Posole is what this restaurant is known for (hominy and chicken soup). The downtime today clearly refreshed and energized the group. Some will be participating in a big hike (Vega del Volcan) tomorrow and we will all end up at the ecotourist cabin where we will be for two days. 

We had our spirits and minds thoroughly moved, confused, focused, questioning, etc., by the sharing of the Mam community in San Miguel Ixhatuacán about the issues surrounding gold and silver mining in this area. Water pollution of rivers via cyanide poisoning (part of production process), the “killing of the earth” through fracking, mass removal of mountains, and the ways in which labor, cultural, and community relations are being changed by outsiders from North America (in this case Goldcorp in Canada). One comment made by our group looking down the enormous bowl in the land was that “this looks like a mass grave, a holocaust of the earth”. In this part of the trip, students are clearly sending the realities of structural violence within these Mam communities. 

After two meaningful days of connection with the Ixil people, university, campesinos, youth, and host families, we are on our way to Zunil for a dip in the springs and a grand lunch. Without showers for two days and sharing twin beds, you can imagine the memories being made and excitement to clean up. Our hike through Salquil yesterday was magnificent, hopefully many will be sharing pictures and videos with you via other social media. 

Had a long day of travel preceded by a great introductory presentation by Michael, MCC representative in Guatemala, and followed by a dinner with three Ixil leaders in the community working on issues of youth and development, gender relations of power, resistance to mining companies taking over their land, and a number of other issues. While tiredness abounds from all our travels, spirits and morale are great. This group has wonderful stamina, flexibility and openness. 
Starting at 630am tomorrow and ending our day meeting, eating, and socializing with our host families. Student films and projects are shaping up and taking form now we are immersed in what we’ve studied all semester. 

Learning about the histories and realities of the indigenous peoples we will be learning with and staying with. Look here for an overview and some context – https://youtu.be/AkPJoXzIOg4

All is well. Apologies for the radio silence, our host family had no power.
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We are back at Semilla in Guatemala City and had a meaningful reflection period together after showers and social media updates.

Lots of challenges our students faced and they delighted Nicole and I with their endurance, flexibility and patience. We hiked to paradise on Wednesday (wait until you see the pictures) – even though it was tough, muddy and ended in a downpour. Our workshops with the Ixil University students and women of the communities around Nebaj were eye-opening and highly interactive.

We have thousands of pictures (on cameras not wifi-enabled), lots of stories (and bug bites), and by June 2nd films to share.

For a small taste of our travels, see this Facebook page.

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