Latin America
Teacher's Guide

February 13, 1999 Update

Jamila made it to Guatemala City and files a LOT of reports about her travels and the diverse peoples of Guatemala.

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Jamila - Solo and Sore in Central America!

Jamila recounts the trials and tribulations of traveling through Belize and explains why she thinks Klaus left the Team. There is a special sidebar from Klaus explaining briefly his own perspective.

Feeling a connection with the Team members is a lot of what makes The Odyssey fun for kids. So try one of two things:

Have them write their own account of an experience traveling, or a time they had to make a bg decision like Klaus did.

Or have them send Jamila an e-mail or leave a message on the Discussion Board (in the Trek Connect section) telling what they think of Jamila for continuing on alone.
Jamila - Making Marimbas with Modern Maya

Jamila visits a village founded by refugess from Guatemala's civil war, visits a poor local shool, and learns how to make a marimba (similar to a xylophone).

OK, we don't have the instructions on how to make a marimba, otherwise we'd have you try it! (Jamila invites your students to collect supplies to help the students in Belize, but we'll be giving you more information on sending supplies to both this school in Belize and some schools in Guatemala in a couple weeks.) As it is, this can be a good segway into an art lesson you have planned. OR, have the students reflect on what art activities they have done, and share their experiences on the Discussion Board of the Trek Connect section.
Jamila - The African Legacy in Guatemala: Black Guatemalans?

Jamila introduces students to the "Garifuna," African descendents, living in Guatemala, and tells of their efforts to preserve their culture. Ties in VERY well with the following Team dispatch.

2 Quick Activities: 1) Have students use this as a segway into writing about or sharing their own roots. The importance of culture to the Garifuna Jamila writes about may or may not resonate wth your students, it is something that students generally enjoy sharing and increases their pride in who they are.

2) Have students reflect on their experience learning about either their own culture or other cultures. What grade would they give their own educational experience for either helping them better understand their own roots or the roots of others?

Team - Blood Flows in the Americas, Africa Feels the Pain

The dispatch provides a quick review of the Conquest and the bringing of slaves to the Americas. There is not only some important information in her for your students in general, but it is critical to understanding the context in which the indigenous and Garifuna of Guatemala exist, and thus the other dispatches being filed lately by the Team.

Quick: This dispatch supports very well a little Q&A, perhaps at the end for extra credit?

In-depth: This activity ties in very well with the lesson "Press Conference: Early Western Influences in the Americas," on the impact of the Conquest in the Americas. This is available in the Guatemala section under Lessons.
Jamila - Jamila Goes Back to High School

Jamila describes some of the key features of a high school in Belize such as clubs and uniforms. Sha asks about violence (non-existent), and ethnic division (some).

This dispatch supports having the students relate what Jamila reports to what their experiences in their own school. Have students compare and contrast their own school with this one. Have them look at the benefits of each.
Monica - Justice, Truth and Life: Women with a Mission

Monica summarizes some of the ways a local human rights organization supports the local community. She also talks about a meeting she attended that had to be postponed.

There will be some activities forthcoming in subsequent dispatches where your students can help the students in this community.
Making a Difference - Children and War

This page gives a lot of background information on the use of children as soldiers arouond the world, most notably in Guatemala. It urges them to take action in one of several ways.

Have your students read the information and perhaps follow some of the links to explore more of what is out on the web. The three activities encouraged are:

1) SUPPORT THE BAN - Have students write letters to important government figures (the names and addresses are included). There is a sample letter, and a lot of information for your students to write their own. If you have time, try having a class discussion on the topic of child soldiers before they write. NOTE: Please send letters until February 28, 1999 1999. After that, check with Amnesty International ( to see if you should still write.

2) RAISE AWARENESS - It will always be timely for your students to raise awareness in their own community. This can be as simple as doing a presentation for another class or at a school assembly or teachers', meeting. Or there's letter writing. Try letters to the editor or op-eds (newspapers like running op-eds by youth on occasion!) There is a sample op-ed available here, but it's advanced for younger students.

3) SPECIAL CAMPAIGN - This will take more time, but there is a special campaign going on about the use of children in armies in Uganda. There is info available on the topic here, and recommendations for who they can write. Check the Human Rights Watch page we refer you to to see how long they are still requesting letters.


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