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Young Delaware delegation creates “solidarity” with people of Guatemala

El Tiempo Hispano

DELAWARE — The ten members of the Solidarity with Guatemala delegation from the diocese of Wilmington were back from their trip to Guatemala two weeks ago, still with emotions running high, they talked about their impressions with El Tiempo Hispano.

The delegation’s members, the youngest ones so far, were Peter Lyons, Rory McLaughlin, Anthony Maguire and Derek Waring, students of the University of Delaware and members of the St. Catherine parish; 18-year-old Eddie Velásquez, member of the San Miguel parish of Georgetown; Justin Greenberg, Spanish teacher from the Salesian school; 25-year-old Xylene Graves, Science teacher from Philadelphia; Leanne Renneisen, of St. Mary of the Assumption; and Mary Jo Frohlich and Fr. John Hynes from the Solidarity Committee. Except for Peter and the committee members, it was their first trip to Guatemala for all of them.

Maybe one of the main conclusions these young people shared was to experience first-hand the difference between an American, who takes for granted earning a salary to live well, and the Guatemalan peasant, who works to “survive”. It is definitely not the same, how being so poor, they still help each other, the little they get they multiply.

For instance, Anthony Maguire has a friend who went there last year and encouraged them to participate in this solidarity program. He had no major expectations before leaving, but now realizes that, as the young people they are, they have better opportunities to help and to start something up, for example, to collect medical equipment to really help the people of San Marcos. “This could really make a difference,” says Anthony, engineering student from UDEL.

We must take into account that the organizers of these type of solidarity trips consider certain caveats for the travelers, but they cannot prevent them from enjoying and “suffering” with the local food (more than one commented on their digestive problems), but even so “I ate it all,” said laughing Rory McLaughin.

During the trip they learned about the opposition against mining, which is polluting the mines, but because of their material benefits, they are greatly supported by the community. It is noticeable that being in electoral campaign, with 28 candidates, not one addresses this issue or that of the ownership of the land, “it is like they were in another world.”

They also visited the aqueducts projects and the community centers that have received Wilmington’s diocese support, but what they enjoyed the most was to participate in the Corpus Christi mass. The church was so full that they could not enter, so they stayed outside, playing soccer with the kids there. “What I enjoyed the most was having contact with the kids,” said Derek Waring.

There were many moments filled with human contact in churches, schools, health centers, orphanages, etc., but one who was especially significant was the meeting with the bishop Ramazzini, who has dedicated a great portion of his apostolate to fight against social inequalities and who has been mortally threatened a number of times.

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