Comité Central Menonita Semana de Servicio “Toma tu Lugar en la Mesa del Señor!”
“This service week provided a rare opportunity to not only meet youth from all over Guatemala and El Salvador, but also a chance to hear about the lives and work that each is doing in their own communities. It was beautiful and inspiring to be a part of an intercambio like this, which connected youth from an array of indigenous groups and ladino communities”, recalls a SALT service worker in Guatemala.
Each year the Mennonite Central Committee’s Guatemala/El Salvador team invites four or five youth from each partner organization to participate in a week of service and learning. This year over forty-five youth from all over Guatemala and El Salvador traveled to the area of Cuisnhauat in El Salvador.
The youth were brought together to learn about Food Security in Central America, engage the local culture by participating in home stays, share their experiences in their respective communities and work together in service projects to benefit the people of Cuisnhauat.
After enjoying freshly made hot pupusas on Wednesday night, the Service Week started out with a brief orientation and the night finished with get-to-know you games before heading out to the home stays. Each day began with devotions, followed by a time of learning, sharing and finishing with the service portion.
We spent time discussing and making collages of the media’s message and influence on our purchasing and food habits. We listened to speakers from San Marcos and Totonicapan talk about the work they do with food security in their cooperatives, which proved to be quite enlightening for all. The youth were also able to donate time and money to help the community build a wall next to the river, to prevent flooding, and repair roofs of two different families. But don’t fret! We were able to find time for fun playing soccer and taking a dip in the river.
Our time concluded with a night of cultural fun at ANADES’s coffee finca getting a coffee tour, swimming in the river and enjoying a camp fire. On Saturday, we said our goodbyes and headed back for the long journey to our respective communities, eager to share all that was learned.
Thus, this time, provided the youth an opportunity to learn more about food security and how they can help their own communities be more sustainable, all the while expanding their world view and making new friends. A big thanks to Toby and Yasmin, who organized this week for all of us!
And thank you to Anne Barkett for the article and the fotos!