Model Release App : Easy Release

Getting model releases signed and organized has always been a hassle for photographers and videographers especially when they ‘re on the move. Now “there’s an app for that” too!

Now photographers can use their tablet or smart phones to get the releases signed and even translated on the go! Then you can have the Getty Images-ready release e-mailed to you in jpeg or PDF form ready for archiving. The releases even include a ID image so you can visually match the shoot to your images later on!

What a great idea! I’d love to try this one out

Easy Release by ApplicationGap replaces inconvenient paper release forms with a slick, streamlined model release app designed by professional photographers for professional photographers.

via Model Release App : Easy Release by ApplicationGap : HOME.

Our Debt: A Fire Out of Control

This is a short essay I wrote while a freshman at college in 1996. Things have gotten worse since then.

Our national debt began like a necessary, comfortable fire but has grown into a blazing inferno that is devouring our resources. Some have said that debt is the price of freedom or a “necessary evil” because that money was needed to kindle the financing of our fledgling nation and our war for independence.
According to Robert Burn’s article, “Born in Hock” in The Kansas City Star on March 1, 1993, our debt began with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and by 1789 was at $77 million. That was 38 times larger than our governments yearly revenue! Because of government concern about the debt, they were able to reduce the debt to a mere $38,000 by 1893, even after the costly Civil War.
Since 1893 our nation has increasingly lost consciousness about our financial status. Our debt has increased with each war and even reached the $1 trillion mark in 1981. Looking back we can see that our nation went through two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, but the shocking fact is that since 1981 our debt has more than quadrupled and now stands at the enormous amount of $5.2 trillion. The Linn County News of August 28, 1996 quotes our debt at $5,213,488,943,748.22, a nearly incomprehensible number. On a scale where five inches equals $1 billion, $5.2 trillion is more than 2,085 feet away. That is longer than six football fields end to end or $19,629.55 for every man, woman and child in America (based on a population of 263.5 million people)! Continue reading

How to: Banking in Guatemala

Banking outside of your home country can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. With a little help and patience, you can transfer, access and use money anywhere in the world. Especially with online banking, it’s easier than ever to manage your finances from wherever your road takes you. Here are some tips from my experience as a foreigner living and banking in Guatemala.

How to get money from the U.S. to Guatemala

1) You can bring cash with you (Up to US$10,000 can be brought in  with out declaring it.) but then you’ll have to go to the trouble of

keeping it and yourself safe until you can deposit it in a bank or use it. (Note: you’ll need your passport with you to exchange this money into local currency at the bank.

2) You can use an ATM card to withdraw up to your daily limit. Just be sure to notify your bank that you’ll be doing this or they’ll lock your card down like Fort Knox.

3) I recommend that you have a bank account in the U.S. that receives funds for you and then take checks with you to Guatemala. By writing a check to yourself you can deposit money to your account in Guatemala (see more on this below). Continue reading

Helpful codes for Tigo in Guatemala

Tigo logo

Here are some of the cellphone codes that I use regularly with my Tigo phone:

Check Voice Mail

Dial *77  to check messages (Press 3 to delete messages, 7 to listen again, and 5 to save the message for later)

Check Your Balance

Dial *256 to check your balance (You’ll hear three balances: 1) Your total balance. 2) Your principal balance (actual money you have on your account, and 3) Your promotional balance.  Then you’ll hear the date that your promotional balance will expire unless you add money to your account.) Continue reading

Tip for Selling Your Car in Guatemala

If you have ever sold a car in Guatemala, it’s important to make sure it is no longer legally in your name!
A fellow missionary, Marty, found out that a car he sold was still in his name. Read his story…

