Sunday, April 17, 2016

Another world – 11 km away…..

I will share a personal story with you because it reflects so well what we see here in NM.

Last weekend I (Filipa) went to Teleman, more specifically on Sunday. It is not an easy day to get transportation, so I waited for almost an hour for a pick up to take me. While I was waiting I got the company of this young boy, C. , he is 13 and attending 6 grado in Teleman. We had seen each other before as a friend is friend’s with his father, so he saw me waiting and started chatting. Firstly he asked me, perfect Spanish, were was I going, and living, were I was from….all of those regular ‘get to know you questions’. At a point I gave him a compliment for his Spanish level, further into the conversation I asked him about his q’eqchi, he didn’t speak q’eqchi. His sister is studying Medicine, his mother was a teacher at the local school and at least one of his uncles is a teacher.
Picture of Teleman - source:

He was complaining about the garbage in the floor and telling me he would like to study in Flores (up north) as the capital was too noisy and dangerous and he likes Flores. He practices sport at school and three times per week he has soccer training to play in the local football team.
‘Are there many girls in your class?’ –I asked him;
‘More than man!’ – he replied.

If we compare the reality of ‘the town’ to ‘the community we quickly realize that there is a bigger distance between them than the actual number of km separating both.

As I hopped on the pick-up that took me home, through the cloud of dust raising from the unpaved roads, I saw the dust as a metaphor to our conversation: exactly as the paved road ends by Teleman’s exit many other things end too. This boy is 11 km away from the kids at NM but they would probably have troubles communicating, as language levels, on both sides, do not meet. He is 13 and planning to study further, he has travelled, understands the importance of keeping nature clean and safe….Losing his native language is a pity, but at the end of the day he is the one getting to pursue his studies, having and giving better living standards to his family and dependants (hopefully!).
These two realities are a world away, but here in NM Li Ch’utams work tries to bring those worlds closer as we all deserve to live on the same one.

We have great news regarding a new volunteer joining the team early May, and thanks to our local volunteers there is also progress in finalizing the library, the activities are ongoing and we keep our weekly visits to the Kitchen Garden project, counting now with 15 active families and one family about to enter the project (next week). The results have been good though we have to insist in the watering, as it has been very hot and the seeds need extra water to grow. One of the families, Olga’s, appeared to be frustrated due to their first attempt and they told us they were waiting for the rains (may) to start planting. You can’t imagine how happy we were when we passed by theirs and noticed they had prepared and fenced the land and were willing to try again, Edwin helped them plant and now is just wait and water…..

The 8th of May we will start a new activity: a cycle of info sessions given by qe’qchi speaking professionals on subjects that matter to the community: education, defence of nature, health, nutrition… are some of the foreseen topics.
With this pilot info session the 8th we will measure the communities’ interest and engagement, if it is positive then we can start planning the following ones.

Last time I wrote, I mentioned our current challenges with the IT classes, soon we will get another laptop and some usb sticks with a lighter version of the programme, this might allow us to recover a couple more of pcs and re-activate the PC related activities. I am not using the term ‘IT literacy’ because it is much more than that. Getting to know a little bit better the programme I realized how it can help kids developing their capacities and competencies, not only in using a computer but on the main-basic subjects – maths, reading, logic, physics… 

Meanwhile we will keep meeting old and new partners strengthening our position and raising the changes for synergies in order to solve this computer issue.

Talk to you soon :) 


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