CWB returns to Guatemala for a third time since 2005, when Hurricane Stan destroyed communities in the northwest highlands. Our work in Guatemala this time will consist of performances for all ages as well as clown workshops for youth and their teachers. Our main collaborator in Guatemala is Stephane Gue, director of Proyecto Payaso, an organization dedicated to raising awareness around HIV/AIDS through clown performances and workshops. Our collaborator in El Salvador is Robyn Braverman with Save the Children. El Salvador was recently (November 2009) hit by Storm Ida leaving thousands homeless and without access to basic needs. There we will perform in schools and provide youth groups with skills that allow them to use creative theatre in their organizational work and in their communities. Although we will only be in El Salvador for 3 days, in that time we will visit 5 different communities. In Guatemala we will spend time in remote communities outside Quetzaltenango, Sololá, Suchitepequez, and Izabal.
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In fourteen days we did 18 shows plus two workshops and entertained almost 5000 children!
This was a follow-up to our trip to the same region in 2006 when we toured communities that had been devastated by Hurricane Stan, killing over 1000 people and cutting off nearly every road in the country. The highlands of western Guatemala are heavily populated by Indigenous Mayan people, most of whom live in extreme poverty. The area is also plagued by a high level of violence left over from a genocidal war waged by the Guatemalan military (with US support) from the 1970’s through the early 1990’s.
Clowns Without Borders USA is fresh back from a trip to Guatemala. This trip was launched with the idea of bringing smiles to children and adults in the communities most affected by torrential rains and mudslides caused by Hurricane Stan in October 2005. Clowns Without Borders is an International organization that brings laughter and relief to people affected by war and disaster all over the globe.
Over 1,000 people were killed in Guatemala, mostly by tremendous mudslides that drowned houses and whole villages. Rebuilding and replanting are still very much in progress in these poor indigenous villages and many people are still on emergency food aid and in temporary housing.
The Payasos Mural Project in Guatemala lasted 3 weeks, and during this time, we worked at three different locations: ìEl Refugioî and Nujuju ( homeless street boysí shelters, administered by Casa Alianza) and el Basurero (the dump, working with Cuarto Mundo, a human rights organization) in Guatemala City. We created 5 different murals with the street boys and children of the dump in this sort time. This is an incredible amount of painting, but can be justified because it filled the need for a healthy and expressive activity for these children, the poorest of the poor, who had such a strong desire to paint.