I ended up about 5kms down a dirt road off the main route in Guatemala one day on the recommendation of someone else. It took me to Las Pozas, a magnificent riverside camp and events area. The handcrafted farm with soccer pitches, zip lines, fishing, camping, rope swings and a little bar, right next to the most amazing set of river falls in the world was the works of Jose Blanco.
Jose had spent the last decade or so, manicuring this site for all to enjoy. I was surprised to find out he had once lived "The American Dream", spending about ten years in the USA and some time in Canada, he still held an I.D. card to come and go as he pleased from the U.S.A..
Jose told me about how he got the I.D. card and that day he was so worried about knowing all the facts about the USA to pass the test as he entered the examination room. Upon arrival he began chatting to the lady conducting the test and realized he had talked to her just the day before in a shoe store he was picking his nephew up at and had been very helpful and polite to her despite not knowing she might help influence his fate the very next day. Oddly he passed the test with a little studying and a little luck.
Some time later he had started his own painting business and during this period he was up for another exam to achieve immigration papers. He arrived nervous once again to get the paperwork under control while they examined his background and time in the USA, again he started to chat with the lady who would be working on his case that was to take several months to complete. She realized that he had in fact painted her house recently for a fair price and had done an excellent job. Jose's paperwork was complete and he was a legal immigrant in a record couple of days. Jose tells me that he never once did anything wrong while in the USA and that if your a good person then life is easy.
He realized that maybe the American Dream wasn't all he hoped it might be and ended up back in Guatemala caring for his parents before they passed away then took over the family land and developed it into a place for all to enjoy. He continually showed up with various foods and fruits for me to try while I was camping at his place & he was so damn happy just to be able to share it with everyone that came I had to interview him about life.
A few things we're lost in translation and my second camera died right off the start, thou it should give you an overall idea of Jose and his love of life.