Join us for an extraordinary journey to a Mayan village
on Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan Highlands:
Journey to the Heart of Guate-Maya
December 16 – 28, 2012
San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
A collaboration of the
Compassionate Listening Project and
Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center
(We only have one space available; Please contact us immediately, or see below for the orange registration link.)
“When choosing between two paths, ask yourself which one has heart. Who chooses the path of the heart is never wrong.”
- Popol Vuh, the sacred Quiche Mayan book of creation.
Join us for an extraordinary journey to the heart of a Mayan village on Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan Highlands. Our journey coincides with the completion of a 5,125 year cycle of the sacred Mayan calendar and the transition into a new era. Indigenous elders are inviting us to enter this time with great intention and care, to help restore wisdom, balance and harmony ~ for ourselves and for the world. This trip promises a rich cultural experience and an opportunity for spiritual renewal in one of the most beautiful places on the planet – the Tz’utujil Mayan village of San Pedro La Laguna. Compassionate Listeners will spend 2 days in Antigua, en route to and from the lake, and 10 days on Lake Atitlan with our hosts and friends of the project.
Our partner organization, Taa’ Pi’t, is a unique Mayan-founded Intercultural Learning Center whose mission is to strengthen the quality of children’s education through technology, reconnect them to their Mayan heritage, and support their dream of saving environmentally endangered Lake Atitlan (Qa Tee’Ya/Our Mother Lake).
~ Step outside the role of tourist and enter into Maya culture and daily life with village elders and leaders, including the staff, families, board members and children of Taa’ P’it as your personal guides;
~ Learn about and experience Maya Cosmovision with Daykeepers of the culture, and participate in ceremonies marking the new Mayan Calendar cycle beginning on December 21, 2012;
~Nurture your spirit with Compassionate Listening circles facilitated by Leah Green, founder of the Compassionate Listening Project, and;
~Relax and rejuvenate at Lake Atitlan, considered by the Tz’utujil Maya as the umbilicus of the world and their ancient homeland. Free time is built into our 10 days at the lake for resting, swimming, kayaking, hiking, massage, yoga and exploring village life.
- Spend the first and last nights in Hotel Casa Antigua, two blocks off the main square in Antigua, Guatemala. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and former Spanish colonial capital from the 16th to the 18th century, Antigua is the most popular tourist destination in Guatemala, and said to be the best preserved colonial city in Latin America.
- Travel from Antigua to San Pedro by private van and boat. Join the Taa’ Pi’t staff and board for a welcome dinner;
- Spend ten days and nights in San Pedro, an indigenous village of 13,000 Tz’utujil Maya. We will stay at the eco-hotel Sak’cari, literally feet from the water’s edge. Lake Atitlan, regarded as one of the most stunning lakes in the world, is situated 5,200 feet above sea-level and is graced by three forested volcanoes. Temperatures are 70-80 daytime, and 50-60 nighttime.
- Cross the lake our first morning in San Pedro with a local female Shaman for a traditional fire ceremony at a sacred site in a neighboring village. This will be an authentic ceremony and a special time to enter into a rich field of prayer and gratitude.
- Learn about contemporary Guatemalan history, with special emphasis on the civil war, human rights and reconciliation, from a local authors, human rights and reconciliation leaders.
- Share a session with an intercultural educator to enrich our experience of connecting across cultures.
- Enjoy quality time with the staff, children and parents of Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center, visiting children in the classrooms and families in their homes; sharing lunch in their corn and coffee fields during harvest time; and learning about the sacred role of corn in their cosmology and culture.
- Participate in Compassionate Listening sessions with local residents.
- Learn about the significance of 2012 in a Mayan Calendar workshop with a Keeper of the Sacred Calendars and receive your personal Mayan Cross (Mayan astrological chart). One-on-one sessions will also be available to work with your personal cross.
- Experience delicious, traditional food from one of the best Mayan chefs on the Lake.
- Practice the sacred art of listening with compassion to yourself and others, with circles for participants led by Leah Green. Our circles will create a beautiful container to support personal growth and well-being throughout the journey.
- Enjoy personal time to sleep, rest, read, explore the village, drink espresso at an internet cafe, kayak, swim, walk, get a massage or body work, ride a horse, shop in the local market, women’s weaving cooperative or gallery. For night owls, bars and cafes are open until after midnight and you will find live music, fires to sit around, and people to meet from San Pedro as well as all over the world. The village is safe to walk at night and it’s a sweet time to experience the night-life.
Slide show: San Pedro, Lake Atitlan and surrounding villages.
Meet the Team:
Juan Manuel Chavajay Cotuc is co-founder and director of Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center. He holds a Masters Degree in Urban Elementary Education, is a Professor of Pedagogy of Secondary Education curriculum and completed his Degree in Education and Educational Administration. Juan Manuel is fluent in his first language, Tz’utujil, as well as Spanish. He has held positions as chairman of the board of the Barbara Rogoff Municipal Library in San Pedro, as a consultant for education reform in San Pablo La Laguna, and served as Coordinator in the state of Solola for the implementation of the peace agreement in 2009. In January, 2012, Juan Manuel was elected to represent all of the Tz’utujil Pueblos in the State of Solola’s Developmental Council.
