The objective of this fieldtrip is to introduce participants to the Maya-Achí region of Baja Verapaz, with a specific focus on local indigenous initiatives that aim to recuperate Achí culture and society through popular education and sustainable/traditional agriculture. The Achí region was one of four Mayan regions where, according to the UN Truth Commission report, genocide was carried out. The projects we will be visiting and learning from are taking place in the aftermath and shadow of the U.S.-backed genocides of the 1980s, and on going struggles for Truth, Memory and Justice in the complicated military-dominated context of Guatemala today.
The objective of this fieldtrip is to introduce participants to the world of coffee as we visit one of the first sites of coffee cultivation in Guatemala. As we visit several coffee fincas along the Samalá River we will discuss the past, present, and future of coffee in Guatemala, and how this industry relates to climate. These fincas, sitting at the piedmont of the Santa Maria and Santiaguito volcanoes have been exposed to several natural disasters including explosions from the volcanoes themselves, lahar events associated with extreme precipitation, but also to the coffee leaf rust which triggered, in association with low market prices, the latest coffee crisis in Guatemala.