2012 Guatemala Immersion

2012 Guatemala Immersion

Union Victoria Learning Tour, January 19 – 28

We’ve been taught ‘God helps those who help themselves.’  But what if the way we ‘help ourselves’ actually makes things harder for others?
The globalization of economies and cultures is creating both danger and opportunities at home and abroad.  For some of us, the issues feel academic.  To those on the edge of economic survival they are anything but.  Our learning tour will give participants the chance to live with and learn from those who experience globalization from the bottom up.
The conventional western models of development were part of what sparked and fueled thirty years of Guatemalan civil war.  Out of desperation, the indigenous people of Guatemala’s hill country came together to survive and resist the forces dividing their people.  After the war, the challenge turned to building a just and sustainable future in Union Victoria, a village designed from scratch on an old coffee plantation up in the hills.
Ninety families, with support from the government, the church, and non-governmental partners have built homes, schools, and health clinics.  Together they maintain and operate their coffee cooperative, hydro-power system, bridge, roads, botanical nursery and community center.  Families earn income from both private and collective economic pursuits.
But it’s not utopia.  Climate change, deforestation, poor access to increasingly volatile markets, and limited capital keep the people of Union Victoria living on the edge.  They know the short-term solutions can create longer term problems so they continue seeking new knowledge and methods.
Our small delegation will give you the chance to build friendships with warm, open, courageous, and determined people.  You will join them in their study and practice of building sustainable community.  You will return home with a deeper understanding of how your lifestyle and our public policies affect those living on the edge.  And if you are willing, you will have enlarged the circle of your concern, commitment  and creativity with new partners and a common pursuit.
Participants must be 16 or older.  Cost: $500 plus about $800 in airfare.
Register your interest with: Ken Miller Rieman
Pastor, Olympic View Community Church

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