Monday, June 24, 2019

En Camino, day 2 - Guatemala

It was a very full day!
Following breakfast, we went to see various parts of the Misión’s missions, beginning with the school right behind the church.  It is modeled after Montessori.  Entering the courtyard, young children were chasing each other around, playing, etc.  The director of the school - through our translator- told us the history as well as the philosophy of teaching. The school was one of the first parts of the Misión, noting the importance of education - not just learning information, but also life skills like cooking, traditional artisan work and the like
From there, we piled into the back of a truck to head up the hill to the Women's center where they learn various skills as well as giving of their time to the center in various projects.  They create beautiful textile crafts, weaving patterns based on their backgrounds and cultural connections
Back in the truck, we went to the medical center where we learned about its history and all the different care that they provide.  In addition to some medical physicians that visit, they have their own staff as well as health promoters that visit other villages in the area.  They train locals to provide care in their own communities. Last year, they provided care to 26,000 people
The last visit of the morning was to the coffee warehouse.  They work with local growers to give them a fair price for their crops.  They prepare and roast the beans for their own a Misión brand called Juan Ana cafe (named after Father Gregorio’s parents)
After lunch, we went to visit Andreas, a local man who shared his experiences with the injustices that he faced as a Mayan that was treated as less than human by the owners of the fincas (farms) that they worked on.   Through Father Gregorios efforts in conjunction with local people and funds raised in the states, they were able to buy the land of the fincas and build community based farms that provided sustainable livings for all - even as they endured 30 years of Civil war.   Andreas is an amazing man with a great love of God, appreciation for a Father Gregorios vision and work, and commitment to the well being of the San Lucas community.

A bit of local color was visiting the veneration of San Simón which is a local deity/“saint” that mixes various religious aspects of Mayan & Guatemalalan culture (google it for the full flavor of it)

We had a bit of down time before dinner as well as this evening.  It feels as if I’ve already been here a week after one day as we had such a full day

Note: these are initial recollections that I will fill in more later

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