2019 Poverty and Social Justice Exposure Trip




What – An eight day trip, including travel time from and back to the US, to visit social justice, community health and education programs run by relief and development organizations in Guatemala.

When – February, 2019. If interested, please contact Rich at richr.wind@gmail.com.

Why – The goal of the trip is to stimulate and inspire participants to explore what their role might be in helping those living in poverty to improve their circumstances holistically and sustainably.

What Do We Hope to Accomplish?

  1. Bring participants to a higher level of understanding of the nature and causes of poverty and social injustice and their impact on physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
  2. Help participants begin to understand differences and similarities in how Americans and those in impoverished communities view the world while appreciating the significance and fundamental value we all share.
  3. Afford the opportunity for trip participants to explore whether they are called and how they might apply their unique abilities and resources in an informed manner to partner with the poor to improve their circumstances on a sustainable basis.

How Will We Attempt to Accomplish These Objectives?

  1. In a respectful manner, provide direct contact with people who live in poverty in a developing nation and exposure to the day-to-day realities of their lives by visiting their homes and communities.
  2. Provide direct contact with development staff who partner with those living in impoverished communities.
  3. Provide an introduction to the characteristics and causes of poverty and explore the cultural, relational, spiritual, social and other factors that contribute to its existence.
  4. Observe strategies employed by established non-governmental organizations to equip individuals, families and communities to improve their circumstances holistically and sustainably.
  5. Create opportunities for participants to discuss these topics with development program staff, the people they serve and peers.
  6. Help the team understand how to interact with those living in poverty in ways that encourage them and reinforce their dignity, value, purpose and hope. This will include opportunities to work alongside community members.
  7. Explore reasons we might participate in efforts to help those who live in these circumstances.
  8. Talk about what an appropriate response might be for each participant. Participants will not be expected to make a financial commitment to any organization.

Who – Limited to 10 team members plus WIND’s Executive Director and a translator.

What Will this Cost? – We estimate total cost, including an allowance for coach airfare, to be around $2,500.  This will include all meals, accommodations and in-country travel.  An appropriate adjustment can be made for participants who want to book their own travel to and from Guatemala using airline miles or otherwise.  Accommodations will be clean and comfortable although not luxurious.

Transportation – We will fly to Guatemala City from our various points of departure.  Travel time is just under 5 hours from LA and under 3 hours from Houston or Dallas.  In-country travel will be by chartered vans or rented SUVs.  The areas of the country we will visit are generally safe and well known to the trip leaders, and appropriate precautions will be taken.  We will travel through picturesque mountainous countryside with occasional stops along the way for photo taking.

Itinerary – We will visit development program sites during the day where we will hear from program staff and observe facilities and services.  Our intent is to visit 3-4 such programs.  Below is a brief summary of several organizations that are possible candidates. The actual itinerary will be determined in advance of the trip. We also hope to organize at least one day when we will get our hands dirty and interact directly with indigenous families by helping them assemble simple, vented, high efficiency stoves in homes that currently only use open fires (leading to a myriad of health issues).  If the composition of the team includes several medical professionals, we likely will pivot the itinerary to allocate 2-3 days for providing health care services in a neighborhood clinic.  Non-medical team members will serve in support roles or focus on the stove project.

International Justice Mission – IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, prosecute perpetrators and influence public justice systems – police, courts and laws – to protect the poor. In Guatemala, IJM serves children victimized by sexual violence and pursues justice against their perpetrators.

Food for the Hungry – FH focuses on serving the health and nutritional needs of children. FH runs child nutrition and education programs in central Guatemala

WIND – Rich Rice, who will co-lead this trip, is the executive director of this organization that focuses on education, health care and leadership development for families in the Ixil Triangle region of central Guatemala. We will visit an elementary school in a small town in the Ixil Triangle and hear the school founder’s story of survival and personal calling to improve educational opportunities among indigenous Maya Indians.

Medical Teams International (MTI) – MTI is a global relief and development agency helping people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty in 70 countries. MTI delivers medical and dental care, humanitarian aid and holistic development programs to people in need.  MTI has community health programs in central Guatemala, where its focus is on prevention and community case management of malnutrition, acute respiratory infection, diarrhea and maternal health.

Agros – Agros targets regions of significant poverty, and then purchases land sufficient to support between 100 and 200 families. Each family is provided enough land on which to build a home, establish a garden and cultivate cash crops, enabling the family to launch their own agro-enterprises so they can sustainably generate income above the poverty line.  Using this model, Agros has supported the establishment of 19 villages in Guatemala. We hope to visit one such village in the Ixil.

Wuku’ Kawoq (Maya Health) – Wuqu’ Kawoq is a full-service primary care provider operating in central Guatemala with special expertise in the management of women’s health care, child malnutrition and chronic non-communicable disease.

Most evenings we will have private meals during which we will discuss the events of the day.  We also hope to have Guatemalan and ex-patriot guests join us for a few of our evening sessions who will talk about the challenges of sustainable poverty alleviation and/or share their life stories.

The first and last days/nights in Guatemala will be spent in Antigua, an amazing colonial era city about an hour from the airport in Guatemala City.

Interested? Please contact Rich Rice to learn more

email: richr.wind@gmail.com

cell 425-495-7687