sAMPLE tRIP oUTLINE: syncretism of traditions
Trip focus: Culture, exchange, (service optional)
Best for: School groups/cultural immersion programs/civil organizations/service groups
Time frame: Designed to be 6 days long but could be shortened or lengthened depending on the group's availability and topics of interest
Trip description: An immersive experience with Maya Tz'utujil communities, revealing ways in which Mayan populations have preserved their spirituality from the Spanish Conquest to present day.
Location: Lake Atitlán with visits to Guatemala City/Antigua
See the trip outline below, which chronicles the order of activities and topics covered, but is ready to be customized to your group!
Introductions & Orientation
Understanding Guatemala's history and elements of cultural preservation among Mayan communities (Guatemala City or Antigua, 1-2 days)
-Introductions and trip orientation
-Guatemalan History presentation by local Guatemalan historian or anthropologist
Understanding Mayan Culture
Getting to know the Mayan Tz'utujil culture and the Mayan cosmovision (Lake Atitlán, 2-5 days)
-Visit to Iximche Ruins en route
-"People of the Corn" presentation: Exploring the creation story of the Popol Vuh', the Mayan sacred text
-Participate in a Mayan Ceremony
-Visit to Tz'utujil archaeological site
-Visits with local artisans to see cultural preservation through ancient techniques
Syncretism & Cultural Preservation
Examining how Maya Tz'utujil communities have maintained Mayan ideology and spirituality during and following the Catholic conquest (Lake Atitlán, 1-2 days)
-Visit to Catholic Church in Santiago Atitlán to see the ways that the Mayan Tz’utujil population implemented Mayan ideology and spirituality even as they were ordered to construct this church during the Spanish invasion.
-Visit Maximón, a saint that prevails in a handful of Mayan indigenous towns but the Catholic church rejects.
-Examine cultural preservation through painting (San Juan Murals, visits to local art galleries)
Present Day Tz'utujil Communities
Understanding modern social dynamics of Tz'utujil communities and the organizations that confront current issues they face (Lake Atitlán, 2-5 days)
-Conference about current social issue (education, environmental sustainability, heath, economic development, etc.) to preface visits with local social impact organizations
-Visits to various communities including San Lucas Tolimán and San Pedro la Laguna
-Visit and hands-on workshops with ANADESA (New Dawn Association of Santiago Atitlán), education and women's empowerment project
-Visit and hands-on workshops with Alma de Colores, a project empowering individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities
-Peace Park Tour, site commemorating the 1990 massacre in Santiago Atitlán which led to the removal of the Guatemalan Army base
-Forum with members of Cooperative La Voz
-Learn about and impact coffee and Cooperative La Voz in San Juan la Laguna
-Community service project option
-Understand what sustains the community: visits with honey cooperative, leather artisan, local weavers, artists, etc.
Closing & Debriefing
Recapping our experiences (Antigua or Guatemala City, 1-4 days or more depending on the region visited)
-Final debriefing and reflections
-Optional educational or recreational visit to another region of Guatemala--we're happy to help plan this part for you or get you there!