Community Radio Waves Empower Rural Guatemala

by Creative Action Institute
Apr 24, 2012

Youth Move Towards Dreams

ArtCorps Artist Naphtali Fields and the 2012 Artists in Residence visit a Cultural Survival community radio station in Xela, Guatemala.

Our excitement grew as the bus climbed up the mountain towards the community of San Mateo, outside of Queztaltenango. On our way to spend the morning with youth volunteers in a community radio station we passed cows crossing the road, men pedaling furiously on bicycles, selling the morning paper, and buses that spit exhaust so black the shimmering air around them recoiled. We disembarked, and began the five minute process of greeting kisses and hugs with the few indigenous youth standing shyly outside the radio gate.

“This is Freddy, Ximena, Ruby, Merlita and Anna!” began my colleague ArtCorps Artist Patricia Escalon, the multi-media artist who has been working with the Radio Doble Via youth. They stepped towards us timidly, shaking our hands with small smiles and looking at the ground.

Isabel led the group in breathing exercises; we giggled nervously when she made us feel our partner’s lungs as we inhaled and exhaled deeply. Then Evelina joyfully jumped in. She taught us how to move our bodies to different rhythms. By the time we got to the African beat, the group was so enthusiastic that one of our cohorts had fractured her foot in two places. The activity paused as everyone rushed to help and five minutes later she was comfortably cushioned on mattresses, with various sweatshirts as pillows and ice on her leg.  A little subdued, we kept working.

The youth have worked mostly on radio production, but movement workshops were new to them. We began exploring techniques for story-building using physical theater techniques. Using body sculptures, the youth began to share their different experiences of rural Guatemalan reality.

What did we see?

A portrait of the youth by the youth showing the everyday injustices of their lives. Some were sculpted into gang-members, stabbing innocents in the street. Others showed hopelessness, ignorance and the violence that takes place behind closed doors. It was a pretty powerful and depressing picture.

So where are these young people headed if they’re coming from so much hardship?

Well, we did a second sculpture and this time, we asked them what they wanted from life. What a difference! We saw Willy reaching towards his dreams, Freddy studying hard, Rubi’s father hugging her, proud of her achievements. There were no more knifings, and instead of fear, hope took center stage.


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Creative Action Institute

Location: Ipswich, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Louisa Trackman
Ipswich, MA United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Creative Action Institute that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.