Reise im Februar 2016

Eine kleine Reisegruppe ist gemeinsam mit Eddy Dieckmann im Februar 2016 in die Dörfer gereist, die Nuevo Dia und Hope Guatemala unterstützen. Seán McGillicuddy, der als Lehrer und Theaterregisseur in Dublin arbeitet, schreibt in seinem Bericht über seine Beweggründe mitzufahren und seine Erlebnisse. Seine nachhaltigen Eindrücke hat er in einem Theaterprojekt für Kinder und Jugendliche einfließen lassen. In dem Stück „Gan Imní“ spielen Legenden aus Guatemala und Irland sowie die aus Südamerika bekannten „Sorgenpüppchen“ eine große Rolle.

Hope Guatemala: Finding New Ways              

By Seán McGillicuddy

I always wanted to get involved with a charity but I wanted it to happen organically. Two years ago I took part in Hope Guatemala’s charity run and was very impressed by how founder Eddy Dieckmann and friends were helping the people in Guatemala. Having said that, for two years I didn’t do anything else about this, or so I thought.Over the past few years I kept up friendship with Eddy and went along to many events that he organised to raise money including music gigs by up and coming local band Strange Attractor, concerts such as The Sacred Heart University Orchestra, and the launch of their book “Children of The Finca Florencia”. I decided it was time to get more involved.

I went to a few meeting and afterwards I thought, “What can I really do to help, sure who I am?” Then Eddy asked me to go with him to Guatemala. I didn’t think about it, I just said “Yes” and before I knew it we were on a flight to Guatemala and it was an eye opening experience. The plan was to connect  with Hope Guatemala, and their German sister charity Nuevo Dia’s, partner NGOs ASECSA and SEFCA in Guatemala, meet the communities which HG/ND have been helping, and to investigate new projects. It was an intense couple of weeks but very worthwile.

New Project: „Finca California“

My first impression was the positivity. Everyone smiles and welcomed us with open arms. We  went to one community, a possible new project, called Finca California (Finca being the landowners land and California being nothing like the place you think of in North America). The sun was high in the sky the foliage was ripe but the situation was bleak. The families living here haven’t been paid for years for the work they are dong for the Finca owners, are not allowed to eat the crops they grow and have no entitlements, not even being allowed to keep a dog without the landlords permission (who they never see and you guessed it, lives in California). The amazing thing about the people living here is that they wanted to share with us the little food they had. All the other communities did the same and we always took what they offered so as not to offend. This was the first time that none of us could take what they were offering, the possibility of offending was outweighed by their own need. Needless to say, this could be one of HG/NDs new projects. To help this community, and other surrounding communities, HG/ND is in talks with their partner organisations to acquire land and invite the people of these communities to farm it. This way the people have a place to grow their own food and the possibility of bringing some of this food to market. Of course, there will be difficulties in trying to do this. However, having seen the positive effect HG/ND has had on communities which they have been involved with over the past 10 years and the can do attitude of the people in these communities, not to mention the abundance of water, their own produce and houses that are no longer just made out of planks of wood, plastic sheeting and corrugated iron, it is my firm belief that HG/ND will be successful helping the people of Finca California also.


Mayan ceremonies

We travelled from the South to the North of Guatemala visiting old and new projects by bus (an experience in itself, you’re best not looking out the window as the buses weave around the roads high up in the mountains at speed while passing out other buses) and pickups while meeting wonderful people. We were greeted with songs, music and prayer. We were even lucky enough to be a part of a traditional Mayan ceremony in which the Shaman thanked the sun, the earth and each other, accepting everybody and everything as one. She also told us that the day of the ceremony was a special day in the Mayan calendar as it was “The Day of New Ways”. Something which  registered with us all as we began to consider new ways forward for the charity.

„You give us help and power“
The work that Hope Guatemala/Nuevo Dia are doing is not to be underestimated. They build water storage units for communities that would otherwise have to walk miles for clean water, educate and feed children every day in a nutrition centre which wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for them, have set up seed banks and promote positive agriculture, provide facilities for mid wives,  to name but a few. All of their projects help communities to sustain themselves. Dr. Hugo, head of ASECSA, could not stress enough the importance of the work that Hope Guatemala/Nuevo Dia are doing. He told us that other NGOs often don’t visit the communities, that they are generally faceless so the people of the communities don’t understand why or where help usually comes from. “With Hope Guatemala/Nuevo Dia”, he said, “this Is different. By visiting them you give them hope and motivation. You show them that you care and that you are with them. You cannot underestimate the power of that for these people”.

What next?

When people return from such experiences and often say things like “It was a life changing experience” or “You have to go there to experience it for yourself” which are all very valid and often true. Personally I found that before I travelled there I was supporting Eddy Dieckmann and his charities Hope Guatemala/Nuevo Dia, now I find I’m supporting the people of Guatemala. It was an experience of culture and of hope, an eye opening one and one that I will be processing for some time to come.
So Seán, what are you doing next you might ask? Well I’ll tell you. I decided that I would like to use the skills I have to do something for the charity so I am producing a play. The play, titled Gan Imní (Without Worry), is a bilingual show for children and the whole family. It’s a story about two friends who live separate lives and must discover that in order to find themselves they must first learn that they need each other. It connects children in Guatemala to children in Ireland by tapping into Hope Guatemala’s ethos of “Children for Children” and “Help them Help Themselves”. To do this the play connects myths and legends of Guatemala, particularly that of the Guatemalan Worry Dolls, to myths and legends of Ireland and taps into a one world mentality.

Gan Imní will play in Dingle during the Feile na Bealtaine Festival on Saturday the 30th April at 2pm in An Lab.