As with all travel plans, this is our working itinerary. We hope to provide periodic updates during our travels, so feel free to check in at the Updates section if we are able to gain access to a computer and internet connection.
May 16: Travel to Guatemala
9PM arrival; simply go to SEMILLA, have light snack while meeting for 20min to talk about the next day’s schedule
May 17 (sat): Day 1
8-9am breakfast (having bags packed & ready for travel to Santiago/Panabaj)
9-1030am orientation with MCC and procure supplies from store
1230pm Get into vans Travel to Santiago Atitlan/Panabaj
4pm arrival in Panabaj and meet with ANADESA Women’s Cooperative
Introductory meeting with various women from ANADESA to hear their experiences during and after the conflict, including just some general sharing about the reality of women in that area. This will be an informal sharing time with an opportunity to ask questions and direct the conversation depending on what the group is interested in hearing.
Divide up with host families for dinner/night
Breakup for night and disperse to host families
May 18 (sun): Day 2
Explore Lake Atitlan
Option 1: Attend mass if still interested in this (we’ll talk to students) or skip mass and have ANADESA tour then go into city for market, swim, etc
Option 2: Attend Mass and have lunch in town and free time in market or to swim then have the ANADESA tour (learn about developments in cooperative, needs in community) and talk about armed conflict
Option 3: Attend Mass then return to ANADESA after mass, have lunch there and do the ANADESA tour, then return to town in the later afternoon for market, swimming and/or dinner or night with host families
May 19 (mon): Day 3
Early morning departure for Nebaj in order to be there by lunch via boat to Panajachel
Lunch with Pablo Ceto to talk about the history of the Civil War in the Ixil Region
Travel to San Felipé, introduction to the community and its work
Divide up with the families you will be staying with
May 20 (tues): Day 4
Small work project with one of the women´s groups to support their economic initiative.
Talk with some of the women leaders about the gender violence and inequality that they experience on a daily basis and how that affects them.
In the afternoon talk with the council of elders of Cotzal about the issue of hydroelectric dams being built by multinational companies on their ancestral lands.
Avila group meeting to talk about what we’ve experienced thus far in Nebaj (before dinner)
Divide up with families you will be staying with
May 21 (wed): Day 5
Visit to Chichel waterfall and lunch there.
In the afternoon a chance to continue to work with the women´s groups and/or visit a small organic chicken cooperative being run by a group of local youth.
Do some kind of physical activity with the youth
May 22 (thurs): Day 6
Continue work with women or visit chicken farm (and/or bakery) if we didn’t already
Travel to Chichicastenango for Market Day and then on to Guatemala City in the PM
May 23 (fri): Day 7
Day in Antigua – this is just a day visit to relax
Evening at SEMILLA debriefing
May 24 (sat): Day 8
*Further information on the Ixil Triangle region (Nebaj/Cotzal)
- Where will be staying?
- In the community of San Felipe Chenlá in the municipality of Cotzal about 15 minutes from the town center of Cotzal. San Felipé has been the center of conflict regarding the hydroelectric dam being built by the Italian company ENEL. It is also where community indigenous leaders have formed the municipal council of elders. Furthermore, it is the site where MCC is working on small community development projects with groups of youth and women. You will be staying in the community with different families of the youth and community leaders.
- What work project will we be doing?
- Yasmin began working in early 2012 with different groups of women in Nebaj and Cotzal. Her work has focused on economic empowerment of the women in the communities through small business initiatives chosen by the groups of women. Since these groups are just beginning, you small work project will be focused on helping one or two of these women´s groups to start up their economic initiative. (Possible economic initiatives that the women have discussed are making natural shampoos and soaps for commercialization, a local bakery project, and weaving with natural dyes.
- What will be learning?
- Cotzal was one of the areas most affected by the civil war in the 80´s, and we will be learning about the history of the civil war in the Ixhil region. Also, the communities of Cotzal are currently involved in negotiations with an Italian energy company concerning the construction of a hydroelectric dam on their ancestral lands. We will be talking with community leaders about what they think about the hydroelectric dam and about the issue of indigenous rights.
- Where can we visit?
- Cotzal has lots of different natural areas to visit and explore. Some possible options are a 1 hour hike to the Chichel water fall, longer hikes through the mountains to caves, and a visit to Ixhil sacred sites, and exploring other areas in Nebaj.
- What other activities will be doing?
- There will be opportunities to share with the women´s groups any particular skill that your group might have. Also, there is the always the option to organize sports tournaments with the local youth.