Magazine

Apr 16, 2015

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City

If a lease on a grave has expired or not been paid, grave cleaners will break open the crypts to remove and rebury the bodies. Any remains that have not been claimed are packed into plastic bags, labeled and stored in mass graves. Bodies that have been stored in the upper crypt are exposed to dry and sunny conditions which means they do not decompose and instead become mummified. It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner sits on a coffin next to a mummified body during the exhumation work at the General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner touches mummified body during exhumation work at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner wraps a mummified body in a plastic bag during exhumation work at the General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A skeleton is seen in its coffin during exhumation work at the General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A woman places flowers at grave next to mummified body during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A mummified body leans on coffin near grave cleaner during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner uses maul to break cover of crypt during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner wraps a mummified body in a plastic bag during exhumation work at the General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner holds mummified body of woman during exhumation works at the General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner places mummified body of woman in coffin during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner stands over a body after exhumation at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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Grave cleaners transport discarded coffins and corpses wrapped in plastic bags on forklift during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner holds skull during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

It’s a dirty job: Grave cleaner in Guatemala City
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A grave cleaner holds mummified body in plastic bag near forklift with discarded coffins and corpses in plastic bags during exhumation works at General Cemetery in Guatemala City JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS

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