Last week I came face to face with this in an unexpected way. I purchased a used vehicle and in the process of the transfer (traspaso) of the title, I was told that one of my 3 vehicles was overdue for the calcomania payments for 2011 and 2012. But I only had 2 vehicles; or so I thought. I sold my 1992 Chevrolet Suburban. It turns out this buyer never completed the title transfer. When I found out he had not completed the transfer of the title, I de-activated the license plates. I could do this, since in the eyes of Guatemala law, I was still the owner. It cost me about Q1,000 for the 2 calcomanias for 2011 and 2012, a tramitador and several misc. expenses and almost two days of my time.  ~ Marty

Marty said I could share his tips on how to make sure you really sell your car in the eyes of the government:

Here’s how to do it:
Go to any SAT office and simply ask for a “reposicion de tarjeta de NIT”. While there with the clerk, ask for a list of all vehicles in your name. If there is one still listed that you sold at any time in the past, and you have no idea where it is you should start the the process for “Inactivacion de placas”. You will want to apply for “Retiro definitive”, not “Retiro temporal” unless you know where the car is located and can convince the “owner” to complete the title transfer and pay back taxes and/or other unpaid expenses, if any. If you don’t deactivate the plates, you are legally responsible for any and all costs due to accidents, crimes, unpaid traffic violations, past due taxes (yearly calcomanias) and late tax payment fees related to a vehicle with a title still in your name.

Thanks for the tip Marty! Click here for tips on buying a car in Guatemala.

FYI:
Marty wanted to pass this along too…If anyone tries to sell this car to you or anyone you know, there may be problems in getting it licensed now that the license plates have been invalidated.
1992 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 S silver and dark blue
Placas: P-813BFH
Serie (Serial number): 1GNFK16KXNJ325539
Motor: KNJ325539S
Chassis: KNJ325539
Poliza: 3292 ( Aduana in Santo Tomas de Castilla)

Comadrona en la Ciuidad de Guatemala

Una familia en frente de la clinica.

Centro De Parto Natural
Mientras que las parteras mayas o comadronas son comunes en el campo de Guatemala, la búsqueda de una partera que hable inglés en Guatemala puede ser difícil. Lo mejor que podemos decir es que encontramos a la única partera entrenada en Estados Unidos, de habla inglés en la ciudad de Guatemala cuando encontramos a Hannah Friewald en el Centro de Parto Natural, donde se especializa en los nacimientos en agua y tiene uno de los pocos, si no el único, centro de nacimiento en agua en toda América Central.

Historia de Hannah
Hannah es de Alemania, donde los partos en casa son la norma. Se ha rodeado de eso toda su vida y también habla perfectamente el inglés. Se formó en los Estados Unidos a través de la Maternidad La Luz en El Paso, Texas, y también está certificada en Guatemala (que puede ser una cosa importante si su seguro médico internacional sólo ofrece cobertura para la atención médica certificada).
Hannah ha trabajado como matrona desde hace años y ha asistido a unos 1.400 nacimientos a partir de mayo del 2011. Ella dijo que nunca ha perdido un bebé, e incluso habló de un par de bebés de nalgas que ha dado a luz y algunos bebés VBAC (Nacimiento Vaginal Después de la Cesárea) que tambien ha dado a luz, junto con un par de situaciones de emergencia. Ella ha dio a luz a bebés de los embajadores de un par de diferentes países de Europa, aquí en Guatemala y parece tener un horario lleno.
Nos quedamos muy contentos con el cuidado que nos dio a nosotros durante el parto de nuestro primer hijo. Ella se ocupó de nuestro parto de 31 horas con un enfoque profesional y atento que nos ayudó a tener la experiencia de parto que siempre quisimos. Sin duda, nos volveremos con Hannah cuando tengamos la oportunidad.
Continue reading

How to buy a car in Guatemala.

Here’s how to buy a vehicle in Guatemala:

1. Find the vehicle you want.

First do your research to get a feel for what you need and what is quality.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I going to be in the mountains, the city, or where?
  2. Do I need a truck, 4×4, van, car, etc.
  3. How many people will I need to carry?