Click the arrow on the screen below to meet Juan Manuel:
Leah Green is the Founder and Director the The Compassionate Listening Project. She holds a masters degrees in Public Policy from the University of Washington, where she also completed her coursework for a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies. Leah has led 26 citizen delegations to Israel/Palestine, and has focused on peace-building and reconciliation work for over three decades. She facilitates and teaches Compassionate Listening world-wide in public, private and academic settings. Leah recently completed facilitator training in Family and Systems Constellations with Francesca Mason Boring, to gain more tools to work with individual, collective and transgenerational trauma. Leah has spent four months in San Pedro la Laguna over the past three years, attending Spanish School and building relationships, and feels deeply blessed to be partnering with Taa’ Pi’t for this delegation, as well as reconciliation work in San Pedro, a post-war community. You can learn more about the reconciliation track below.
Deborah Rosario received her Master of Education Pre-Primary in Colegio Liceo Victoria y Libertad in Guatemala City. She also has received training in clinical psychology at the University Mariano Gálvez in Quetzaltenango. Deborah served as a teacher in the nursery school “La Casita de los Pollitos” in Guatemala City, and taught at the school “ENGOCA” in San Juan la Laguna. Since September 2010 Deborah has worked as the program coordinator for the Environmental Education Program/Mother Nature, (Qa Tee’ Ya’) in Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center.kf
Juan Martin heads the Computer Technology Education Center at Taa’ Pi’t and has six years experience in helping Tz’utujil Maya children in strengthening their academics through technology education. Juan Martin graduated in 1994 as an expert accountant in the National Trade School No. 2 in the City of Guatemala. Until 1997 he studied for the degree in Accounting and Auditor at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. In 1994 he began his career working for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies of Guatemala as head of warehouse distribution. In the years 1995 to 2001 he worked for the Central American Brewery, starting as Assistant Human Resources Manager and ending as head of consumer affairs. In 2005 Juan helped in the creation and founding of Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center to help improve the education of Tz’utujil Mayan children.
Nancy Lynn McCoy, Taa’ Pi’t’ Tour Coordinator, joined Taa’ Pi’t as an active volunteer in November 2009. Originally from the United States, she has been living in San Pedro La Laguna since January 2008. She also volunteers as an English teacher in other local organizations. Nancy Lynn has a B.A. from the University of Washington in Women’s Studies. Before coming to Guatemala, she worked as Director of Programs for a NGO in Washington State and also worked for more than 10 years in social work with mothers and children. Nancy Lynn arranged a U.S. Tour for Juan Manuel, Director of Taa’ Pi’t, and accompanied him on a monumental journey May – August, 2011. She is committed to her role in Taa’ Pi’t's development toward self-sustainability, acting as a bridge to connect to their global community.
Cost, Registration, and more details!
Who can participate: We love diversity! People of all backgrounds and nationalities are welcome, age 16 and over. Our group will be limited to 15 participants.
We are looking for emotionally mature participants with strong communication skills – hopefully experienced in Compassionate Listening or other heart-based communication models. Holding compassion for ourselves and everyone we encounter will be at the core of our daily life in San Pedro, and we will utilize CL practices in our circles to strengthen our capacities, work through internal conflict, etc. Our introductory training will not be offered on this delegation, but you are welcome to check our calendar for 1 or 2-day CL workshops to attend before the delegation. You can also purchase our book, Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening, which contains a lot of our introductory curriculum and concepts.
Spanish language is not necessary – we have translators for all presentations and sessions. We are hoping for at least a handful of participants who are fluent in Spanish, however, to strengthen the capacity of our group.
Cost & Registration: The cost for the journey is $2,650 U.S. dollars. To register and reserve your seat for this journey, please fill out the Guatemala-Delegation-Registration-Form and send it with a $500 deposit made out to TCLP and mailed to : TCLP, P.O. Box 17, Indianola, WA 98342. You can also click the orange button to register online:
The trip balance is due by October 15th. If you register after October 15th, you should send in the full trip cost with your registration.
What Your Trip Cost Includes:
- All accommodations, based on double occupancy with private bath and shower: 2 nights at Hotel Casa Antigua and 10 nights at Sak’cari eco-Hotel in San Pedro.
- All ground and lake transportation is covered within Guatemala except for your final half-hour taxi from Antigua back to Guatemala City airport for your departure. We will assist participants to make reservations for that return trip, which will cost $10 – $30 each.
- Trip coordinators, guides, and translators.
- Staff planning and hosting time for Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center.
- Honoraria for all speakers and hosts.
- Tips for transportation, hotels, etc.
- CL circles, sessions and group facilitation with Leah Green.
