Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bienvenido a Guatemala Amigitos

That's it, tomorrow morning the journey begins to Alta Verapaz. We arrived in Guatemala City about 5 days ago and it has been a whirlwind tour of wonderful people, creative ideas, and powerful people who are doing good things for the right reasons. You could say Guatemala took us in with love in its eyes because the perfect people have come together at the perfect time to make our future in Guatemala more sustainable and even more beautiful than it already is here.
 Basically, we met Maria Zaghi of Campus Tec for breakfast at our hostel and we were off to the races from there. She gave us the tour of Tech City in Guatemala which is a Silicon Valley type hub of technological innovation and social entrepreneurship.  She brought us to all of the small businesses and teams of young entrepreneurs working on creative projects all with a tech savy artistic edge. These teams all had advice for us and avenues for collaboration we could tap into over the next 6 months with Li Ch' utam. One of these startups named Milk N Cookies has an online game called Mini Mundi which teaches kids to care for their online planet by recycling types of trash properly everyday they login and playing fun mind strengthening games for dexterity and strategy which accumulate points in an online scoreboard. The kids receive medals for good care of their planet and are released a new game each week they continue up to 16 weeks. I'm happy to say I'm climbing the game's leaderboards rather quickly, my "mini-mundi" is in tip top shape, and the kids in Nueva Mercedes are going to have a heck of a time beating me in the game where the mosquito cleans up all the trashy dust particles. These are the kind of ideas and projects we have been presented with from all angles the minute we entered the country. And its not just from Maria or her wonderful friends throughout the city who she has introduced us to. Our generation is kicking butt and taking names as well, or so they say in America…really intelligent 20-30 year olds are full of bright ideas and entrepreneurial zeal in this country.

So far the family and friends of Henning Droege have cared for us in a way that only Guatemalans could. Henning Droege and Hannes Niemann started Li Ch’utam International some years ago with the intention of using local resources while alleviating serious problems in communities he grew up and loves with all his heart.  His cousin Fernando took us to our meetings in the city, helped us prepare our office with phones and internet, and took us to the most delicious Guatemalan food stands all while giving us the guided tour from a bright yellow Volkswagon Van.  As if this wasn’t enough he arranged our transportation to the family farm, cousin Beto’s airplane should be a lovely way to see our new home for the first time.  We packed plenty of peanut butter, bread, and cookies to hold us over until our bags arrive on bus a few days later. Not that we really need food at this point we are so excited to meet the community and the rest of Henning’s family tomorrow to begin a wonderful 6 month project where anything is possible. Who knows what will happen now until July, but I can promise it will be an exciting journey, full of successes, failures, projects, and relationships that will help sustain a bright future in Nueva Mercedes. If the first 5 days was any indication of what Guatemala holds in store for us, there is truly much to learn and much to love in this little green country.  Before we begin our journey, we really must thank the good doctor Ofelia Cervantes for her wonderful work with youth leadership camps for sustainable development and social entrepreneurship that she is running out of Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico. Without her I'm quite sure our last 5 days in Guatemala and the next 210 would have been extremely different…Funny how one person can change the course of events taking place in another city or another country with just an e-mail.  Now would be a good time to ask everyone for money to support our projects as you read about them in the coming weeks & months. So I think I will ask you all to support Li Ch' utam and other well-intentioned, sustainable, scalable projects like this one as you hear about more and more of them springing up around the world. The support I ask of you is not monetary, rather that you follow our progress and stay involved in projects like ours. If you wish to contact us regarding getting involved from where you are or by visiting the community please do so here. David.lichutam@gmail.com

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