In the song, I Hope You Dance, Lee Womack sings the following lyrics to her child:
“Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…
I hope you dance.”
Over the last month we have had two much-appreciated volunteers (Sara Kalter and T’Nia Crutchfield) working in the school in El Yalu, and from the comments they have made to us, Lee Womack’s lyrics pretty well sum up their experiences. While it has been a challenge for them on a number of levels, with early morning bus rides, barely functioning bathrooms, and adjusting to the unpredictable nature of the Guatemalan school system, they have both told us how rewarding it has been to work with the teachers and children there. We thank them for their hard work and dedication, and for their willingness to “dance” with the children of El Yalu.
With equal rights for all:
This last week the staff of Avivara was invited to El Seminario (presentations by graduating students of their learning portfolios and major projects during the year) at the Instituto de Solidaridad in the village of Patzun. We were very impressed by the presentations and the passion of many of the students regarding the issue of equal rights for the indigenous peoples of Guatemala. Below is a picture of one of the students making her presentation and a translation of the main points she was making to the teachers, parents and dignitaries that were in attendance.
“The State of Guatemala has promised to protect its distinct ethnic groups and give honor to our nation as united, multi-ethnic, culturally pluralistic, and multi-linguistic; And to promote respect for the ways of life, customs and organization of indigenous communities.
The government of Guatemala should reaffirm its real commitment to these established principles and norms with the intent to guide and guarantee the full protection of the rights of all people.
At this time, many institutions are fighting before the Congress of the Republic (of Guatemala) to advance the fulfillment of the law so that the inhabitants of our nation, especially the indigenous, have free and full access to justice in their own language.”
One of our long-term goals at Avivara is to see the upcoming generation of Guatemalans become strong leaders in their country and villages and advocate for the rights of all peoples, which have in the past been ignored or trampled upon. This young woman certainly raises our hopes for that dream to become a reality.
Dispatches from Guatemala:
- Guatemala wins its first Olympic medal – Erick Barrondo, a 25-year old from Alta Verapaz, won the silver medal in the 20 kilometer race-walking event on Saturday. This was the first Olympic medal ever won by a Guatemalan.
- Guatemalan kindergarten teacher develops mouse activated by eye movements – Billy Reyes, a kindergarten teacher from Escuintla has developed a device that allows a computer mouse to be activated and moved solely by eye movements.
- Fuego eruptions increase - Insivumeh, the Guatemalan agency in charge of monitoring seismic and volcanic activity in the region reports that activity has increased significantly in the volcano, Fuego, with recent lava flows reaching 500 meters or longer. While they predict more volcanic activity in the near future, they have encouraged the local population to “stay calm.”
Sit it out or dance? We hope you dance…