The Tranquilo Traveler Rides South: Mexico, Guatemala & Nicaragua

ajws4.jpgThat’s right, amigos, I’m puttin’ my money where my mouth is, packin’ up and headin’ south — and not touching my computer for three whole weeks. My mission? To serve as Group Leader for an AJWS Study/Service Delegation from Seattle to a small Maya village on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. From there, I travel to southern Guatemala to lead a university group from Athens, Georgia on an AJWS Alternative Break Trip; not your typical booze-binging spring break for these undergrads.

In Mexico, we’ll be four hours south of Cancun in the village of Muchucuxcah, the guests of an organization called Hombres Sobre La Tierra (Humankind on Earth). HST was founded in 1994 to work with Mayan campesinos, the most marginalized population in Mexico. They promote environmental sustainability, food self-sufficiency, and the integration of women in the economy. I think we’ll be helping to clear land as part of an eco-tourism and agriculture project.

In Guatemala, my group will have the honor of working with Guillermo Chen Morales, the dynamic Director General of Fundación Nueva Esperanza (New Hope Foundation). We will help the community construct a dike along the River Chiticoy, which sometimes swells, preventing children from reaching school during parts of the rainy season. We will also have the chance to meet Jesús Tecú Osorio, founder of FNE and survivor of the Rio Negro massacre during the civil war (in which he lost his parents and siblings). Don Jesús has received international recognition – including winning a Reebok Human Rights Award – for his work exposing secret graves and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the war’s atrocities.

Finally, si diós quiere, I’ll be rampaging ’round Nicaragua, visiting friends and adopted Nicaraguan families. I’ll also be doing some book promotion for Living Abroad in Nicaragua, my latest book (co-authored with Randy Wood), written for the thousands of foreign expatriates residing in “The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes.”

A short leave of absence from the Blogosphere. I’ll miss you all. . .

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