All posts tagged: Quetzaltenango

A lesson in politics: empowering children to influence in Xela

I have a very vivid memory of my first conversation about politics. I must have been pretty young, as me and my brother were in our old house in Kilburn and still sleeping in bunk beds. It must have been around a significant election – probably 1997 – and he spoke to me into the forbidden hours after bedtime about the whole concept of government, the different parties and why it was an important day for the country. I don’t think my parents would have overheard this midnight lesson, as I’ve since discovered they were absorbed in celebrating the glorious culling of a much hated Tory cabinet. My interest in politics didn’t grow much beyond this basic understanding until I reached sixteen and my A Level in the subject. Even this was very much about learning the systems, the history and the processes of politics. We rarely looked at current issues or held debates where our views could be encouraged and examined. It was only university that helped me to think in a more independent …

Driving through Guatemala: border crossings and a market

Our first few days in Guatemala are taken up almost entirely by two complicated and seemingly endless journeys, their length altogether inexplicable for the distances covered. But the densely jungled round-topped mountains and the occasional volcanoes of the new country are all the entertainment we could ask for as we speed along the meandering roads and away from the security of Junax, San Cristóbal and Mexico. I’ve reached that blissful level of tolerance known only to long-term travellers, where sleep is easily accessible and impenetrable when found, despite noise or motion. Any surface suffices a pillow and the observation of passing scenery is all that’s needed for occupation. On this first day, driving across the border to Quetzaltenango where we’ll find our next project, I spend those first two hours in a watchful meditation, resurfacing only to adjust the soundtrack humming companionably from my headphones. Our party, which we collected from different corners of San Cristóbal at our early departure time, is international, and my interest drifts occasionally into the strange collection of different languages …