Benjamin runs a Community Projects Workshop in Sayaxché

14 11 2011

I got back from running a community project workshop last Friday (nearly a week ago), but with this week’s other activities there hasn’t been an opportunity to write sooner.

The road to Sayaxche

The workshop was run in a department called Peten, in the north of Guatemala.  It is a tropical area and weather-wise through the year, it varies between humid and very humid.  In November and December it is only humid.

After a long, sleepless overnight coach journey (9-hours) from Guatemala City I arrived in town called Flores at 6am, thinking I had plenty of time to get the last few miles before the workshop started at 2pm.  I was given a lift for the final part of the way by a group of pastors attending the workshop. The ‘short’ journey was relaxed latino culture at its best; breakfast with children, supermarket stop, haircuts for two of the pastors, paying some bills, stop at the mechanics, river crossing, etc, etc. It took another 8-hours to get the remaining last few miles to Sayaxché where the workshop was running!  We were actually late for the start of the introductions. No time for scanning my notes then. I had five minutes to change my shirt before I began the workshop…

The workshop was split over three afternoons of about 3-hours sessions and was conducted all in Spanish.  The theme was about helping leaders and pastors to understand more about the process of researching and setting up a community development project in their own contexts.  The underlying idea was to encourage them to think about how best to use the abilities and resources they already have in their communities and churches, in order to face some of the challenges they face in the wider communities.

Workshop in Sayaxche

Overall it went well, and the attendees responded well, despite my Spanish!  On a personal level I found it really challenging to deliver and teach in another language.  It was a real stretch and the first day didn’t go very well, many words seemed to desert me.  However as the days went on it seemed that I improved and the group warmed-up, and their increasing interaction certainly helped me.

There was lots of prayer for the numerous “God-gaps” that he filled throughout my time there. I am thankful that I had a sense of being able to do it, despite lacking in certain areas. On reflection it was a huge jump to take to do the whole workshop on my own and facilitate it in Spanish, but it was a challenge that I really wanted to take.  As I sit writing this I am so glad that I did it.




One response

18 11 2011
Jim Wright

Well done! Quite a challenge. The trouble with challenges is that they are fine once you have completed them. The next workshop will be easier.

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