I am currently in Guatemala again, having returned to this beautiful country with the University of Maryland Language Science Center’s Summer Field School. For lack of a non-religious word to describe my sentiments, I have been blessed with this opportunity to return and continue my research on the acquisition of place value in Mayan bilingual schools.
Unfortunately, the research that I came here to conduct (and the related joy I feel) has been completely overshadowed by tragedy. At the one week mark of the Field School, nearby Volcán Fuego erupted, covering a town of about 14,000 people with ash and lava and pyroclastic flow. A little more than 3000 were evacuated, over 70 were killed, hundreds are injured, and thousands are displaced. Luckily I am about 20 miles away, far enough that I have not had to witness destruction firsthand, but the stories on social media and the news here are horrifying – orphaned children, bodies covered in ash, people desperately searching for their missing families, evacuated homes sacked by looters… The situation here is dire.
The Guatemalan president, Jimmy Morales, revealed that there is no government emergency fund as previously thought. As such, donations to relief efforts are desperately needed.
My fellow Field School attendees and I have been doing what we can. Luckily a dollar goes far here so we were able to purchase and donate pairs of boots for the firefighters (who’s boots are burning and melting during rescue operations), clothes for the displaced, as well as sanitary items like soap, toothpaste, and diapers. But we college students and local impoverished indigenous people can only do so much.
If you have the means to donate to relief efforts, please do so. I have listed below several very worthy donation sites.
Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
GoFundMe Campaign by Michael Estill