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Catlin Gabel–OES Guatemala Collaboration

GuatemalaKey Details

Trip leaders: Spencer White, Christina Meyerhoff
NGO Key Collaborators:  Joan Williams (director of Mundo Exchange), Dr. Andrew Zechnich
Approximate Dates:  March 13 – 24, 2013
Enrollment:  6 OES students, 6 CG students.  (Priority given to students having completed at least Spanish 2)
Cost:  $1,800 – $2,000

Program Overview

Six OES and six Catlin Gabel high school students will work together to improve the lives of children and families in Chajul, Guatemala, while learning first hand about community development in a post-civil war environment.  This trip will mark the second global collaboration between CG and OES. All leaders have traveled together to Chajul, allowing us a swift welcome into the local community.

Located in the western highlands, this town of 15,000 people is Mayan Ixil, one of 23 distinct Guatemalan cultures with a unique language and belief system. Ixil is the local dialect, but Spanish is the language of business and cross-cultural communication. This indigenous community is attempting to modernize while maintaining its cultural traditions.

We’ll work closely with Limitless Horizons, a local non-governmental organization that helps families by focusing on three major axis: Youth Development, Chajul Community Library and the Women's Artisan Program.  Will will work with CEMIK, a one-room school house that provides Ixil-Spanish bilingual education to the poorest families in the community. (Fewer than 1% of children graduate from high school and 5% from middle school, and 75% of the adult population is illiterate.) After one night in Antigua, we will travel to Chajul and begin working on various service projects that compliment initiatives set out by LHI. Due to the intense need for medical supplies and because we’ll have Dr. Andy Zechnich with us, we will likely collect as many medical supplies as we can carry and hand-deliver these items to the local clinic in Chajul.

History of Chajul and area

Video of Spencer White's trip to Chajul in 2007