Life in a Guatemalan Village | Rambling Canvas
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Devon Barker Stills & Motion -  Yepocapa, Guatemala

Life in a Guatemalan Village

Yepocapa, Chimaltenango – Guatemala is a bustling little town. With one major road running through it that connects the western side of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain range with the pacific coast. I called Yepocapa home for three months as  I worked on Siglo: A Century in The Soil alongside Director of Photography, Sarah Schwab and our crew. While “Yepo” hosts families from the entire region for it’s daily street market, we spent the majority of our time out in the fields with local small-plot coffee farmers (Campesinos/sinas) who are part of the San Pedrana Cooperativa. The coffee trade is a changing industry in Guatemala, and while I won’t go into detail (you can watch the film for that!), suffice to say it’s  a complicated situation. Blessed with high altitude, cool temps, and an endless supply of fresh volcanic soil thanks to Volcan De Fuego, the farmers here enjoy perfect coffee growing conditions. Here’s just a few of my favorites of day to day life.


Our day wouldn’t be complete without at least one visit to the Tortilleria on our street. Just look for the kids running around out front, the tin window sign “tres tiempos” and the sweet smell of maiz tortillas!



Just never know how the day will shape up. We made a trip with the leaders of the Co-op to Antigua to visit a dry mill. These raised dry beds are full of honey processed Geisha.





One of the local farmers measuring the distance between rows during a visit to one of the larger Fincas near Antigua. Gotta take notes!



No sunday is complete without a visit with Papa Leon and Mama Lipa



Literally a truck full of goats.



Nothing says “you’re at the mercy of the volcano” more than pummice falling out of the sky.



Sarah Schwab takes a moment to enjoy the view of town from El Pilar



Taking a break after a hard day of cutting coffee. The large Fincas of Antigua draw workers from miles around, many of them using bicycles for their daily commute.



Looking down from the slopes of Volcan De Acatenango. Yepocapa and the town of Acatenango can be seen down in the valley with Lago Atitlan and it’s surrounding Volcanoes in the distance.


“How do you spell your name?” Constantly working on our spanish alphabet!


We can always use another assistant.



We brought an old Polaroid Land camera and a few boxes of Fuji FP-100C with us to take portraits of the farmers and their families to leave behind as mementos. Here Don Pedro poses with his son and grandsons.



Gearing up to shoot Don Evaristo and his honey bees.



The Toyota pickup or chicken bus are the standard modes of transportation around rural Guatemala. We spent plenty of time bouncing down jungle roads on our way to the farms and running around Antigua.



Kaydee taught PE at Collegio Berea (a locally founded non-profit school) and the last of our time in Yepo we were invited to photograph and film as well.



Catuai micro-lot dries and getting ready to head out!



Since most of the coffee grown in Yepo gets shipped out, I had to go in search of another morning planning beverage. Dried Cacao tea it is.



It is such an honor to be welcomed into a family regardless of what country you are in.


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