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A 2004 Update From Guatemala’s Rio Dulce?

By The Ithaka - Published November 27, 1999 - Viewed 1298 times

A 2004 Update From Guatemala’s Rio Dulce?

Janet H. of Essex, Connecticut, sent us this note: “Two years ago you wrote enthusiastically about the Ak Tenamit project, a school and clinic for Q’eqchi Indians on the Rio Dulce River in Guatemala, where you did some volunteer work. Because of what you wrote, I sponsored a Guatemalan child to attend the school, and have received hand-written notes from him ever since. It’s been a very rewarding and fulfilling experience to sponsor this child. I was just wondering if you know any other cruisers who may be in the area these days, and what’s going on at the project from the cruisers’ point of view. Thanks for writing about such a worthy effort.”

From Douglas:   We have always treasured our experiences at Ak Tenamit, and we’ve kept in touch with some of the people we met there, and a few cruisers who’ve returned there in subsequent hurricane seasons. The project continues its good work with the Q’eqchi (pronounced Kek Chi) Indian children, educating them about farming and other practical vocational enterprises, although there are increasing problems surrounding the area. We just received an email from our friends Kris and Erwin on the sailboat Dutchess, who went into the Rio to escape very unsettled weather in Belize. They are there now, and anchored in front of Ak Tenamit. Here’s a recent note from Erwin, about how they were robbed their first night there. The stolen items included gasoline and diesel jerry jugs, diving tanks, snorkels, masks, flippers, all shoes that were on deck, three pair of sunglasses, the remote control for the autopilot, their digital camera, and other items.

“I talked to the project leader at Ak’ Tenamit,” wrote Erwin, “and he told me no boats should stop there anymore, as there have been other robberies. Ak Tenamit gets robbed every couple of weeks. When they get visitors, staff members  show them around personally, because there have been robberies on the grounds. Ak Tenamit now employs their own guards 24 hours a day. This is such a beautiful spot, but it is no longer safe. This really shows how important the Ak Tenamit program continues to be for the Indians here who are trying to give a better life to their kids.”

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