Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Human Rights and Lago Atitlan (Melanie)

Today we spent time visiting sites around placid Lago Atitlan. We took a boat from Pana to Santiago Atitlan where we visited a fair trade coffee plantation. We bought 38 (that´s not a typo) bags of organic, fair trade coffee. I think Ive converted Natalie into a fair trade coffee only drinker. Yes! Fair trade means a steady and fair income for the campesinos and access to workers rights through community organizing. Students recognized that fair trade is connected to human rights because fair trade co-ops teach the campesinos that they have the right to protest and demand equality and also provide favorable working conditions.

We then took a pickup truck to visit a memorial to a massacre that occurred in 1990. Thirteen mayans were killed by the military for approaching an army base in search of their kidnapped family members. After this, we visited a town that lost 800 of its 1200 inhabitants due to the mudslides in October. It was very intense. The response of the Guatemalan government was very similar to that of the US govt to Hurricane Katrina. At lunch we wrote in our journals about how human rights played out in Santiago Atitlan.

Last night we watched a movie about maquilas then had a discussion comparing and contrasting human rights issues in Guatemala and in our communities in the US.

Just got back to Antigua tonight where we´ll be for the next two nights before we go home. Holy moly! Our Guatemalan jaunt is almost over. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I don´t know why the pics I post keep coming up double. I´ll fix that later.


At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola Melanie - What an amazing opportunity you have provided for everyone. I can't wait to see the secret video footage of the dancing lessons. They are all writing to passionately about the issues you have asked them to think about - thank you! Safe journey home - see you at the airport tomorrow.

Hugs Peggy


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