John Moore’s: An Immigrant’s Journey

One of Moore’s images showing immigrants crossing into Mexico from Guatemala.

Getty Images photographer John Moore took his coverage of immigration stories a step further when he traveled  to the Mexico-Guatemala border, where Central American immigrants cross the Suchiate River, beginning their long and perilous journey north through Mexico. View his images here.

On my way to Tapachula to get a visa renewed, I witnessed people openly crossing the Guatemalan/Mexican border on rafts just below the bridge where immigration officers are checking documents for those who cross legally. They were going both ways.

Those headed north may have been just starting their journey to attempt a border crossing into the USA. Those heading south had loads of products, gasoline, etc. that they were not-so subtly smuggling into Guatemala where untaxed gas is openly sold along the highways at nearly $1.30 (US) cheaper than the going rate at legal gas stations.

Nepal: Land of People, Kings, and Mountains

Nepal is located between India and China.

Part I — Nepal: People & Places

Nestled in the Himalayan Mountains between Tibet, China; and India sits the nation of Nepal.  This is a land full of nearly anything you can imagine.  From Hindu pagodas and Mount Everest to villages filled with evidence of the 2,500-year-old Nepal culture and history;2 you can find people from around the world, history like nowhere else, and the majestic mountain vistas offered only by the Himalayas.

Politics

Historic

Nepal has a lengthy history tied to Tibet, China, India, and some influence from the British colonial days.3  According to a Library of Congress article, Nepal has existed as a kingdom in the Kathmandu Valley for some 1,500 years.3

In 1743 modern Nepal rose from the slopes and valleys of the Himalayas valleys under the House of Gorkha led by King Prithvi Narayan Shah.4 King Prithvi desired to unify the many separate kingdoms throughout what is now Nepal.  By force he conquered many principalities until he held strategic positions around the Kathmandu Valley.  When Kathmandu was captured in 1769, it became the capital of the future Nepal.  King Prithvi continued to extend his kingdom until his death in 1775. (Compare to US history, this was one year before independence was declared from Great Britian.)  The influence of King Prithvi had brought many ethnically and religiously diverse people together under one national ruler and established guidelines for the nation’s foreign policy for centuries to follow. 4

In the early 19th century, the House of Gorkha came into conflict with the British East India Company and sparked the AngloNepalese War (1814 -16) which proved disastrous for Nepal and reduced the kingdom to its present size.3  Soon after, a period of Nepal’s own politics followed under what is called the Rana Rule.  This was the rule of hereditary dictators which began in 1846 and lasted more than a century.3  These dictators used their positions as heads of state and the support of the military to build stability for the country. This provided Nepal with a time for growth but the oppressive dictators greatly inhibited political and economic development by secluding the country from other nations and strictly limiting internal affairs. Continue reading

Experience as an outsider

November 4, 1998

 

Being an outsider from what is considered the norm is, for most people, undesirable.  While most people want to be different from others, they do not want to be an outsider who stands out as someone who does not know or is unaware of cultural norms and values.

In 1995, a friend and I spent two months in South America.  Most of the time I was in Santiago, Chile, teaching English to first through sixth graders at a school.  I remember the first time my friend and I went to visit the school.

My friend Sam and I had purchased nice felt hats at a tourist market and decided to wear them to the school that first day.  We knew that we stuck out as foreigners but the hats did not help at all..  While the hats may have been in keeping with the traditional Chilean culture, we soon realized hats of that sort were not worn by very many people in the city.  We successfully became the object of many stares as we made our way down the street trailing our host.  When we got back from the school that afternoon we stored our hats for the remainder of the trip.  Continue reading

Six Weeks in Asia

 In fulfillment of the International Community Development  Internship, I spent May 14 through June 28 in central Asia.  The seven-member team of which I was a part, was active in various forms of assistance and evangelism in the nations of Nepal, Bhutan, and India.

Overview

Our itinerary sent us all across the area of northern India and Nepal and briefly into Bhutan.  The entire internship can be separated into three segments:  Conferences, Trekking/Medical assistance, and Discipleship.

