Chiapas Day 07—Chamula, Candles, and Bare Feet

Happy Father’s Day!  To all the fathers who are reading along with us, we celebrated you today.  Some of us were able to make a phone call or send an email, but many of us were not able to do so.  Instead, we took a moment to think of all of you—the wonderful fathers who have loved us, helped us, and encouraged us.  We thank you and celebrate you for making a difference in our lives.

We were able to have a late start today, which for me meant sleeping in and catching up on some rest.  Then we all walked to a street where buses were parked for hire, and we again avoided the Clowns in a Bus routine by taking two buses to Chamula.

Chamula’s Marketplace

It was a genuine privilege to even be allowed into Chamula.  Though it is only a short drive outside San Cristobal, for many years it was closed to visitors.  It was on the last UTS global justice trip to Chiapas two years ago that one of our groups was allowed to enter for the first time.  We were invited to come to the Catholic church in Chamula by Father Pedro.  Even with the invitation, though, we had to stop by a government building to purchase passes that would allow us into the church.  We were advised to not take any pictures out of respect.  Continue reading


Contest: Globalization at What Price?

Hey, gang. Nate here with an important informational message. I’ve decided to run a little contest here similar to my other blog about writing and creativity, The Scrawl (shameless plug, I know). Here’s the scoop…

One of our greatest struggles in returning home from the trip is how we will choose to actively help the Salvadorian pepole. One way we can do this is to help stop the unfortunate side effects of globalization and we need your help. Submit a comment on this post explaining one tangible way you can do your part to help put a stop to globalization. If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at my thoughts on reading the book Globalization at What Price? by Pamela K. Brubaker for some insight. It can be very small, very simple. Big movements begin with the tiniest steps. Don’t worry about being profound, just be practical. For example, maybe you’ll only buy fair trade coffee or be more selective in which stores you shop because they offer clothing not made by international sweatshop labor, or perhaps you’ll turn off the water while you’re in the shower when you lather. All of these things are tiny ways you can make a conscious decision to not let your US privilege come at the price of another’s life.

To enter, make your comment any time between now, 03.23.2010, and 11:59pm CST on the day of our return, 03.26.2010. While we appreciate your comments anywhere on our blog, only comments left on this post will be considered as an entry. And to sweeten the pot, so long as your comments are real ideas about what you can do to stop globalization (i.e. you’re not just typing gibberish to stuff the ballot box) you can enter as many times as you want. One lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of Globalization at What Cost?

Whether you’re interested in the book or not I hope you’ll post a comment to spread ideas to others. The next step is harder but even more important – ACT UPON YOUR IDEA.

The contest is open, please comment away!


Pre-Trip Reading: Globalization at What Price?

Students going to El Salvador have been assigned a handful of books to read before the trip and after the trip, each requiring a brief written reaction piece. Here’s one of mine:

Globalization at What Price? by Pamela K. Brubaker

We live in a global market and just when we thought the recession was hitting the U.S. hard, Pamela Brubaker posits others around the world have suffered for the U.S. consumer’s benefit for a long, long time. This is a topic which is coming more and more to the forefront for today’s recession-immersed society. As we reflect on how we got here and ask ourselves where we go from here, not only in terms of the current state of the US economy but in our relations to the global market, this book states the case for giving developing countries a break in terms of distribution of work and wealth.

The two items Brubaker focuses on which I found most harrowing were food and clothing. Pointing out how globalization affects my daily life is a great way to get me to think about this more. She uses the term “McDonaldization” to describe how the food industry and service industries uses labor practices which prey on the weak and “maquilization” to describe many of the same practices in agriculture (Brubaker, 55-56). Pointing out how my one-dollar McDouble is making other people’s lives miserable is enough to make me think twice about buying one (as if the health concerns weren’t enough already). Continue reading