Antigua’s NGOs capital of the world


Veggie Oil Bus, originally uploaded by rudygiron.

For being such a small city, Antigua has more non-governmental organizations (NGOs, thanks anonymous) based here than maybe any city in Central America. NGOs or private voluntary organization (PVO) are tough cookie to swallow and there seems to be two camps on the subject: the ones that say NGOs are necessary and the ones that think NGOs are useless and even harmful to poor countries.

My very short experience is that they are usually run by locals, Guatemalan in this case, who are paid in Guatemalan salaries, in quetzales (Guatemalan coin, about US$1 buys 8 quetzales), and live in the towns around Antigua, while the appointed directors or administrators are European or U.S. citizens and they are paid with first world salaries, in Dollars or Euros, and live in Antigua. So far, NGOs appear to replicate the unjust system they are trying to alleviate.

On the photo you see a bus powered by veggie oil driven all the way here from San Francisco, California, so they told me.

Sidenote:
I want to thank the 1.190 visitors who made 1.769 visits to the Antigua Daily Photo in its first 31 days of existence. Also, I enjoy very much all your comments; keep them coming.

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