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Sanarate, El Progreso, Guatemala, Central America.





Village of Chiquirines

Chiquirines is actually a rural property located between the villages of Agua Dulce and El Caracol, in the vicinity of the banks of the Motagua river. The owner of the farm must be expressly asked for permission in order to enter and visit him. The journey to reach this place starting from the central park of the city of Sanarate takes 35 minutes, and the vehicle of choice is a four-wheel drive truck or a motorcycle.

During the journey, pass through the villages El Conacaste, Sabaneta and Laguna de San Jacinto along the road towards El Carmen, then you take the detour to Cerro Blanco. When you reach a fork on the road, you take the detour towards Agua Dulce. However, the final stretch of the journey, which is about a kilometer after passing through the village of Agua Dulce, has to be made on an “off-road” motorcycle, as there is no access for four-wheeled vehicles, taking care to do it very cautiously since the road is tough to drive with lots of ballast and loose stone in addition to the steep slope of the land located at the foot of a hill.

The name of "Chiquirines" was taken from an insect that is very abundant in the summer months from March to May and which is known in Guatemala by the name of "chiquirín” or “chicharra", which in turn represents the onomatopoeia of his monotonous singing, perched in the branches of trees and issuing a "chiquirín... chiquirín... chiquirín..."   This insect is the "cicada" (cicada orni). The Brazil tree, which is the tree of choice for the chiquirines who spend the day and part of the night mating and singing on its branches, is very abundant in this area, particularly in the Chiquirines farm.

The owner of the farm is primarily dedicated, to the breeding of fish of the "tilapia" species in a pond built with the assistance of Guatemala’s Department of Agriculture and Nutrition. The pond has plenty of pure water, which comes from a spring that flows from the rock located only a few yards from where the pond is located. From this activity, the owner of the farm makes enough money to support his family and provide work for two other families who live in rustic homes on the property, providing him with an adequate income. In addition, he also cultivates the traditional crops of the region and breeds domestic animals to prop up his own financial position and to improve the diets of the three families who live on the property. For transportation, he uses a powerful Scrambler-type motorcyle to go to the nearby village of Agua Dulce to acquire his provisions.

For entertainment, the landlord’s house has a satellite dish parabolic antenna through which a company provides satellite TV service consisting of 4 national channels and 28 channels of the major global networks. For health services they must travel to the city of Sanarate, just like the residents of the villages of Agua Dulce and El Caracol must do, since they do not have a health clinic, although they do have a school for students from the first to the sixth grade.

The most important peculiarity of this farm is its peace and tranquility which, for a good part of the year, are livened up by the relaxing chant of the chiquirines.

tono herrera gudiel

Report and Photos:
Jorge H. Herrera

Photo No. 6:

Translation to Ukrainian and Russian:
Світлана Шинкарук

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