From Sue Ellen Kingsley*
As we all know, there are Guatemalans taking chances with their lives every day: breaking the silence to give testimony to the violence of the past; speaking out against the environmental degradation wreaked on their lands by corporate interests; or standing up for their rights to water and land to sustain their lives. The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) is there, standing with them in solidarity with the struggle for rights that we, here in the USA, take for granted.
So, we're asking you to join us. Donate $25 for a ticket (hey, donate $100 for four tickets! $200 for eight! it's only money!) in NISGUA's annual drawing. The only chance that you're taking, really, is that your name might NOT be drawn from the pile to win one of the fabulous prizes listed below. But you're already a winner when you enter: you win because you participate in NISGUA solidarity, and NISGUA wins some of the considerable funds we need to continue the work. So you're not taking much of a chance really. And what if you DO win? Whoa, big happiness!
You can enter by going to the NISGUA website: https://www.nisgua.org/drawing/entry.asp. That's easy. Or you can email me, Sue Ellen Kingsley, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 906-482-6827. You can also write and tell me how many tickets you want. I'll have you entered in no time. Please send checks to my address:
NISGUA Chance for Peace
Sue Ellen Kingsley
53044 Hwy M203
Hancock MI 49930
Here are the prizes:
Grand Prize (1) One round trip airline ticket to Guatemala. If winner prefers not to travel to Guatemala the winner can choose a destination in the continental United States. Winner must contact NISGUA at least six weeks before desired dates of travel. Travel restrictions will apply. The grand prize winner will also receive a free week of language school at La Minerva Intensive Spanish School in Xela, Guatemala. Language school includes a homestay with a Guatemalan family, a private bedroom, three meals a day, five hours of private Spanish lessons, daily cultural activities, and all materials (www.xelapages.com/minerva).
First Prize (1) $300! Winner will receive $300!
Second Prize (1) A matted woodcut print from artist and activist Marilyn Anderson. Examples of artist’s work can be viewed at www.ProArteMaya.org.
Third Prize (2) $100 gift certificate from Heart of the Sky Fair Trade. Winners can choose $100 of merchandise from www.HeartOfTheSkyFairTrade.com.
Fourth Prize (1) One hardcover copy of Rescatando Nuestra Memoria, the newest book from long time NISGUA friend and award winning photographer Jonathan Moller.
Fifth Prize (1) Two nights (plus breakfast) in the private residence of Chris and John Sutton. Chris and John are NISGUA supporters and GAP sponsoring community members who live in Arlington, Virginia, an easy trip to Washington, DC. Perfect for your plans to lobby Congress!
There are runner-up prizes as well!
* Sue Ellen Kingsley is the executive director of CCGAP (Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project), NISGUA Board Member and former accompanier (human rights observer in Guatemala). (Photo: Sue Ellen Kingsley with friends in Fronterizo, the Guatemala village where she was an accompanier and which she visits often. Photo courtesy CCGAP)
Update: Deadline for this drawing is extended to July 31, 2010.
From NISGUA: Pacayá Volcano erupts, Tropical Storm Agatha hits following day
The recent combination of volcanic eruptions and tropical storm Agatha has wreaked havoc on communities and infrastructure nationwide in Guatemala, while at the same time each disaster has severely limited the capacity to respond quickly to the other.
Government estimates include over 150 deaths, 100 disappeared, over 135,000 people evacuated, over 20,000 homes damaged and at least 35 bridges completely destroyed.
Highland indigenous communities,urban communities built on mountainsides, and subsistence farming communities throughout the country are those hardest hit by the most recent disasters in Guatemala. Communities and individuals will face the long-term effects on physical and psychological health, homes, crops, and infrastructure in the very places that have long confronted structural inequalities and lack of access to economic opportunities and basic services. The disasters have provided a window and urgency to the reality of daily survival that existed before and will exist long after the disaster itself. In many cases, the communities themselves are the ones now organizing and distributing relief and planning long-term.
What can you do?
Directly support communities and organizations affected by the disaster. If you are currently in Guatemala, contact us for a list of places where you can drop off donations of food, water, clothes, diapers and other material goods. If you are outside of Guatemala, you can donate through NISGUA directly to the following organizations working in or made up of affected communities:
Comité Campesino Del Altiplano (CCDA)
The CCDA is a community-based organization in Sololá, one of the hardest hit areas. The organization is providing emergency services in communities and coordinating with 10 local shelters. In addition to financial donations, the CCDA needs food,water, material goods, phone cards (TIGO), medical volunteers and equipment. Visit the CCDA blog for more information,pictures and the organization's list of needs.
Asociación Civil Grupo Pro-Justicia Nueva Linda
The storm destroyed the encampment that the group maintains as a permanent presence in front of the Nueva Linda plantation (finca) to demand justice for the 2003 forced disappearance of leader Hector Reyes and a 2004 violent eviction that led to the deaths of nine group members. The group estimates the losses as a result of tropical storm Agatha at $10,000.
Fundación Guillermo Toriello
The Guillermo Toriello Foundation is coordinating relief efforts with communities in the western departments of Sololá and Quiché, receiving and distributing donations of food, water and emergency supplies.
For disaster aid ONLY, please send your tax-deductible donations made out to NISGUA to: NISGUA, c/o Melinda Van Slyke, 228 East Jefferson Street, Spring Green, WI 53588.
Visit the CCGAP and NISGUA Web sites for more information.