Guatemala Service Learning with Common Hope
Sunday morning our team visited a woman’s weaving cooperative at Santiago Zamora. The town is indigenous, and their story includes a history of disaster and landlessness. The women in the town banded together and formed a weaving cooperative and out of that effort are now able to provide 500 children with an education. Our visit included lunch of chicken pepian, a traditional dish in Guatemala, a demonstration of backstrap weaving, and dancing.
During the rest of the afternoon we explored the markets in Antigua–both the traditional market where we practiced bartering skills and stores with fixed prices. Our evening meal was at Pollo Compero–Guatemala´s version of fast food.
The foundation of Common Hope´s mission is children´s education, and the variety of services offered to families is to support the goal of keeping children in school. Our week with Common Hope will include visits to classrooms, accompanying social workers on home visits, building a home for a family, observing a new in-home literacy program, and interacting with children in day care and after school programs. Common Hope has four community development centers and 3000 affiliated children. Once a child is affiliated, the whole family becomes eligible for services. In total, about 10,000 persons are receiving services from Common Hope. Despite the numbers, services are intensely personal. To see our team in action, check out Common Hope’s website, http://www.commonhope.org/. Go to the tab Get Involved and then Vision Team Diary for photos.