by Nancy Wiens
I, along with seven fellow travelers, recently participated in the Open Delegation to Guatemala and El Salvador. It was a joyful and educational trip that exposed me to people and experiences that would not have been open to me in any other way. A consistent thread running through this delegation was how people came together to form what I lovingly call “pop-up” communities — generous, kind and loving folks who surrounded us from Day One and who shared their lives and their stories with us wherever we went, throughout the trip. I feel blessed to have experienced these loving encounters.
My memories include…
- Traveling with kind, hopeful and joy-filled fellow delegates.
- Experiencing delicious home-cooked meals and open conversations with the many hosts who took care of us throughout our journey.
- Being ‘in community’ with delegates and Southern representatives and exchanging stories during late-night gab sessions.
- Making music, thanks to Greg and his mandolin and all the strong and vibrant voices of our community.
- Meeting Luis’ parents in Antigua as well as Luis’ activist friend Javier Gramajo, and hearing viewpoints about how two generations have experienced conflict and activism.
- Learning and contributing during small-group planning sessions at the Southern Encounter.
- Touring a variety of Sister Parish communities (Chontala, Guarjila, Tierra Nueva Dos) including the brand-new Sister Parish community of ACOMUJERZA, and witnessing a multitude of projects and initiatives to create better lives for themselves and their children.
- Conducting a 4-station Solidarity Walk at Iximche Mayan ruins (including a Mayan ceremony by Otto), Chontola, Tierra Nueva Dos and Jon Cortina Museum in Guarjila.
- Sharing faith and personal stories at a heartfelt Sunday service led by Pastor Diego at Ruth and Nohemi.
- Learning the history of Radio Sumpul in Guarjila and being on air (interview and songs).
- Bouncing around in the open back of a pick-up truck and swimming with friends in the Sumpul River.
- Celebrating and laughing at an evening picnic and song “throw-down” (English vs. Spanish) up at mirador El Alto near Los Ranchos. What a view, and what a joyful time.