Spotlight on 32 Volcanes
Spotlight on 32 Volcanes
New Beginnings, New Space
“Coming to 32 Volcanes is coming to your home in the city.” – Carmen de Alvarado
32 Volcanes has moved into its new space on 9a Calle 9-38, Zona 1, a few blocks south of Parque Central. ¡Todos son bienvenidos! All are welcome!
The spacious site boasts 8 rooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, ample storage, and parking. Murals stamp walls around the space: A wall facing the building sports a mural reading “32 Volcanes” and members of the Xela artists’ collective, Niñas Furia, designed another mural for the adjacent wall—the face of a singing girl, surrounded by touches like paper boats, bees, and a giant hummingbird.
In this new space, we see the sunlit and tranquil patio of 32 Volcanes. Patients line one side of the L-shaped porch, chatting as they wait for their clinic consultations and prescription pick-ups. One-year-old Francisco toddles along the other side of the porch, never straying far from the kitchen where his parents are starting a vegetable soup for lunch.
Foundation Todos Juntos supports the Scholarship Program in various rural communities as well as the city of Xela. As part of 32 Volcanes, Carmen de Alvarado provides the local support and oversight of this program.
Timmy Global Health renewed their commitment to their partnership with Carmen and Roney’s work. The U.S. nonprofit continues to provide financial support to the 32 Volcanes Clinic and Nutrition Program and brings five brigades per year. These brigades provide primary care, medicine, and the opportunity for lab tests and specialist referrals to rural communities outside of Xela.
Dr. Herman Guevara and Dr. Carmen Rosa Alvarado Benítez continue to serve the 32 Volcanes Clinic and Nutrition Program. Verónica, a former Family Support Center participant and current scholarship student, has resumed her work in the clinic and pharmacy between nursing school rotations. In December Verónica will graduate with a degree in nursing from a local university!
Familiar faces to the projects have joined 32 Volcanes in 2019. The Family Support Center’s staff is largely the same, however Kevin Jimenez transitioned from working in the kitchen in Llanos del Pinal to the 32 Volcanes space as their on-site cook. Doña Silvia, who previously taught the youngest children in the afternoon, has taken his place in the FSC kitchen.
Angelica, who previously taught the youngest children in the morning, now has the class in the afternoons, while recent high school graduate Gaby has the youngest group in the morning. Gaby graduated from an early childhood education high school track in 2018. Santos continues as the Family Support Center Coordinator and teacher and Yolanda continues as a part-time teacher as well. Angelica, Gaby, Santos, and Yolanda are all former Family Support Center participants!
Honoring History and Looking Toward the Future
Headquarters secured, a final crucial step in forming the new nonprofit was choosing a name. The founding members of the association selected “32 Volcanes”, after Guatemala’s famous volcanoes.
Clinic and pharmacy support staffer, Verónica, noted, “The name 32 Volcanes is a good fit, because all of Guatemala’s volcanoes are connected to each other underground…It reflects how we are all connected here, and how all our work is connected.”
32 Volcanes is built on a strong foundation of more than 25 years’ experience operating projects in and around Xela. Volunteers are immersed in work the 32 Volcanes staff have been known for in several communities for many years — from counseling a patient with diabetes, to coaching 2nd-grader Carlos through his multiplication homework, to discussing a student’s upcoming transition to middle school with her parents.
32 Volcanes is pleased to have staff from the Medical Clinic, Family Support Center, and Nutrition Program (all formerly associated with Asociación Pop Wuj) collaborate with the new organization. Many project participants have followed 32 Volcanes during the transition -- some who have worked with Carmen for over 20 years -- and the same communities remain central to 32 Volcanes’ projects. Many participants travel to 32 Volcanes for Scholarship Program meetings or medical care from outside Xela. However, the new space and organizational structure have opened other opportunities for 32 Volcanes. Read further about the ongoing projects volunteers and donors have come to know and exciting new initiatives that are underway.
THE PROJECTS YOU KNOW
The Scholarship Program/Programa de Becas
The Scholarship Program awarded scholarships to over 100 students in the same communities that have been supported for many years.
Meetings for the “Xela” group of scholarship families now take place at 32 Volcanes.
The Family Support Center/Centro de Apoyo Familiar
The Family Support Center is continuing in the same space and with the same staff. This year, 30 children are enrolled, 22 of whom come for lunch and after-school support and 8 of whom are there all day.
In August, Family Support Center teachers traveled to San Marcos la Laguna at Lago Atitlán for “Winaq ye kemon / Tejiendo comunidad / Weaving community,” a weeklong training in Waldorf pedagogy.
Medical Clinic /Clínica 32 Volcanes
32 Volcanes continues to partner with U.S.-based non-profit Timmy Global Health on medical brigades to the same five communities—Llanos del Pinal, Pujujil, Xeabaj II, San Juan, and Xela. Timmy also continues to assist with post-brigade referrals and general financial support of the medical projects.
Dr. Herman Guevara and Dr. Carmen Rosa Alvarado Benítez see patients in the clinic three times a week. Patients pay Q50 (about $6.50) for an appointment and any required medication. The fee is still waived for participants in other 32 Volcanes projects and anyone else for whom the cost would be prohibitive.
Nutrition Program/Programa de Nutrición
The Nutrition Program, providing health and nutrition information and dietary supplements, continues to reach children ages 6 months to 3 years on the same monthly rotation of Llanos del Pinal, Buena Vista, and La Victoria. Nutrition Program participants in Pujujil and Xeabaj II continue to receive specialized care 5 times per year during the Timmy brigades.
Timmy Global Health and 32 Volcanes have partnered with Clean Water for the World to set up a sustainable community water filter in Buena Vista, which 32 Volcanes visits as part of the Nutrition Program and the Timmy Global Health brigades.
Environmental Commitment/Compromiso Ambiental
32 Volcanes recycles! Children bring plastic to the Family Support Center to divert it from the landfill.
Reforestation efforts continue in peak rainy season. In June 2019, 32 Volcanes planted 300 trees in and around Llanos del Pinal.
In addition to the ongoing projects, 32 Volcanes has become a source of information and cultural awareness and pride throughout the communities with whom they work. For example,
- 32 Volcanes has hosted multiple academic and cultural events in 2019, including a reading by writer and revolutionary Yolanda Colom of the works of her husband Mario Payeras on April 27; a poetry reading and party to close the International Poetry Festival of Quetzaltenango on August 23rd and 24th; and a Highlands Makers’ Festival on September 7.
- In collaboration with local cultural institution Casa No’j, 32 Volcanes presented the conference “In Search of Food Sovereignty” on June 14th. 32 Volcanes brought in a mix of Xela-area academics, activists, and project participants.
- The family of acclaimed Guatemalan writer Víctor Hugo Cruz asked 32 Volcanes to host his personal library. 32 Volcanes is preparing a space for the archive.
- The Cooking Club has been able to meet more frequently in the new 32 Volcanes space. The Cooking Club invites patients with diabetes to attend lessons on healthy cooking.