Nearly 8 weeks have gone by since the start of my internship in with MayaWorks. It’s amazing what you can do in such little time, although much is still to be done. I’m currently at the crux of most of my mobilization and awareness projects, with most of the promotional material going off to the printers in the next few days. Then, the fun part starts, when I’ll get to promote our brand throughout Antigua much more actively. I’ve also established a potential international corporate partnership, which will be great for our association if it materializes (the process may take a few months). I must admit it feels odd to be doing real, international and concrete work in marketing when my formal education has focused on far different areas. But at the same time, I’ve always loved talking and selling, and I’m having a blast promoting something that is also close to my heart, which is fair trade.
During my free time I’ve been lucky enough to travel to most touristic places around Antigua. I’ve visited the majestic ruins in Tikal, the beautiful Semuc Champey, the serene Atitlan lake and the boisterous markets in Chichicastenango, I’ve tasted coffee at the Filadelfia farm and I have a few more day trips planned including volcano hikes, visiting local breweries and macadamia farms, celebrating San Juan in a nearby town, and keeping up with the fast pace of the salsa lifestyle. While sickness has caught up to me a few times, it´s all part of the traveler´s life and after a quick rest, one must get back on one’s feet and keep exploring.
Speaking of the Filadelfia farm, the 43rd OEA convention was held in this exact farm in the outskirts of Antigua. I won’t go into details about the meeting’s results as my opinions by no means reflect those of MayaWorks, CECI, the faculty or any other institutions I may be representing. However, I will admit to being highly disappointed with some specific conclusions (or lack thereof) of the meeting. Guatemala is a beautiful country, with great potential. As the Guatemalan ambassador to the UK said, other countries may have more than Guatemala, but nowhere is there as much as there is in Guatemala, in such a small space. This country is overflowing with fertile lands, hundreds of different cultures, lovely people and countless opportunities, if only the social development of the country would become a priority unhindered by institutionalized corruption, a stifling religious culture and the remnants of a brutal past. But there is no single path to development, and once again I stress that my opinion on these matters (vague as they may be in this entry) is entirely my own.
It is slightly overwhelming to see the amount of things to be done not only here, but in my own country, to better our respective nations. For the first time I’ve joined the local level and worked in areas where, because of lack of real power to change things, I was forced to listen carefully and see what was going on around me in a way that isn’t necessary possible, or at least as easy, when budgets and goals and corporate concerns define the possible and the necessary. But then I remember, things can change just by listening, also.