MCC LACA tour to Guatemala

The Connecting Peoples program of MCC Guatemala and El Salvador hosted a group of students this May from the University of Avila in Kansas City, USA. (MCC = Mennonite Central Committee, LACA = Latin America and Caribbean Area). Maybe you would like to arrange one of these learning tours!

This is straight from their great website.

The goal of the trip was to understand the context of the Indigenous Mayan Ixil and Mam peoples of Guatemala and to learn from their example of resistance, struggle and hope for the right to “good living” (buen vivir). During our visit to the Ixil area, we learned about gender equality from a Mayan Ixil lense that promoted the principles of complementarity, duality and balance. The students also visited agricultural projects led by the youth in the community. The project’s goal to vindicate ancestral farming practices, their farmers’ pride and food sovereignty in response to a hegemonic and Eurocentric development model.

Pedro Argumedo

The student group. Pedro Argumedo.

We also traveled to the San Marcos area in the west part of the country where we visited MCC’s partner, the Diocese of San Marcos. The Diocese works in different communities in the department on issues of food security, territorial defense, and recovery of ancestral traditions, among others. As a group, we visited the communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sibinal where we contrasted the case of a community living with a mega project operated by a transnational company the Marlin mine, and another community where the local people organized and resisted the entry of corporations. After analyzing the social, cultural and economic dynamics in each community, the students began questioning the idea of what “development” means.

The Avila students invited local youth to a refreshing afternoon of picnics, games and exchange at the Canjulá ecological park. We organized a small debate, using pictures and posters, where the Maya Mam youth and the Avila students shared their views and ideas about what is development, good living and success in each of their contexts.

Below is a video produced by one of the participants in the group, Emily Olga where you can watch their conclusions about a good life or buen vivir yourself.

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