The Odyssey

Making a Difference
Trek Connect
Time Machine

Teacher Zone
Latin America Kavitha Dispatch

What did the other trekkers say about the live webcast???

After months of talking about this day, Rigoberta was finally with us to share her powerful story with thousands of people on a live webcast! She's a strong woman who's had many challenges in her life, but when you meet her, she's so pleasant and gracious! At one point during the webcast, when she was talking about her parents and how they grew up poor and had to work all the time on the finca, she almost started crying. Rigoberta's story is one that provides hope and inspiration to us all.

The moment had finally arrived! Rigoberta Menchķ walked in, dressed beautifully in her traditional Guatemalan huipil and assisted by family and friends. It was amazing how much positive energy was being permeated throughout the room. Everyone was overwhelmed by her presence. Meeting Rigoberta was like meeting Martin Luther King or Gandhi. Listening to her story, her challenges and her insight was very powerful for me. Everything she said, I could just feel in my heart. When she spoke about the importance of cultural exchange and building relationships between communities, I thought to myself, "This is what the Odyssey World Trek is all about - we're doing the right thing".

Meeting Rigoberta - 5'2", But Better Than Michael Jordan!

Our shining moment!  The team with Rigoberta.
Wow! Itís been 5 days, and Iím still in disbelief about the whole experience of meeting and interviewing Rigoberta Menchķ. What an amazing woman! For months, we were hoping that the live webcast would really happen and when it was finally confirmed a few weeks ago, we started to let ourselves get really excited. As a world famous writer and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, she's a local, homegrown hero and role model for Guatemala's children. Most of the kids I met while I was living in Todos Santos knew about her and respected her. Unlike other people who are famous around the world, like Michael Jordan and Arnold Schwartzenegger, Guatemalan kids can relate to Rigoberta. Her fame and her Nobel Peace Prize finally gave the indigenous people of Guatemala a sense of pride and a much-needed voice.

Kavitha and Rigoberta check out the Odyssey website!
I canít even tell you how ecstatic Abeja and I were on Thursday morning waiting outside of OSI (the wonderful people who donated their space to conduct the interview) to greet Rigoberta. When she arrived, it was almost like seeing a picture you know very well come to life. Dressed in her colorful Quiche clothes, she was a burst of compassion and sincerity all in a 5-foot 2-inch package!

After we all met her and some of the people she works with, we showed her the Odyssey webpage and explained to her how the webcast would work. She was thrilled to see our page with all the background information on Guatemala and her life. She almost had tears in her eyes when her pictures and her quotes popped up on the screen Rigoberta's Story. When she wrote her book in the early 1980s, she never dreamed that her words would one day reach so many thousands of people all around the world via computer. It was her first time on the internet!

I now appreciate, more than ever, what an amazing tool the internet is. Aside from the thrill of meeting a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the World Trek Team's work with the special webcast team (who traveled from the United States for the event) was something I will never forget. Our new friends from Webcast Solutions and NetShaman Productions flew into our world and donated their high tech equipment and their time all because they believe in the Odyssey. I think our team really needed a reminder and a visit from people who believe in our work. There is soooo much work, and we spend so much time by ourselves, it is nice to have reminders like this. On top of all their help, the webcast team graciously surprised us with goodies from home including dark chocolate and mosquito repellent!

Behind the scenes at the webcast
The webcast team pulled out all their gadgets and cords and cameras and mikes and computers, and somehow put it all together to actually connect with computers and classrooms back home - so you all could see and hear us live. Amazing! If any of you missed the live webcast last Thursday, don't worry! You can still view it here on the Odyssey webpage Live Webcast, February 18, 1999. Before the webcast, I had no idea about how much you can do with a computer! Probably the best part about the whole experience was to see how the whole group pulled together under pressure. Everyone took on critical and unexpected roles. Things inevitably got pretty hectic before and during the live event but the webcast team, with a lot of help from Monica, somehow pulled it all together incredible! The interview was transmitted worldwide and everyone, including Rigoberta, was happy and impressed when it was all done.

Maia, a member of the NetShaman Productions team, contributed one of today's dispatches Maia - Quetzal - The Flight to Freedom and look for more Maia dispatches in the next couple of weeks. We are very lucky to have Maia's skilled and extremely well traveled eyes to contribute beautiful photographs and stories about Guatemalan culture. When she first got here, Maia interviewed us about our experiences on the World Trek so far. Her husband videotaped our discussion, and thanks to Webcast Solutions and Monica, you can see that video footage on the "Meet the Team" pages.

Now that all the buzz and excitement of last Thursday has passed, we all are returning to our normal roles on the trek team with one major difference. Jamila left to go back to Los Angeles, California where her 1st and 2nd grade class is eagerly awaiting her return. We are all very sad because she is such a great person and brought such wonderful energy and wisdom to the team. But in her absence we await the arrival of our new trek member, Kevin, who is also a great person, and weíre excited for him to get here. Jamila is not finished with the Odyssey by any means. She will still be writing some special dispatches and will hopefully come out and meet up with us again in Africa.

Iím starting to get really excited about our next destination, Peru. Not only do we have a whole new country and culture to learn about and explore, but we hopefully have a whole new webcast to look forward to. I canít wait to have the wonderful people from Webcast Solutions and NetShaman come out and meet us again. Stay tuned to see what new magic we can create Jamila said she might even take a short vacation from teaching to fly down for the event!


Team - What About the US? - The "Extermination" and "Termination" of a People
Kavitha - Meet the Folks Who Work Hard for Your Cup of Joe
Shawn - Shots in the Night - Life in Todos Santos
Shawn - Close Quarters in Todos Santos
...Kid's Version
Abeja - You CAN teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Maia - Quetzal - The Flight to Freedom

Meet Kavitha | Kavitha's Archive
Meet Kavitha
  Basecamp | Making a Difference | Guidebook | Trek Connect | Time Machine
Home | