Getting ready for the delegates…
I came to Guatemala a few days early to meet up with Kathryn Anderson and Jackie McVicar, the other members of the leadership team, and to prepare for the study tour. We have an interesting and ambitious program planned. We will be travelling extensively in Guatemala – from the capital, Guatemala City, to San Marcos, San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Huehuetenango and El Estor. Delegates will experience first-hand the diversity and stunning beauty of both the land and the peoples of this country. We will meet with historic partners of the United Church of Canada and KAIROS, as well as other human rights organizations and experts. We will visit three mine sites that are owned and operated by Canadian companies or their subsidiaries. We will speak with communities about the impact of mining on their lands and livelihoods, any changes that have come with the arrival of mining, and their proposals for development in their communities. At the end of the study tour, we have meetings planned with the Canadian Embassy and Goldcorp so delegates can share what they have witnessed and the testimonies they have heard, as well as to hear government and company perspectives.
I am looking forward to meeting the study tour participants who will be arriving on Monday night. Delegates are coming from across Canada – from Vancouver Island to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. Our orientation so far has been by conference call so this will be the first chance for us to meet in person. It will be great to see members of the KAIROS network, Helen Knott and Janet Gray, and to meet new people. During the delegation, I look forward to seeing Guatemala through their eyes, to helping translate the experience, to introducing them to people I have had the privilege to know, and to travelling to new places. Mostly, I look forward to working with the delegates to bring the testimonies, analysis and messages of the people we meet in Guatemala to Canada – to the churches, to government, to Canadians at large – and to ensuring these voices are heard.
This blog is one effort to do this. Each blog entry will bring you the voice and experience of a different member of the study tour.