Fuimos a Chiquimula (We went to Chiquimula)

15 03 2011

Well, we recently achieved two firsts in our time in Guatemala… First of all, we finally managed to leave city life (even if only for a few days) to see some of the Guatemalan countryside; and secondly, we got to be part of our first Centro Esdras workshop… Both were great experiences, and we hope to repeat them again soon.

Centro Esdras Workshop

Another face of the country. The countryside in Guatemala in terms of people and life is so different from the city. The major cities here have so many western shops and fast food restaurants you’d be forgiven for not knowing you were in Latin America. The countryside on the other hand has a different pace and feeling about it. For example for us, it meant stopping at the side of the road to drink from coconuts or trying fruit (not stocked in supermarkets in the UK!) for the first time.

In Guatemala, as with many ‘majority world’ countries there is a huge population transition from the countryside to the city. This is mostly economic migration, with there being little work apart from low paid and seasonal agricultural work. This is a disincentive especially for young people in these areas to stay in their communities. The city, in this case Guatemala City, the capital, is seen as a better option because of the different opportunities it presents. We will blog in the future more about the specific issues this creates in Guatemala.

On the Friday we drove for about 3.5 hours to get to Chiquimula (pronounced as spelt!) in the east of the country, which meant we were ready for the workshop on Saturday. The workshop was facilitated by Israel and Lily Ortiz. There were about 20 people attending from around the region. Some attendees had woken at 3:30am that morning and travelled 4 hours in order to be part of the workshop, another couple of attendees had walked for 2 hours to get there (and were doing the same to get back that night). When I asked where they were from they pointed to the huge mountains in the distance and they replied ‘on the other side of them’! This highlighted the intense need there is for these leadership workshops. Even though we feel that we are travelling a long way to run the workshops, there is a real hunger of some of the attendees to learn, partly demonstrated by their commitment to travel long distances.

Working with leaders

There is a such need to help people develop and specifically leaders this is also true in the Guatemalan countryside. One way Centro Esdras does this is to run workshops that creates space for them think about leading better and the underlying ethos of how they teach and lead. Part of the Centro Esdras ethos is to run workshops across the country in the places where people are living. This creates opportunities for personal and leadership development so there isn’t the need for people to leave where they are in order to personally develop and progress.

Recently when someone heard about the work of Centro Esdras they asked ‘how can I get you run workshops in my area of the country?’. The reply was ‘you need to get 30 leaders together that could attend’. They replied within days that they had found 50 and asked when could the workshop be run!

It wasn’t all work, work, work… we had a good rest the following day. A picture below does show the swimming pool but not the hammocks and the general chance to unwind for the first time in a few months.

Boys loving the water

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One response

2 05 2011
Chris and Richard

Trying to work out where the swimming pool is! We went a couple of times to a great water park down that direction called Valle Dorado. It is awesome reading your blogs and we pray that God will continue to bless your time in Guatemala. Love, hugs and blessings, Chris and Richard x x

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