Charles Wright (Guatemala)

Charles Wright (Rights Action and ADIVIMA, Guatemala): Charles completed his undergraduate degree in international affairs at Georgia Tech and taught English at an elementary school in Puebla, Mexico. At the time of his fellowship, Charles was receiving his Masters of Science in Foreign Service student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he studied foreign policy and development with a regional focus on Latin America. During his time in Washington, DC, he also interned in the US Senate and with the Cuban-American National Council.

The Other Side of the Road

14 Jun

Finally, I am here in Rabinal, a sleepy town of 12,000, hidden in a luscious green valley that makes one crave for Ranch salad dressing. My place of residence is buried in a tropical cove on the outskirts of town, connected by a rain-washed dirt road. It was on this road that my adventure began.

Monday, my first official day of work, I ventured into town in search of ADIVIMA´s office, noting different landmarks and such so I could find my way back. After much effort and lots of directions, I found my way to the office where I received a hearty welcome and an introduction to the group.

ADIVIMA, short for the Association for the Integral Development of the Victims of Violence in Verapaz, Maya Achí, is a haven for those seeking social justice for wrongs done to them by the Guatemalan army. There is much more to their work, but I will elaborate later.

Anways, the day ended without much fanfare, and I started back home. After walking a bit, I noticed something interesting. From the other side of the road things appeared different. Because of a change of 180 degrees, my landmarks were gone, and everything blurred together into one incoherent wandering.

I was lost.

I tried street after street, alley after alley, but to no avail. The sun had set and house lights were flickering on. After passing the same pharmacy for the umpteenth time, I collapsed………into a taxi, that whisked me home in minutes. (Slightly over-dramatized, but aren´t all travel stories.) At home while reflecting on this experience, I was struck by a poignant lesson – the importance of perspective.

History (and every story for that matter), like the road I traveled, always has at least two sides whether we realize it or not. For that reason ADIVIMA and organizations like it are essential because they walk down that other side of the road everyday, thus, highlighting a perspective that is oft ignored (that of indigenous people – in this case Mayans) and fight to bring that perspective into the public´s eye.

This is where you the reader comes into play, and where you can help the efforts of ADIVIMA. Be informed. In these days when immigration, foreign aid, genocide, globalization are hot topics, we rarely have enough knowledge about these issues to effectively grasp their breadth or to pressure those in power into action. So today, take a moment to walk down the other side of the road…. who knows what new perspectives you´ll find.

Posted By Charles Wright (Guatemala)

Posted Jun 14th, 2006

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