This morning was our third and final day in the communities. We traveled back up the steep hillside to Concepcion to host a Reading Fiesta with the teens. In communities where only 50% of adults can read and write, literacy is something to be celebrated and Reading Village knows how to do this very well.
We worked with the teens to prepare skits and bring stories to life and after much practice we opened the doors to dozens of eager children. Sitting on chairs, laps, and the cool cement floor we enjoyed an afternoon of storytelling. We were silly and spontaneous. The teens were brilliant and engaging. The children were captivated and curious. In the grace of the youth leaders’ work you could see the impact that Reading Village’s leadership program has on their confidence. In the eyes of the young kids you could see the spark lit by literacy, their imaginations all on fire.
At the end of the day we stood together, as Guatemalans, Americans and Japanese. We talked about the colors and patterns of Mayan weavings and how they might just symbolize the interweaving of peoples and cultures during the Learning Journey. Then we each made wishes for the future of Concepcion – we wished for opportunity, literacy, respect, and equality. We lit candles, offered hugs, and held tight to the memories from these past few days together.