University students collect money for La Huelga de Dolores.


Guatemala City, Guatemala, March 8, 2001--

Everywhere masked students are collecting money for the Guatemalan version of Carnival. La Huelga de Dolores--the strike of the aggrieved--is a day when people parade mocking the government. It is also a day of remembrance of martyred student leaders and military dictatorships of the very recent past.

In the Lenten processions of the season Ladino and Mayan people bear extremely heavy wooden images of the crucified savior and his suffering mother--the Virgin of Sorrows--on their shoulders.

In Antigua, children spend hours making colorful "rugs" of flowers, colored rice and fruits in the streets. The procession of suffering will destroy them in minutes. In a neighboring village other children dance while sniffing glue and throwing the 18th Street gang sign.

Even at the wedding I photograph the emotions are mixed. The bride receives gifts and wipes tears from her eyes often. Someone whispers in my ear that she looks very pregnant.



Guatemala, March 18