Aug 12, 2022
LPGM Travel Resumes to Guatemala
After pausing transformational travel due to the pandemic, LPGM sponsored two trips back-to-back in June to Guatemala.
The groups traveled by plane to Guatemala City, then approximately five hours via bus up switchbacks to the cloud forest, where LPGM’s partner Community Cloud Forest Conservation is located.
CCFC’s campus includes 390 acres of forest, gardens, river, waterfalls and caves, along with solar- and hydro-powered buildings. CCFC welcomes student, church and community groups throughout the year.
In the fall, the campus fills with young Q’Eqchi’ Maya girls – up to 150 per session – for WALC (Women in Agroecology Leadership for Conservation). This 25-day intensive program -- led by alumnae of the program who are now WALC interns -- provides life-changing education in areas such as agroecology, nutrition, health and goal setting. Each student returns home with a parcel to plant and care for and can earn a scholarship to support one year of school.
WALC interns at Community Cloud Forest Conservation teach and mentor younger students in nutrition, reforestation, agroecology, life skills, and more!
Travelers witnessed first-hand how education—especially for young women—is crucial not only for the wellbeing of student participants, but for the healthy and sustainable development of the entire region.
Highlights for the first group—an intergenerational trip of 13 from across the U.S.—included interacting with a visiting group of grade school students and venturing out to a Catholic boarding school. WALC interns delivered lessons focused on topics such as air, water, birds, agroecology, nutrition, and prenatal health. The trip concluded with a tour of the Mayan temple at Iximche’ and two days in the tourist town of Antigua.
“Since this trip, I’ve become more interested in women and education and in the environment,” shares Elizabeth, age 17 of Washington, D.C., who traveled with her grandmother of Ames, IA.
The second group was made up 23 travelers, largely youth and adults from Bethlehem Lutheran Church-Twin Cities. Unfortunately, a few travelers ended up testing positive for Covid-19, which changed the itinerary. (All had mild symptoms and have fully recovered.)
The group had some amazing adventures and time with WALC interns nonetheless. Highlights included a visit to Semuc Champey National Monument, going on a night hike with flashlights to look for wildlife and learning how to cook with various local crops.
Sophia, the youngest traveler at age 11, said, “I learned that little things can make really big impact.”
Other traveler comments included:
“How can my words and my life do justice to what I have seen, heard, and done?”
“We saw how interconnected we are with nature and how important being good land stewards is to taking care of the planet.”
If you are interested in learning more about the work of CCFC and WALC and seeing some impressive video footage, check out the webinar led by Dr. Tricia Hall this past spring:
Travel plans are underway for June 2023. To get your name on the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.