Winding our way up the Pan American highway through the cloud-topped Sierra Madre mountains of the western highlands of Guatemala, we headed for Xela. We were meeting an amazing group of women and would witness a defining moment for the Association of the Mam Christian Women. What started many years ago was coming to fruition. Women with years of experience, those who had been mentored, and a second generation of daughters were empowered and working together to lead a robust array of successful projects. Read more
As mentioned previously, the Association had an amazing and transformative 2018. We met with the Association Board to review its annual report to NCP for 2018 and 2019 plan of work. Composing these documents are a requirement per the signed covenant between the Association and NCP.
One sentence in their annual report to NCP that emphasized the increase in work read “Please note we can ordinarily fit our activities on one-page, but this year the number exceeds what can be stated with that limit.” (It was four pages long.) Read more
We traveled to two more microloan groups today. We visited the women of Reyna and Mujeres Virtuosas. In the beginning of the day, we hiked up a stony pathway to arrive at Reyna. We met at a member’s home and learned about their various projects.
Reyna invested its micro loan into sheep, chickens, a cow, and plants for reforestation. While the women do sell some plants at the local market, many are used to reforest the community. The only difficult part with this particular project seems to be climate change.
Today we got to encounter women in the Association as we ventured to three microloan 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.