2017 Site-Visit

As always, my site-visit to Guatemalan partner NGOs in 2017 provided insight and joy. Prior to our arrival, each trip is always unknown in terms of which villages and projects we will visit, which events we will attend and who we will meet. So, while I evaluate how SSG funded projects are developing, I also get exposed to a cornucopia of communities, activities, and people.

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In 2017, I had the good fortune to particularly experience three things:

  • First, to learn more about and better understand how the issue of water scarcity is being addressed on a regional level.

  • Second, to get to know the participants and to see experience, first-hand, the structure of AFOPADI’s youth leadership university.

  • And third, to better understand the daily lives and long-term goals of the local facilitators who staff the health, educational and agricultural arms of AFOPADI.

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Through being connected to these indigenous Mayan Mam communitiesfor over 14 years, a level of trust has developed. And now, certain realities are being slowly revealed to me. I have begun to see children growing up with dreams once unthinkable. I have begun to see women take independent actions vital to an improved level of survival for themselves, their families and the community. I have begun to see communities come to value education and organizing in face of the historical traumas they suffered – from war to genocide, racism, and exploitation. Given their daily realities, I have gratitude that I am welcomed and always treated with the utmost respect. Their dignity remains a beacon for me. As I know, in giving, we receive much more than we give. Seeing people with very little who share the little they have inspires me to give more.

~Julie Siegel