Thursday, March 12, 2020 (All day) to Monday, March 23, 2020 (All day)

Guatemala is a beautiful country in Central America that has been the home of several occupations and civil wars. The purpose of the trip is threefold:

  1. To walk with the Mayan communities, learn their history and learn their issues. The focus will be on agriculture, climate change and the impact on migration.
  2. To learn how MCC is working with the Mayan people to address their issues
  3. To support the work that is being done in the Mayan communities through advocacy and financial support (part of your fee will go towards the projects you will be visiting).

This Learning Tour explores the effects of climate change in Guatemala as a root cause for forced migration. Throughout the tour, we will visit and speak with communities affected by climate change, learn about their organic and traditional agriculture techniques, as well as witness their community development initiatives that attempt to provide economic opportunities and sustainability to reduce forced migration. Additionally, we will expand on migration issues by visiting immigration advocacy organizations, social services agencies that work with deportees, and migrant shelters to first hand hear migrant stories and learn about the root causes and the realities that many deportees face upon return. Scattered throughout the tour, we will have various other cultural and adventure excursions including visiting the first cathedral constructed by Spanish Conquistadors, a chocolate-making workshop, hiking to one of the highest points in Central America, and more!    

In efforts to begin grasping the effects that climate change has for Guatemalans and the migration crisis that it creates, prior to the Learning Tour, participants will read Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, by Todd Miller, acclaimed as "A well-researched and grim exploration of the connections between climate change and the political hostility toward the refugees it creates.”


Facilitated by Bernie Burnett (Bernie has led seven learning trips to Guatemala) and MCC Guatemala's Michael Darby.

  • Space is limited to 14 persons (minimum 9 persons)
  • Ages 16 and older
  • Cost is approximately $1,400 per person plus flights and insurance (approximate total of $2,300)
  • The cost includes accommodation, transportation, food and financial support of the projects you are visiting. 
  • A few meals and any personal shopping are not included (US $100-$300 should cover this)
  • You are responsible for your own luggage, immunization, meds, and gift purchases.
  • Upon confirmation of participants, flights will be booked and participants can pay with their own credit card (thus collecting points).
  • Registration deadline is Sunday, November 29, 2019. A $500 cash deposit is required to hold a spot. The deposit is non-refundable after January 15 unless the trip is cancelled.
  • As a group we will consider ways to compensate for the carbon footprint we are creating including possibly tree planting, additional fees, etc.

Accommodations

In Guatemala City we will be staying at the MCC Guest House both when we arrive and before we depart. This is a nice safe place from which to do our orientations and debriefing. On the road it will be a combination of hotels and home stays. 

Country Safety

Tensions remain in the country and they have all the same issues that other central American countries have. The travel advisory is that Guatemala is a safe place to visit but to exercise caution. This is alleviated by our connection to our hosts at MCC Guatemala who are up to date on the issues and are able to keep us from areas we should not be in.

Demands of the Trip

This trip will be somewhat physically demanding given that Guatemala is a rugged mountainous country.

  • Transportation: MCC Guatemala has a nice large van used to transport participants around the country. Having said that, we travel through mountainous countryside and some fairly long rides. Gravol is recommended for those who do not travel well.
  • Food safety: We drink bottled water and our hosts are knowledgeable in the preparation of food to reduce the risk of food illnesses. Having said that, any travel to a foreign country brings with it the risk of illness from the change in diet. Generally speaking a diet of bananas and Gatorade and a day of rest is all that is needed to recover.
  • Accommodations: The MCC Guest house has really nice basic accommodations. Once we are in the villages accommodations become a bit more rustic. The Guatemalan people are very gracious hosts and will be giving us their best. It will be a cultural experience. The guest house has showers. The Guatemalan villagers have Shu’s which hopefully you will be open to experience.
  • Medical: You will need to meet the immunization requirements for the trip and fill out a medical form. Food issues, bed bugs and general medical conditions will be handled by the trip coordinators as they arise.

Trip Preparation and Education

You will be provided with educational material and be orientated to the trip through group meetings both at home and in Guatemala. This will include orientation to MCC, orientation to MCC Guatemala in Guatemala, materials related to advocacy, Guatemalan history, debriefing sessions, etc. pre and post trip as well as during the trip. 

Please contact Bernie Burnett at 226-235-4711 or bernieb747@gmail.com for more information.