Today we got to encounter women in the Association as we ventured to three revolving fund groups. We started off the day by picking up some old friends: Rosario, Coordinator of the Association and two Board members. We also picked up Vicente and Alfredo of AJPU, the men who build the stoves, latrines, and filters, and Carlos who provides information about proper animal and plant care for the women. The bus ride was interesting as four languages were being spoken: English, Spanish, Mam, and K’iche!
Today was largely another travel day with some fun activities mixed in. We traveled from Guatemala City to the Western Highlands, which is about a 4 to 5 hour drive.
There was a nice excursion in the middle of the bus ride to the last standing Mayan ruin in Guatemala, Iximche.
It was inhabited by the indigenous Kaqchikel in the late 1400s until it was later conquered by the Spaniards. The site was full of palaces, temples, and Mayan ball courts. There was even spaces for traditional fire ceremonies which were used for spiritual purposes.
What a great start to an inevitably remarkable trip! After arriving late Tuesday evening, the New Castle Presbytery Leadership Team visited CEDEPCA and a local church. One team member Rev. Edwin Estevez of Riverfront and Grace Methodist Churches preached in Spanish.
Like all trips to Guatemala, CEDEPCA is the first stop. We learned a brief history of Guatemala and how it got to present day. Additionally, we got to learn more about CEDEPCA’s women’s ministry. Through providing empowerment training to redefine such a patriarchal society for these women, they are doing transformative work throughout Guatemala. These classes are also used by women in the Association.
This past Sunday, Cathy and Carrie paid a visit to our partner church, El Verbo Divino. The church is absolutely breathtaking and has the most scenic view from its balcony. If that name sounds a tad familiar, this is the same church whose youth group graciously hosted Westminster youth this past summer for the inaugural youth partnership trip to Guatemala.
After much planning, packing, and flying, Westminster Presbyterian Church members, Carrie and Cathy, arrived safely in Guatemala City Wednesday afternoon. Upon their arrival, they immediately connected with Emerson Morales of CEDEPCA. As CEDEPCA’s Program Coordinator in its Intercultural Encounters program, Emerson is a vital figure throughout all trips to Guatemala. Beyond his amazing translation skills, he acts as the perfect liaison between the visiting group or church and the local community with whom the group or church is partnering. In this case, Emerson helps Westminster and its efforts to assist the Association, so that partnership projects are helpful to the Association and local communities and not hurtful.
Emerson, Carrie, and Cathy discussed two upcoming trips in 2019. Though the dates are not finalized, we plan to take two groups to Guatemala in 2019. Read more