I must express my complete gratitude to the PSAC Social Justice Fund for being chosen to represent the Prairie Region on the 2014 Education in Action (EIA) delegation.
During this trip we will be working hand-in-hand with the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) to help paint classrooms and build a community centre. We will also be picking coffee and meeting some of the key players in the social justice movement in Guatemala. I am looking forward to meeting some new people and directly seeing how much of an impact solidarity makes.
Delegations like these are crucial to build solidarity, and the people in Guatemala especially need our support. The people of Guatemala have been fighting for change; a true elective democracy, and many have died for the cause. Their past was wrought with oppression, inequality, and violence with a civil war that lasted almost 40 years. Guatemala has a rich and vibrant arts culture. Access to education is limited, a staggering percentage of the population lives below the poverty line, and it is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Since an elective democracy was established the country is improving, but there is still a long way to go. Guatemala has a rich ecosystem and the ability to export great quantities, but unfair trade prices and practices threaten/inhibit that growth and improvement.
The video below details the coffee trade and how much of a positive impact purchasing fair trade coffee makes (as well as the impact of unfair practices).
Luckily, there is a lot you can do to help. You can purchase coffee produced using fair trade practices and 100 per cent of the money goes right back into Mayan communities. You can also purchase coffee and cards from the Education in Action website.
We will have a shared laptop for use while in Guatemala, but I have been told that internet access may be intermittent so I will try to get posts done as often as possible. For instant updates and information check out the EIA and CCDA Facebook pages.
I am so excited to take you on this journey with me!