Paula Garcia Tufro

Paula (ADVIMA, Guatemala): Paula was studying for a Master’s degree in the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown, at the time of her fellowship on Guatemala. Her full name is being withheld at her request.

First Impressions

24 May

After 2 sleepless nights before leaving for Guatemala, I have finally arrived in Guatemala City. Rubén from Rights Action picked me up at the airport and took me to the pension where I would be staying during my time in the capital. Once I was on my own, my first day consisted mainly of wondering around the streets getting familiar with my surroundings and the place that was to become my home for the next three months, followed by a long 13 hour night of sleep.

The next morning, feeling well rested I was eager to get to the Rights Action headquarters, meet the people there and gain some insight as to what I would be doing during my time here. After the usual meeting and greeting I was given lots of background reading material on the Chixoy Dam, the communities that were affected by the Dam, the atrocities that have occurred in connection with the construction of the dam and the displacement of the people in the surrounding communities.

The studies that I have been reviewing outline the ongoing difficulties experienced by these communities as a result of their displacement, the flooding of their lands, loss of their crops, problems with access to water, and acts of violence and intimidation against them in connection with the Dam.

I am heading on my first unofficial field trip today to Antigua. I am tagging along with Mariko, who works here at Rights Action, as she heads to a meeting there this afternoon. I am excited to venture out of the city and visit the place that everyone keeps raving about. I will be heading to Rabinal tomorrow, where I will be staying for the remainder of my stay here.

I am really eager to get to Rabinal and to meet the people that I will be living and working with. So far, all I really know is that the people at ADIVIMA are expecting me and are waiting for me to arrive. I get the feeling that they will be really welcoming, so I am looking forward to it. It is a 4+ hr drive on some sort of pickup truck. Pray for no rain so all of my things do not my get soaked as my bag will be strapped onto the roof of the truck apparently and afternoon storms have been an absolute certainty so far!

Posted By Paula Garcia Tufro

Posted May 24th, 2005

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