- Meals: Breakfasts are covered for your two overnights at Hotel Casa Antigua. In San Pedro, our hotel does not have a restaurant or dining room. But literally steps away in the village, you will find dozens of low-cost cafes and restaurants to chose from. We’ve arranged for eight breakfasts in the village at our favorite cafes, and you’ll have two breakfasts on your own. We will provide 3 lunches and 3 dinners in San Pedro. For meals not covered by your trip cost, we encourage you to explore and sample the many flavors of San Pedro, from local to international. There are options to suit every budget. Lunches will average $3.00-$5.00 and dinners will average $5.00-$10.00. Depending on your preferences, you’ll want to budget an extra $50 – $100 for the extra meals.
What your trip cost does not include:
- Airfare to Guatemala City.
- Transportation from Antigua to the airport for your departing flight (a 30 minute drive that will cost $10 – $30 – see above).
- Lunches and dinners in Antigua, since participants will be arriving and departing at different times.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Single rooms.
- Tips for personal house-cleaning services, laundry, long-distance calls.
Single Rooms: Single rooms are available for an additional $260. If we are unable to provide a roommate, the single room supplement may apply. Your early registration increases our chances to find matches for those wanting to share a double room.
Arrival: Participants should book flights to arrive in Guatemala City no later than 10:00 pm on December 16th, to meet Leah and Nancy and check in for your overnight at Hotel Casa Antigua. We encourage you to arrive as early as possible on the 16th, in order to take advantage of your hotel reservation and enjoy time exploring beautiful Antigua. After breakfast the next morning, participants will travel with Leah and Nancy in a private van to Lake Atitlan.
Departure: Participants will depart San Pedro by private van back to Antigua on December 27th, arriving in the early afternoon to check into Hotel Casa Antigua. You will have the rest of the day to explore Antigua (we will be happy to share our recommendations with you). You can make your return flight for any time on the following day, December 28th. We will assist you in reserving private transportation to the airport with our favorite drivers. You will need to arrive at the airport 2 hours before for an international flight.
Cancellations and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the following cancellation fee will apply:
- 90 days or more: $400 will be retained;
- 60 – 90 days: 50% of the trip cost will be retained, unless we (or you) find someone to take your place;
- Less than 60 days and “no-shows”: We’re sorry, but we cannot provide any refund unless we are able to find someone to take your spot, due to the budgeting confirmations and nonrefundable reservations that we are locked into 60 days prior to the trip.
- No partial refunds will be granted for unused hotel rooms, meals, or other scheduled activities. Our trips are quoted as a package and credits are not given for unused portions.
If We Cancel a Trip: We reserve the right to cancel a trip. In such a case, we will refund your payments minus a $200 administration fee. If you have already purchased your ticket and we have to cancel the trip for any reason, airfare will be refunded according to the policy of the air carrier. For this reason, we recommend travelers insurance.
Travelers Insurance: We encourage participants to purchase travel insurance that includes trip cancellation, baggage, medical and/or emergency evacuation insurance. No one ever intends to cancel their trip; however, unforeseen circumstances can arise at the last minute, such as an illness in the family, as we’ve experienced over the past two decades of leading international delegations. Baggage may be lost or damaged, and some medical insurance (including Medicare) will not provide coverage outside the U.S. For a modest price, you can purchase protection for these and other concerns. You can compare policies on Squaremouth.com
Extending your stay with Spanish School in San Pedro: For those wanting to learn or improve their Spanish: There are about fourteen Spanish Schools in San Pedro. You can register for 2-5 hours of one-on-one Spanish instrction per day with a local teacher, with the option of living with a Mayan family in the village. One week of school with 4-hours of instruction per day, with home stay and all meals, will cost approximately $160. You can arrange to arrive early or stay after the delegation to enroll in a Spanish School to extend your time in San Pedro. The schools are immersion-style and English is not spoken. Click here for San Pedro Spanish School.
Background: Guatemala suffered a 36 year civil war which ended only 16 years ago, in 1996. The historical legacy of armed conflict, political repression and institutionalized discrimination against the indigenous Maya over the centuries has left them with huge challenges. The quality of education in Guatemala was ranked 125 out of 133 countries in the world and the lowest in Central America, according to the 2010 World Economic Forum. TCLP is excited to partner with Taa’ Pi’t, a remarkable NGO focused on education and reclamation of Maya cultural heritage for our upcoming delegation. Net profits from this Journey will be split equally between the two non-profit organizations.
Reconciliation work in San Pedro La Laguna: Taa’ Pi’t Intercultural Learning Center and Leah Green of the Compassionate Listening Project are working to create a reconciliation track to address trauma, conflict, and ongoing polarization in the village that was exacerbated during the years of the war when villagers aligned with the military abused positions of power and control.
Compassionate Listening provides a framework that can support residents of San Pedro to help heal from trauma and strengthen the culture of peace between people. Leah brings over two decades of experience in working in conflict and post-conflict zones, and facilitating reconciliation work around the world.
Casa Rosario – San Pedro’s first Spanish School, since 1992
Life in a Guatemalan Indian Village: Historical articles about life in San Pedro, with photos, by former Anthropologist Benjamin Paul