At the end of this year, a group from Unity Church and the Geller Center will embark on a journey to Guatemala with environmental nonprofit Trees, Water & People (TWP) for 10 days of discovery, service, and cultural exchange. Working with the rural, indigenous community of La Bendición, the group is raising important funds to complete projects that the community has designed and voted on in a democratic process.
About the Community
The history of La Bendición is as complex and compelling as that of Guatemala as a whole. The people of La Benedición are actually not from this area. We should be visiting them in the highlands of Guatemala, far away from the tropical climate of southern Guatemala, where they live now. In a perfect world you would also never find these 70 families living together. They are all of different indigenous ethnicities. In fact, if you listen close you can hear three different languages being spoken other than Spanish. What brings these people together, living and surviving in this very remote area of the country, is the heartache and suffering of civil war. After years of unrest and oppression of the indigenous populations in Guatemala – after land was stolen, then given back, then stolen again – they collectively decided to flee their homeland and move to a more peaceful setting. Together, they purchased the land they now call home. They were promised a fertile area with well-equipped infrastructure, but instead found a challenging mountainside with high winds, limited water, no electricity, and very poor road access.
La Bendición has been a key part of TWP’s overall presence in Guatemala since Sebastian Africano, TWP´s International Director, first began to cultivate a relationship with local NGO Utz Che’ over four years ago. La Bendición is one of more than 40 communities represented by Utz Che´, an umbrella organization that provides legal services and critical advocacy to underserved, mostly indigenous, communities.
This will be the second work tour to La Bendición in what we hope will be a long-lasting and productive relationship to improve the social, economic, and environmental reality of this incredible community.
- Tourist Route (trails and paths)
- Environmental Education
- Teaching and educating youth in ecotourism
- Create further awareness and programs in the community on the educational processes regarding the environment and natural resources.
- Improvement of the community center and house
- Community Kitchen
- Improvement of the Access routes into the community
- Transportation into the community
- Agroforestry Initiatives
- Vegetable Garden Project
- Beekeeping Project
- Coffee Project