Yesterday and today were long without bread! Every meal here is served/prepared with bread on the side and it looks SO good. Also, in the mornings, the streets are filled with the scent of fresh baked bread from the panaderias. But when I look at these three photographs of Angeli Lisseth Hernandez Rodriguez, Heidy Sarai Batz Par, and Arlene Escarleth Lopez, I know that whether or not my small gesture of solidarity changes anything, that the three mothers fighting for family reunification deserve support, regardless of the form. It is important to mention that here in Guatemala when people question or challenge the justice system is when they are most likely to end up disappeared or having to flee the country due to threats, so the three women, along with Sobrevivientes and other supporters of this campaign are risking personal harm in the name of justice.
A little bit about the daughters:
According to the 3 days for 3 daughters website, Angeli Lisseth Hernandez Rodriguez, daughter of Loyda Rodriguez, was kidnapped November 3, 2006 from her front yard in Villa Hermosa, San Miguel Petapa, Guatemala City. She is now believed to now be in Missouri. Heidy Sarai Batz Par, daughter of Raquel Par, was kidnapped April 4, 2006 on a bus in Guatemala City. She is believed to be living in Iowa and is now 4 years old. Arlene Escarleth Lopez, daughter of Olga Lopez, was kidnapped from Olga’s mother in Guatemala City September 27, 2006. She is now believed to be living in Illinois.
I recently read an article on CNN.com about how the Guatemalan army stole children (at least 333) to sell into adoption during the 36 year civil war. The article quoted Marco Tulio Alvarez, the director of the Guatemalan Peace Archive (the commission that began investigating these cases beginning in May 2008) as saying “Guatemalan society must know what happened and must never allow it to happen again.” This statement sounds hopeful and strong, but what the article and the commission is clearly lacking is the knowledge that kidnapping children to sell for adoption is not something of the past-it is still going on.
Last night was supposed to be me and Simón’s second workshop at the night school without Lucia, but when we got there we were told that the school is in the middle of a strict study schedule for their national testing and could not spare time for the workshop. We searched for Daniel Silvestre, the director of the school, and requested to meet in order to make sure that he knew that just because Lucia went back to California doesn’t mean the campaign is over. We sat down in his office and pitched the campaign (Hombres Contra Feminicidio) all over again since our first pitch was to the assistant director, Mirna Sanchez. He seemed interested and was open to the idea of us returning at the beginning of the next school year, but told us that because school is ending soon there just wasn’t time for us this year. (Schools here in Guatemala start in January and end in October) We had to push so we could at the very least have a closing session with the classes and finally we were able to schedule two closing sessions after the testing, the holiday (September 15 is Independence Day) and before finals. Our last days will be September 17 and 22. We left happy that we got something, but were disappointed that we couldn’t work last night.
Today I visited Simón at his office in Edificio de Correos (the mail building). He uses the office space for two purposes, to create his productos artesanales (handicrafts) from which he earns his income and as a headquarters for his poetry and art collective, S.o.P.a., Sociedad Optativa de Poetas Anónimos (the optional anonymous poets society). S.o.P.a. is a literary group of mostly young people which is dedicated to promoting the art of writing through different means of artistic expression such as poetry, painting, photography, film, music, multimedia presentations, workshops and exhibitions. A recent article about can be found HERE.
A video of Simon reading his poetry in the street after a festival in Dec 08 in front of an installation created by artist Maya Lemus
After visiting S.o.P.a., we went to eat lentil soup with some friends at a place called Bar Europa and the bread sat in the middle of the table taunting me, wanting me to dip it in the soup! But I remained strong. Tomorrow is the last day of the huelga, and since Carlos is picking us up at 6:30am tomorrow for an immigration conference, it will be a very long day without bread!