Global Challenge 2014: U21 Social Entrepreneurship Corps in Guatemala, Blog 4

I still cannot believe that the last week has arrived and that I will be leaving this beautiful country in a matter of hours!

The last week has gone by in a rush of finishing projects and final presentations and trying to squeeze in as much as possible before returning to our respective homelands.

The beginning of the week started with the showing of the video documentary to the school at Santo Tomas. It was with much anticipation that I arrived at the school– I was so excited to see what the kids thought of it! This project has been by far one of my favourites so far. I really believe that forming relationships and inspiring young people is vital to development work and as an organisation. Children are the future and particularly in Guatemala where 50% of the population is under 19 years old, this is hugely important. We managed to project our video onto a big screen in one of the halls and after finishing a workshop with Nelson, the kids watched our documentary and despite a few technical hitches it seemed to go down pretty well! Whether or not the documentary may be used as a future tool we will have to see.

For the rest of the week, we moved to Panajachel, situated next to the breath-taking Lake Atilan. I have to say I think Panajachel is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The lake backs onto a supervolcano and the deep purple mountains and the sunrise and sunset are indescribable. Certainly not a bad place to wake up to! We were here to work on our final presentations and finish up all our project work that we would present that Friday to the rest of the organisation, including Miguel, the Guatemala country director and Bucky Glickley one of the founders of the organisation as well as co-creator of the Microconsignment model.

For these presentations, as an intern group we decided to split up to better cover content and represent all the work we had done from the MCM campaign, women’s cooperatives and finally the documentary and work with the school. Along with Lisa, I was to present the documentary and work with Proyecto Santo Tomas. After feedback from our initial showing, the video needed to be slightly refocused to be more motivational and so we worked on this as well as a final presentation of how the video would work as part of the social business that is Soluciones Comunitarias

Friday arrived and we went back to Antigua for final presentations and I think it is safe to say that despite a few hiccups with Spanish they all seemed to go successfully!! It was great to meet more of the Soluciones Comunitarias and Social Entrepreneurship Corps team and to get their feedback on the work we have done throughout the month. I really feel I have learnt an enormous amount this month, not only about development work but also personally in how I have had to adapt to different and unique situations that you would definitely not come across in the UK. I have learnt that development work is very different to relief work, as well as some of the challenges and frustrations of long-term development work. Perhaps the most exciting is I have realised how passionate I feel about this field of work.

So, I come back to England, with a heavy heart of goodbyes, but also filled with a passion and drive to implement what I have learnt in my future career. For the next couple of weeks we will continue on with some of the projects at least.

Guatemala la cancion ha termida, pero la melodia perdura….

(Guatemala the song has finished, but the melody continues..)

Thank you very much to U21, The University of Birmingham, The University of Connecticut and Social Entrepreneurship Corps for giving me this opportunity. I will take the lessons I have learnt forward with me for the rest of my life!

Maria

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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