Here are some good resources to check or keep in mind:

  • Research
  • Key words:
    • Rodado = brought down from the U.S. (often had some sort of accident)
    • Agencia = made in or for Guatemala (often has speedometer in kilometers) (often valued higher than Rodado)
    • Tramitador = a person who helps with paperwork for various legal ranglings
    • Taller de mechanica = a mechanic shop
    • Frenos = brakes
    • Llantas = tires
    • Aciete = oil
    • Oxido = rust

Continue reading

How to Make Brown Sugar

My husband loves cookies, but most of his favorite recipes call for brown sugar. Here in Guatemala we haven’t found a good source for brown sugar that is like what we could get in the states. Oh, they have brown colored sugar that they sell in the Dispensa Familiar for about US$1.60 for a bag but it’s not the same. Recently, we discovered that we can make brown sugar on our own!

First you have to find molasses. We asked around and found two sources:
1) Guatemala City

There’s a little baking supply shop in San Cristobal in the shopping center located on the opposite side of the boulevard from Burger King/Cemaco. I don’t have the name right now, but I’ll try to add it later.

They charge by the pound for the molasses (about Q15/lb.) but that’ll make a bunch of brown sugar!
2) Quetzaltenango (Xela)

The Bake Shop is at 18 Av 1-40, Zone 3. Hours are 9am-6pm, Tuesday and Friday.

I’ve heard they have molasses but I don’t know the pricing.

Molasses and a cup of white sugar ready for combination!

Once you have your molasses on hand here’s the recipe:

1 cup of white sugar (non-sulfurized is best but you can use regular granulated sugar)

1 tablespoon of molasses

Mix these together. (You can add more or less of the molasses to have darker or lighter results.)

I found that the molasses kinda balls up in the sugar but a fork will mash it against the side of the bowl and mix it in really nicely!

Pour one tablespoon of molasses into one cup of sugar.

 

Use a fork or mixer to mash the molasses into the sugar until it is well mixed and fluffy!.

After you get the mix you like, store the fresh brown sugar in an airtight container, place on top of oatmeal, or mix up your next batch of cookies!

Fluffy new brown sugar on our oatmeal cereal breakfast!

 

I got this idea from Joy the Baker!

Speciality baby supplies in Guatemala

I found a place to get speciality baby supplies (including breast pumps) in Guatemala! They continually have a variety of products and can ship items across the country very quickly!

Check it out at Babby Place (sic) on Facebook and get the baby items you need! You can email them at babyplacegt@hotmail.com to request something if you don’t see it on their Facebook site.

After my baby was born at a natural childbirth clinic in Guatemala City, I found that I needed a breast pump and they’re not easy to find in Guatemala. Thanks to La Leche League leaders in Xela, I found out about Babby Place and was able to have a shipped to me in just a few days! I paid through a money transfer at a local BanRural Bank. Just be aware that the shipping is sent as a pay-on-delivery so it cost about Q40 to receive the package.

If you’re looking for a good connection to specialty baby products and you’re in Guatemala, give Babby Place a try.

Here’s another source of baby/kid supplies and accessories that I found in Guatemala City.

International Health Insurance for Expatriates

We live abroad and we want international health insurance for our family. While companies that provide international health insurance are many, we wanted something that provided some key options:

  • Reasonably good coverage (of course!)
  • Maternity coverage
  • A track record of good service to customers (see reviews)
  • A high deductible option,
  • Coverage inside and outside the U.S.,
  • Inexpensive, money-saving rates

We searched around, talked to fellow expatriates and discovered some options. Below is a break down on what we found.

(UPDATE!) After reviewing a number of options, we chose to go with IMG  but after a good year and a half of using them they increased their costs for the maternity rider by some 60%. So we dropped them and switched to a Guatemalan insurance that includes coverage in the States for when we visit. Now we use Seguros GyT.

International insurance options we checked out:

 

 

Global Medical Insurance from IMG (International Medical Group) Continue reading