Our stay in Guatemala was brief but incredible. We highly recommend you go to Guatemala once in your life and enjoy its volcanoes, its mountains, the warmth of its people, and the color of its culture due to its Mayan roots. For us, Uruguayans from “slightly undulating” lands, it was dazzling to see active volcanoes meters from where we were. We literally sat down to have a coffee while we watched a volcano erupting in front of us. In addition to drinking coffee and enjoying the volcanoes, we rested, went paragliding, and learned about two electrical initiatives: one for mobility and the other for agriculture, electro-culture.
When crossing the border Mexico-Guatemala you immediately feel that there is a change of country because of the mountainous/volcanic landscape and the color of the peoples’ clothing. The most impressive being around Lake Atitlan, our first stop. Lake Atitlan is the deepest in Central America. Do you know where it is located? In a volcanic crater. Yeah, it’s all volcanoes out there. It is surrounded by steep green hills, more volcanoes with impressive sharp cone shapes and different Mayan towns: San Pedro, San Juan, San Marcos, and all other Saints. The main access road to the lake, and where we arrived from, is Panajachel. There was a hotel there with a car charge and incredible views!
We left the car at Panajachel and took a small boat to San Juan. We had heard it was one of the prettiest little towns. The only thing we knew is that it was the home of the Tz’utujiles, a people of Mayan tradition. What a surprise when we arrived! More than a small town, it is an open-air museum. It is a place tinged with works of art where stories are told about characters who have stood out in some activity that is carried out in the town. All the walls of the houses, offices, sports courts or even the floors of the streets are painted, forming incredible murals! You just breath art here.
And all this surrounded by nature: the blue water of the lake and the mountains and volcanoes around. When night falls, the only thing you hear is the sound of different animals, and the only lights are those of the little docks in the lake. For Tuti and Oli it was a place of rest, reconnection and reorganization as we had just come from an intense month in Mexico.
Martin couldn’t resist and went paragliding to another small town, San Marcos. The next day we met again and he made another flight, this time in Panajachel and Oliver was able to go too! Paragliding is always with locals who know the conditions of the place, where you can take off and land. This is even more important in the rainy season, as at any moment a storm can form and break out. You don’t want to be in the sky flying when this happens. In fact, it was in the rain that we drove along winding roads from Lake Atitlan to Antigua, where a friend was waiting for us. Rain was something that really affected us in Central America for photography and filming. There were incredible landscapes when we drove, but in general it rained a lot! We made the most of those moments without rain.
We arrived to the center of Antigua in the late afternoon. We were only going to visit a friend and we ended up getting to know two electrical projects: one for mobility – the Electric Mobility Association of Guatemala (AMEGUA) – and another for agriculture – an Electro-culture project.
AMEGUA is an independent, non-profit organization made up of innovative and visionary companies and individuals, pushing to promote the development of adequate conditions for the transition to electric mobility and alternative technologies in Guatemalan society. We met Juan Botran, the president of the association, who told us about everything they have been working on. So, it is thanks to them that there are so many EV chargers in Guatemala! We also met with Jesse, who is importing the Teslas’ to Guatemala. He is also part of AMEGUA. He is aware that a Tesla is a luxury vehicle, but he hopes that this will help push for other type of electric mobility in Guatemalan society. Thanks to Jesse and Juan who came all the way from Guatemala City just to meet us and tell us about their electric projects!
The next day we learnt about a totally different electrical project, the use of electricity in agricultural production, the use of free energy from the atmosphere to improve production yields: electro-culture. Like electric vehicles, this is not something new. Electro-culture has been around since 1700, only now more attention is being paid to it and, in many parts of the world, large-scale experimentation is being carried out. In Guatemala we met Cristina, he is trying it on his farm, through trial and error, on a small scale. For us, listening to him talk and seeing his creations was surreal, almost like a science fiction movie, antennas to take energy from the atmosphere? Spirals or copper rings next to plant stems? Charge the seeds with magnetic triangles? What benefits does all this bring?
By introducing electricity in the closest environment of the plants, it has been discovered that several changes are generated – for example, metabolic activities such as photosynthesis are accelerated – and this leads to an increase in production per farm, reducing or even, as in the case of Cristian , eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This means having more production and better quality! Contaminant-free food. This is what attracted Cristian to electro-culture since he has a vegan and organic restaurant in the center of Antigua: Café Samsara. For him it was important to have healthy and chemical-free food. This is why he started his organic farm, but soon discovered it is not easy to maintain production.
It was through research that he discovered electro-culture and today he is experimenting on his farm with dozens of different and complementary techniques, some of which are already giving results! Is the future of agriculture electro-culture? That question kept resonating in our heads and we will be attentive to more news from Cristian and research centers worldwide. It seems that electricity gained new strength in this 21st century as a way to solve several of the problems that the 20th century left us. We know that electro-culture sounds crazy but how important it is to always stay open to new discoveries or, in this case, to the re-emergence of knowledge and practices that, for some reason, were forgotten.
Are you open to new ideas or are you deeply rooted in your practices and beliefs?