Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Colonia 15 de octubre

"Returning is part of our fight."



All the boys are napping. All the girls are getting ready for our despedida dinner and for a little dancing at a discoteca. Im ready to hit the town. I´ll post pictures from today later. Everyone is doing well right now but will most likely be grumpy when they find out that our wake up time is 4AM tomorrow.

Today we spent the whole day in La Trinidad, a community of returned refugees. Mayans from the city of Huehuetenango escaped the massacres by fleeing to Mexico on foot. They walked for 2 days through the mountains to the border with only the clothes on their back. They fled in 1982 during the notorious presidency of Rios Montt and returned to Guatemala in 1998. After the 16 years, on the 15th of October (hence the name of their neighborhood), they couldn´t return to Huehuetenango because the civil patrol (indigenous people drafted by the govt to fight against their own people) had already claimed that land. Instead they now live 20 minutes outside of Antigua where we are staying. It is estimated that 1,000,000 people were displaced during Guatemala´s 36 year civil war.

We spent the day talking to the returned families about their experiences, played basketball and soccer, and eating lunch. They prepared not only our lunch, but the entire town prepared a talent show for us. Some of the students said that is was the best thing we did during the delegation.

We´re coming home tomorrow. Friends, fam, JD, Ive missed you! Who´s taking me out to dinner when I get back?!


-- Melanie


At 8:41 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Boileau said...

Thanks for the account of the day. It's wonderful that folks who, once, made unwelcome in their own land can turn around and welcome the visitor. I hope there is time for reflection by delgation members on this day.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel touched by the how the returning families have reached out to our students to help make them feel welcomed. This is going to be one experience that our students will never forget. Thank You Melanie for making it happen, for your perseverance and determination which without these this trip would not have happened...Mayra M.


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