Learning the meaning of “Adelante”

11 07 2011

Thursday, June 30th:

An integral part of SolCom’s work is to work closely with community leaders. When about to do a campaign in a community previously unvisited by SolCom, it is customary to begin the process by talking to the local alcalde about who we are as Soluciones Comunitarias, what we do, what our mission is, what the products we offer are, and what we hope to do for the townspeople. Generally we must get the go ahead to do a campaign in the town, and oftentimes the local leadership is enthused enough to offer us a place to hold the campaign.

In the department of Sololá, indigenous alcaldes from around the region hold a monthly congressional meeting in the capital (also named Sololá). The meeting is an impressive gathering of more than 100 men and women who represent their communities, each of them dressed at least in part traditional garb, which in Sololá is characterized by extremely intricately hand-woven textiles of many colors. The result is a room full of more colors than a Jason Pollock painting. We, the better part of Team Impacto, plus Juana, SolCom’s regional coordinator for Sololá, and the lovely Adam and Michelle from the gringo team attended this monthly meeting this past Thursday with the purpose of talking to the conference about SolCom. Michelle introduced us and the students gave short and sweet rundowns of the products and services we offer, as a couple of us handed out fliers, and Juana translated our message from Spanish into Kaqchikel, one of the several indigenous languages within the department and spoken among the alcalde attendees. We also gave the announcement of our new office in the capital of Sololá, to much excitement.

The response was hugely positive. So excited were the alcades, in fact, that a number of them asked if they could buy glasses then and there. There was also great interest in our stoves, which are perhaps one of our most impactful products, but which we can only provide when certain circumstances are met, coordination with local leaders being one of the normal prerequisites. As a whole, the meeting was a great success. By speaking to all of the region’s alcaldes at the same time, we overcame one of Guatemala’s biggest obstacles to our work – geography – while spreading word of our mission. The positive response of the alcaldes was a sound reminder that SolCom’s work is doing good for the people we work with, and a great motivation to continue adelante.

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