Dear fellow Spire members,

this is Veronica from Spire`s International Committee writing from Huehuetenango in North-Western Guatemala.

Probably not everybody knows that, together with Linda from the Trondheim local chapter, we travelled to Guatemala on the 9th of November on a pilot project to get to know La Comunidad Con Derecho a un Futuro (CDF), the Community with the right to a future, a local youth development project. The project has been going on since 2008, funded by Utviklingsfondet and others, and run by ASOCUCH, Utviklingsfondet´s partner in Guatemala.

Guatemala

Following is a small summary of our first days here and our first impressions.

Well, the first 2 days were spent mostly travelling. On the 9th we flew from Oslo to Guatemala City, the capital city, where we arrived late at night, exhausted but happy. On the 10th we travelled the 6 hours from Guatemala City to Huehuetenango, where we were welcomed by Dany from La Comunindad CDF.

It was only on Sunday and Monday that we could really start working! Both days were spent at La Feria del Cordero, a lamb market event that the communities in the mountains near Huehuetenango wait for during the entire year!

We had half an hour to present Spire, explain how we work and how cool we are and also how grateful and happy we were to be there and to get to know so many engaged Guatemalan youths! And look! We even got a certificate for participating in the event!

Foto: Spire

During the two days, we got the chance to interview some of the youths involved and to ask them how climate change is affecting their communities and what the role of the youths in adaptation is here. Want to know more? We have made a video with pieces of the interviews. It will soon be made available to all Spire members, so I will not tell you more and if you want to satisfy your curiosity, you`ll have to watch it!

What I can tell you is that if you`re vegetarian, you probably shouldn`t participate in a lamb market event in Guatemala! They fed us to the level of self-implosion! Meat for breakfast, lunch, snack and in between! And we loved it (as you can see in this picture of Linda`s lunch)!

Foto: Spire

Also, we were very impressed by an exposition of projects on recycling. The youths, organized in groups, recollected rubbish from their communities and created handicrafts such as dresses, bags, piñatas, flowers and much more to sell during the market.

Foto: Spire

Foto: Spire

Lastly, quite exceptional and unique experience, we assisted to a sheep competition, where the best animals were awarded a prize. Here`s the winner!

Foto: Spire

On Tuesday, we went to visit a youth group (in the picture below) that proudly wanted to show us a reforestation project they put in place in their village. Finally some sport! We had to hike a mountain to get to the place where the municipality gave them land to plant 5000 little trees.

Foto: Spire

Today and tomorrow, 15th and 16th of November, we are participating in a 2 days’ workshop on eco-villages. Together with 50-60 youths, we are hosted in a hotel outside the city and have discussion and presentations all day! Claudio, from Forandre Verden (www.world-changers.org), is teaching us about alternative ways to live, outside the current consumerism tendency, and about how to have a sustainable lifestyle. Inspiring!

We are so glad and thankful to Spire and Utviklingsfondet for the chance to be here and get to know all these interesting and engaged people! Next week we are going to work on land grab in the south coast near the city of Quetzaltenango. We will live with local communities and be in constant contact with local youths! Wait for Linda`s blog post to know more!

Huge hugs from Guate!

– Vero