Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Santa Alicia After Rain

Christopher Scheirer

My friend Christopher and I went motorcycle riding today. We have, over the past week, made excursions to areas that were inundated with rains from the tropical storm, Agatha. Today, a few few kilometers south of San Lucas Toliman, we spent time talking with local residents and photographing some of the most recent damage. The photographs that follow are from today's excursion. They hardly need explanation or commentary, but in a few instances that is done.

There were two deaths in in Santa Alicia, but all who lived there are now homeless. The most dramatically damaged area was at the Finca Patzibir.

As I sit writing this the rains, after a six day lull, have begun again. In my 16 years in Guatemala, without exception, I have never known such a tormenta.

The finca Patzibir: No homes remain. The landslide, water, mud, stones began about one-half mile away on volcano Toliman. The rubble followed a riverbed and covered the highway, washed out bridges, and completely covered all the small homes near the finca. Only the finca's coffee drying shed and a small church survived.

This is all that remains of one of the larger and more beautiful pilas (pools for water collection and washing) that was an often visited feature of the finca. The pila was approximately 75 x 75 feet and four feet deep. It was the main water source for the aldea (small populated area). The sides are destroyed and what remains is filled with large stones, downed trees and mud.

Don Pedro: His home, about a half-mile away, survived. Today he gathered wood and talked with two curious gringos.

Two young women in the bottom of a deep river bed are looking for a way to the top. They are carrying plastic containers for water.

This gentleman, with hammer and small chiesel says he will break this stone into smaller pieces; he thinks it will take him about six weeks.

Same optimistic man with stone.

have I witnessed such a storm as this. Tropical storm Agatha split a giant tree 35 feet away and buried a lot of people alive. That was about 10 days ago. But this storm - yowza. I heard a firecracker go off to see my metal framed door light up with Saint Elmos fire followed by a deafening crack that must have touched within half a mile."

(Sidney James Taylor, writing on Facebook during today's rain.)

It continues to rain.


  1. Great photos Tom. I've been wanting a motorcycle for awhile. I've had seven of them, some enduros. I want a Honda 650. I guess I'll have to ride one back from the USA. Any alternative ideas. A new one would cost a fortune here. What do you and your buddy ride?


  2. Is this not Finca Pampojila?? Directly below San Lucas Toliman???

  3. Tom - Thank you for your pictures & commentary. We are always glad to see what Christopher is doing. Such a tragic situation for so many people in Guatemala.
    Christopher's mom & dad- Paula & Jim