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Guatemala: Rich In Culture, Calling For Change



Welcome to Guatemala! As you walk down the street, a group of children are playing Chamusca, a popular form of soccer among youth. You see beautiful mountains and volcanoes in the distance, and you stop to observe their beauty. Multiple people greet you along the street with a warm “Buenos Dias,” as Guatemalans are known for hospitality.


Later, you find a market where you enjoy fresh paches, or potato tamales. You meet an indigenous Mayan, who is visiting from the western highlands. She explains the history of her traditional Mayan outfit. Then you meet a Ladino, who resides in Guatemala City and wears what you are currently wearing: jeans and a short-sleeve shirt. The two Guatemalans are quite different—yet both are unforgettable.

 

Guatemala is a beautiful nation, with two-thirds of its land consisting of mountain ranges and volcanoes. The nation sits near Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua in Central America. While Guatemala is roughly the size of Tennessee, its population is 14 over million…

 

Yet more than half the population lives in poverty (approximately 55%). Those living in urban areas such as Guatemela City tend to thrive while the indigenous people in rural areas often lack resources and educational opportunities. The average Guatemalan family lives on less than $4 per day.

 

There has been an effort to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Peace Accords between the government, United Nations, and guerrilla forces were signed into effect in 1996 following 30 years of guerilla warfare, but the nation has since faced an uphill battle due to many factors. Gang violence, inadequate police protection, and widespread government corruption are some examples. The latter has, arguably, led more than half the country to believe that democracy will not help the nation see better days. Many people are beginning to believe a totalitarian system of government would better serve them.

 

But there is hope. Despite an effort by powerful, corrupt forces to block him, Bernardo Arevalo was inaugurated as the new president of Guatemala in January 2024. He has worked as a peacemaker in the nation for nearly 30 years and is determined to help his nation more. According to Arevalo, “The most important [fight] is the fight against poverty. The fight against hunger. The fight against the lack of health care. The fight for access to education.” As an outsider candidate who stands against government corruption, he may indeed be the leader this nation needs to finally effect lasting change.


Today we are holding a Zumbathon for our instructor, Shirley, who is raising money for a missions trip there that will help families in need. You can make a difference by participating in our fundraiser event. For more info, send us a message. The Zumbathon begins at 4 p.m!

 

Pray for Guatemala, especially for those who live among heavy crime and in poverty each day. This nation, rich in diverse cultures, can rise to a place of prosperity, from the highlands to the lowlands.

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