Thursday, February 19, 2009

Intern Reflections and Random Guatemala Thoughts...‏

Friends of BTS,

It's hard to believe February is coming to a quick close. Before long, the four Tatamagouche Centre Interns for 2008-2009 will be returning to Nova Scotia after six months of struggling, challenging and rewarding times. We have already had the chance to come together twice with this year's four interns (Becky McMillan - Ija'tz and IMAP San Lucas Toliman; Erin Wolfson - New Hope Foundation Rabinal; Colin Gusikoski Community Legal Clinic Rabinal and Pat Chasse Kaqchikel Presbytery Chimaltenango) during reflection weekends to help explore the role of interns in Guatemala, to better understand the current socio-political context and to share in the frustrations and joys of having the opportunity and privilege of working along side Guatemalans who also find themselves in often precarious times and circumstances. Guatemala continues to be a place of great challenge and great resistance; systems of oppression and discrimination that conjure great injustice face a deep strength and resistence of the indigenous communities that confront these systems in light of the many global (Canadian!) and national factors that relentlessly beg for defeat. Interns struggle with the questions of what is just? For me? My community? And the world? What is my role here? What is development? Community participation? How can I listen and participate in true solidarity?

As the last remaining weeks wind down and the interns prepare for their return to Canada on March 20, we remain unaware if this CIDA funded program will continue in the years to come, though we remain hopefull that this opportunity to deepen understanding and relationships will continue in the ways possible in the time to come. In the meantime, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Kathryn for her vision and sincerity, Caren Weisbart for her support here in Guatemala with the interns (and my own reflections!) and all the past interns who have also struggled, been confused, spoken out, kept silent (when necessary) and experienced the pure joy and humble honour of spending a day in the life of a Guatemalan. Thanks to you for helping lead the path for myself and the others who have come to share in this great learning.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Tatamagouche March 27-29! Until then, good care and enjoy the reading!

Abrazos desde Guate,