Saturday, May 10, 2014

Guatemala Project Sendoff 2014

Writer Byrd Baylor Reads May 17 at Guatemala Team Sendoff
as 13 volunteers prepare for work in rural Guatemala
Internationally acclaimed writer Byrd Baylor reads from her essays and children’s stories at a meal and "Despedida"
(sendoff) for 13 St. Michael’s Guatemala Project volunteers on Saturday, May 17, at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, 602 N. Wilmot Road (at 5th Street).
Informal activities begin at 5:30 p.m.
with a Maya textile sale, a chance to walk a self-guided "Guatemala history labyrinth" in the church’s labyrinth patio, and an opportunity to meet many of the 13 volunteers traveling to Guatemala with the Project this summer.
A 6 p.m. meal
features "build your own" tostadas and accompaniments.
Baylor reads
around 6:30 p.m., after everyone is served.
This marks the eleventh year Baylor, who celebrated her 90th birthday in March, has been featured at the sendoff. The non-sectarian Guatemala Project also celebrates its "majority," 21 years of association with the Maya of the CPR-Sierra [Communities of Population in Resistance of the Sierra], survivors of Guatemala’s 36-year internal conflict.
Appropriately, Baylor plans to read from her book I’m in Charge of Celebrations, as well as short essays that reveal her wry humor, unique commentary on local and universal social issues, and great love for the Arizona desert and all its creatures.
The 13 team volunteers, including five University of Arizona medical students finishing their first year of studies and their M.D. advisor, will venture into post-war Guatemala for work in small teams alongside Maya health promoters in remote hamlets and resettlement locations of the CPR-Sierra. The communities are still struggling for cultural and physical survival in circumstances that have not changed appreciably since the war years. The first team leaves June 3 [detail in attachment].
Baylor will be available to autograph books, on sale courtesy of Antigone Books.

The event is free.
Donations to benefit Mayan health workers and their rural communities are encouraged. Team volunteers pay their own trip expenses, so all donations benefit the communities served.
Ila Abernathy, Project Coordinator
available upon request and with the e-mailed version of this release.
background information, flier
About writer Byrd Baylor
Simon and Schuster, publishers, remark: "Byrd Baylor lives and writes in Arizona, presenting images of the Southwest and an intense connection between the land and the people. Her prose illustrates vividly the value of simplicity, the natural world, and the balance of life within it."
She now divides her time between Tucson and a hand-built house outside Arivaca. Her beloved home, constructed years ago by Byrd and her friends, lacks electricity or other "amenities" – apart from spectacular sunrises and vistas, quiet starry nights, and a neighboring wash (which she shares with desert creatures and a No More Deaths aid station that provides medical assistance to migrants in distress).
Noted for self-deprecating wit, love of the desert and all its dwellers, and unsentimental compassion, Baylor has written essays, a novel, and more than 25 books for children, many now considered classics. Four of her children’s books have won the prestigious Caldecott award. They have also been awarded American Library Association and other major prizes.
Born March 28, 1924, in San Antonio, Texas, Baylor has lived in Southern Arizona for most of her life. Her antecedents include Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, for whom Baylor University is named, and Admiral Richard E. Byrd.
About Guatemala Project Teams 2014
Teams include both generalists and health professionals. There’s a 52-year age range from youngest to oldest, with a comfortable contingent, including two of the medical students, in their early 30's. They have traveled or volunteered everywhere from Mexico to Cuba to Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, Africa, Indonesia, and Tajikistan.
On all teams:
Ila Abernathy, Coordinator, and one or more members of the Equipo de Salud (lead health team) of the CPR-Sierra [Communities of Population in Resistance of the Sierra].
Team 1 – June 3 to 22
UA medical students A.J. Goshinska, Christine Savilo, and Karl Yousef
Dr. Ron Pust, MD, Office of Global & Border Health, Family & Community Medicine, UA
Ila Abernathy, Coordinator
Team 2 – June 24 to July 17
RN Sarah Roberts, lead Project health professional, 12th year of visiting.
RN Matthew Torbenson (lives in Los Angeles)
UA med. student Heinrich Fan
Taylor Nash, UA junior with interest in international relations and positive social development.
Sara Lowden, BS Anthropology, human rights experience, now in Guatemala for an extended stay.
Ila Abernathy, Coordinator
Team 3 – July 21 to August 7
RN Cathy Horbatt
UA med. student Natasha Smith
Kelly Strachan, Spanish instructor / interpreter, prior experience in Guatemala
Ila Abernathy, Coordinator
Team 3 extraordinary auxiliary – Paul Horbatt, who with spouse Cathy (RN on Team) will help courier supplies and spend the first few days with us.
Ila Abernathy, Coordinator (520) 623-3063,