Hello again. Here in Guatemala I have 5 minutes on a computer in a small village off the google map called Nahuala. South of Lake Atitlan we saw a town that was destroyed by a mudslide near Santiago. Now a prospective GG organization is working to rebuild the town and two schools, as well as provide basic nutrition to students and pregnant mothers.
A podcast of our visit is soon to follow.
One moment sticks out as the proven sign of a good organization. We were touring the devastation of the town. Kristen said,
“normally the people here would never allow photographers,” she began, as Robert snapped a flurry of photos for their project page. “But because this man” – pointing at the school principal – “is so respected in the community, you are welcome among them as his guest.”
You want proof that the local leaders you work with are among the best and beloved of a community. That is an important part of getting results from the money, and getting cooperation in the effort. Today, without meaning to, Kristen, who herself volunteers to help this project from America with 5 visits a year, really solidified my impression that their project is what the people want.
This is a very independent town. They resisted the military presence in the past, and because of suspicion of outsiders, refused government military support after the 2005 mudslides that buried the town. Finding local partners is key to making the work we do continue through the hands of the people.