Rodrigo Abd of the AP has a story on how cemeteries in Guatemala City are both festive places and places of sorrow long after relatives are buried.
In Guatemala, which has one of the highest mortality rates in the world and where violence is rampant, burial grounds have transformed into social spaces where relatives and friends of the deceased drink and dance as photographers are hired to take pictures and musicians play during funerals. Meanwhile, workers exhume bodies from plots that are behind on their payments, street peddlers set up shop and children play hide-and-seek.
Six years after a burial in the General Cemetery in Guatemala City relatives must pay around U.S. $24 to renew the burial plot for another four years, according to cemetery rules. If there is no payment, cemetery workers exhume the body and place the corpse in a mass grave. Over 2,000 bodies are exhumed annually after relatives fail to pay cemetery fees.Joy might not be the right word but you know what I mean.