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Short Features

UNH students in Guatemala
UNH students volunteer at a soup kitchen for children in San Juan la Laguna.Photo by Gary Samson

Lessons of the Heart

UNH students live and learn in Guatemala

It is one thing to study about a place thousands of miles from home, and quite another to live there. A group of UNH students stepped out of Durham and expanded their world views when they spent 10 days last spring living in San Andres Semetebaj, a Mayan village in the highlands of Guatemala.

"I went to Guatemala with the idea that women in developing countries are victims, that they are powerless," says Caroline Leyva '02. "But I didn't see victims in Guatemala. These women are taking whatever resources they have and empowering themselves and their families."

UNH students in Guatemala
Members of Artisanas de San Andres, the women's cooperative bank, meet to collect loan payments.Photo by Gary Samson

At times, the 12 students who traveled to Central America as part of a women's studies course, "Building on a World View: Women and Sustainability in Latin America," sound both surprised and wistful. "They have a lot that I don't," says Kat Walker '02. "They spend a lot of time together, and their family relationships seem stronger. I learned that I'm not in a position to pity developing nations. There are other ways to measure things besides material standards."

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