A few weeks ago in July, community members from EcoLogic’s Cross-Border Alliance for Healthy Fisheries project traveled from Belize and Guatemala to southern Mexico to participate in an ambitious tri-national learning exchange. For five days, fisherfolk from our project in the Sarstún region had the invaluable opportunity to meet and learn from two successful grassroots fishing collectives in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
My workday is never without a touch of adventure here in Sarstún, a tropical lowland region of eastern Guatemala. I divide the typical week between trips out to rural villages and days at the office of APROSARSTUN, EcoLogic’s local partner in the region. The communities we collaborate with are nestled in the lowland mountains near the coast, while our office is no less isolated, marking the highest point on the rainforest campus of a vocational boarding school for Maya youth called Ak’Tenamit.
by EcoLogic field intern Anne Elise Stratton
On the morning of May 20, over a hundred Maya villagers gathered at a rural community center in southern Belize. Down from repurposed old American school buses they stepped: men in woven belts and rubber boots speckled with earth; women in long skirts and flip flops, toting babies in slings. In other villages that day, the men were planting corn, but here in Machaca, the villagers waited—stern-faced, patiently—to write their names or plant an inked thumb in a ledger. They came to pose a question, simple but stark: would their government, and the American oil company it harbored, “submit itself to the rule of law … [or to] the rule of money and the jungle”?
By EcoLogic field intern Maura Fitzgerald