I recently had the opportunity to do research in Guatemala through the class Design For Extreme Affordability at Stanford University. My team and I were partnered with the company Ecofiltro, a manufacturer of water filters, and during an 8 day crash course we visited a variety of different rural communities and schools. Most of these photos are taken from schools, where Ecofiltro distributes and donates its water filters.
To travel through rural Guatemala is to walk a fine between striking beauty and devastating poverty. Each deserve the appropriate amount of attention, and both can very easily overcome and engulf you.
Culturally, Guatemala is extremely diverse. Villages separated by only a few kilometers will speak entirely different languages and women's village of origin can be identified by their intricately hand woven clothing patterns. In some places we were more welcome than others, and it was often hard to shake the shameful feeling of being the patronizing gringo come to save victims of the third world, but no matter where we went the schools were filled with children and joy and it was never too difficult to find glimpses of beauty.