Volunteers journey to Guatemala

Luis Martinez, Entertainment Editor

Academy of Lifelong Learning is hosting an event called The Journey to Guatemala on Wednesday.

The event is headed by Karen Reed, a member of a group of volunteers known as Masons on a Mission.

The group visited the Mayan people of Guatemala to build cook stoves for some of the families living in some of the rural villages.

“The Academy of Lifelong Learning are a group of people who are 50 or older, so they are very interested in the things people do for community,” Reed said. “This is sort of a project that concerns the global community, so I thought they would be interested in it.”

Reed also said one thing she took from her experience during her trip to Guatemala was seeing how their visit was going to change the lives of the people living in the villages.

“I went with a group of volunteers to build cook stoves for some of the local Mayan people,” Reed said. “Just seeing the improvement it was going to make in their lives was a huge takeaway from me.”

Reed said she hopes anyone who comes to the event will leave with an understanding of how sending people to do these types of projects can help people who need it.

“I hope that they will understand better that sending people to do hands on project is a good way to help people,” Reed said. “It helps more than any other resource that you send, so supporting groups that actually go and make concrete difference is just so valuable and I hope that they take that away.”

Mirita Metzke, the program coordinator at the Academy of Lifelong Learning, said Reed came to the academy and offered to do the presentation for free.

“(Reed) actually chose us, she offered to do this presentation,” Metzke said. “Karen Reed took this trip with Masons on a Mission as a volunteer to help build cook stoves for the native people so they could cook in their homes. She is a ceramic artist, so she used her skills as a ceramist to help build these stoves.”

Metzke also said the presentation will include photos and artifacts from the Guatemalan trip.

“(Reed) describes it as a photographic journal of the building project, some of the region around Lake Atitlan, and some of the residents they worked with,” Metzke said. “She’s going to talk about the project and the work of the team, and she’s going to talk about some of the challenges for families living in the rural villages and the challenges for travelling in third world countries for us in the United States.”

Metzke said she believes students should attend because it would provide a rich and authentic look into another culture.

Metzke said the academy also offers other educational events throughout the year.

The event will be held at Charleston Carnegie Public Library in the Rotary room and is free to the public.


Luiz Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]