|Part of the AVP group|
Ipala is a close-knit community, though a city of 25,000. Most of the attendees knew each other, either through participation in the Quaker meeting, schools or university. In some cases, they were relatives. Sometimes when people know each other they are hesitant to share their personal stories in AVP. But many of the participants said they had shared in pairs some issues that they had not shared previously with others. Many of them said they appreciated most an exercise called Empathy, where participants assemble into groups of four people, and each writes a paragraph about an issue that they are working on. Then the papers are redistributed and each reads and suggests solutions to someone else’s issue.
|AVP in action|
We talked about the violence in families: abuse, abandonment (many of the participants had absent fathers or husbands) and absence of respectful communication. We practiced “I” messages, trying for clear communication without placing blame. We also had lots of fun exercises. The Guatemalan and North American facilitators worked together with good sharing of responsibilities. The Guatemalan participants put up with our imperfect Spanish and we all understood each other well. There was a funny moment when I gave my name as Martha Magnetica (Magnetic Martha) but it was understood as Martha Maniatica (Crazy Martha)! We had lots of laughs.
|Laguna on top of Ipala volcano|
|Karen, cocinera de calidad!|