.  2014     The Rio Suchiate valley, in the shadow of Tacana Volcano, on the Mexican side, is a major gateway into Mexico and on to the United States border.
prev / next