Conferences

Our conference itinerary sent us to the Nepal-India border town of Karkavitta, Nepal, for our first conference.  Then we took an overnight bus to Kathmandu, Nepal, where we painted at a youth center and lead another conference.  After nine days in Kathmandu, we rode in a bus and jeeps to the Bhutanese border of India where we attended a secret pastor’s conference in Bhutan, an extremely anti-Gospel nation.  During that week we also led a youth conference in Jaigon, India. During the conferences, I spoke (through a translator) on the topics of: “Growing in the Lord”, “Destiny”, and “The Armor of God”.

+Spiritual needs

The Karkavitta conference there was attended by people who had traveled more than three days specifically for the conference.  Beginning on a Sunday night, the conference sessions continued until noon on Wednesday, May 20.  It was a joy to see a visiting Hindu teacher accept Christ while others rededicated their lives to the Lord.

The Kathmandu conference was aimed more for youth of Kathmandu so we spent time of fellowship in small groups and playing sports with them.  This time of fellowship was a good time to get to know the people and showed them that we are real people who enjoy life just like they do.

The final conference we preached was in Jaigon located on the border of Bhutan and India.  Bhutan is one of the most closed nations to the Gospel.  Persecution of believers is continual in this tiny nation nestled in the tropical foothills between India and Tibet. Continue reading

A product of my culture

September 23, 1998

Some students go to a museum of art or a symphony to “get cultured.”  But, in a much different way, I have already been cultured and continue to experience the affects of what my culture is in nearly everything I think, say, and do.

An individualized work ethic and desire for purpose in the things I do has been ingrained into me.  I gathered a purpose-oriented mind-set from the individualized learning and studying I did at the Christian school I attended and the farm where I was raised.  With this mind-set, I get many things accomplished, but sometimes I wonder if I am not merely doing “things” for the sake of doing them.  While I enjoy people and working with them very much, if I’m not doing something or going somewhere with a purpose I feel uncomfortable and out of my “cultural zone.” 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

The Importance of Intercultural Communication Skills

Why Intercultural Communication Skills are Important to Me

I have often heard people say, “The world is getting smaller.” Yes, in a sense it is true more people are coming into contact with different people as travel and communication across the globe increases Since each of us will, no doubt, be coming into contact with someone from a culture different from our own, it is necessary for us to be able to communicate.  If we are unable to communicate with other cultures, we will become completely centered on our own culture and miss out on the blessings and ideas found in other cultures.

Intercultural communication is important to me, not only to gain from other cultures, but so I can understand others better.  Each person I meet has different backgrounds and a culture different from my own.  Whether as part of an occupation or in a friendship, understanding differences in culture helps me to be more understanding and enjoy the value of our different qualities. 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

Bus Stop

While my friend and I were in Santiago, Chile, we were waiting for a city bus and learned from the trials of a mass transportation systems.  Our bus came and our bus went, leaving us waving our hands frantically in the dusty air.

Since this was the first time that we had actually tried to hail a bus on our own, we thought we must be doing something wrong.  When our blue city bus came into sight, we made sure to signal exactly as we had been taught and to stand where we definitely could be seen.  No luck.  We were still left standing with our hands in the air.

On the third time there was a Chilean waiting for the same bus, so we were sure that he would be able to get the driver to stop.  Wrong again!  When we saw a couple of police officers standing nearby, we realized that we must be trying to get on at an illegal bus stop.  After walking the extra three blocks to a true bus stop, we caught the next bus and finally made our way to our destination —  a little late yet a little wiser.

 

Maycom Drivers License Offices in Guatemala

Maycom manages the licensing of drivers in Guatemala.

Where can you get your drivers license in Guatemala? Here’s a list of Maycom offices where you can get your license. Remember that in some departments they Maycom only visits a couple times a year so you’ll have to check for local opportunities to get your license.

 

GUATEMALA CITY:

Zona 9:
6 avenida 1-60 zona 9 View Map

Roosevelt:
5ª. Avenida 0-60 zona 02 de Mixto, colonia Cotió, al final de la Calzada Roosevelt View Map

Metronorte:
Centro Comercial Metronorte, 2do. Nivel, local 402, zona 17 View Map

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QUETZALTENANGO:

19 avenida 2-50 zona 1 View Map

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ZACAPA:

Km. 125.5 Carretera al Atlántico, Río Hondo, Zacapa View Map

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MOBILE OFFICES:

Click here for mobile office schedules

 

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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET YOUR LICENSE? Continue reading