So week 3 started off with a bang. Quite literally. Waking up to your bed shaking in a 7.1 earthquake is definitely not your average start to a Monday morning! It definitely made me count my blessings though. Luckily no one in our town was injured. It was just more of a shock to the system. You can never predict Mother Nature. And especially in Guatemala.
After the shock of the earthquake wore off, we headed to meet the women’s cooperatives for our final visit where we showed the women the process of making the bags, and talked through a plan of how they could sell them. Four of the women proposed to take on the project to produce bags for a bank holiday market that weekend. Success!
That evening, we said goodbye to Todos Santos and headed to Chiantla, in the municipality of Huehuetanago where we were finally welcomed by warm sunshine and no more rice and beans! For this week, we were focusing on a youth project with the local school at Santo Tomas working with a local organisation called Projecto Santo Tomas. Projecto Santo Tomas, is a local community project set up by a wonderful man/saint called Nelson. As well as running afterschool clubs and anti-bullying campaigns in local schools, Nelson runs a bee conservation project and has recently set up a internet centre in his community for local secondary school students to do their homework. As part of this, the project is trying to set up a community library, where documentaries can be showed to schoolchildren.
This was where our project came in. Our task was to create a community culture documentary video with the children to promote not only an appreciation of Guatemala but also to strengthen the relationship of Soluciones Comunitarias with Projecto Santo Tomas. One of the biggest issues at the moment in Central America is the number of children feeling to the United States, travelling illegally and in deadly conditions to find a better life, or of child trafficking into the U.S so we also hoped that this video might be used as tool to promote the opportunities that are available here in the children’s homeland. Guatemala is such a diverse and amazing country.
Most of the week was therefore spent on the video project, doing research and filming interviews with the children, Nelson and other local young people, which we might be able to use in the documentary. Despite all the negativity that surrounds their country, these children were a ray of positivity and change, talking of their dreams to be doctors, presidents and teachers of the future. “Not only can a man work in engineering, a woman can too. Because a woman is not made to work in the kitchen. A man can do that just as well.”
In addition to the video project, we managed to visit the women’s cooperative at the fair in Huehue for a couple of hours, where the bags were a great success! I really feel that this is a project that has empowered the women and that they can take forward into the future. As well Lisa, another intern and I also managed to get interviewed for Guatemalan TV on our opinions of the fair!
At the weekend, we finished off another campaign in a local town – our last campaign of the trip!! For this we were trial testing our song, promoting Soluciones Comunitarias and some fake SolCom money with advertising on it. Both of these seemed to go down a storm with swarms of people coming into out hall for eye exams, as well as generating more awareness about our other products.
All in all, despite a bumpy start to this week, it has been one of my favourites so far. Working with young Guatemalans and filming I have enjoyed more than I ever thought! Documentary to be shown next week!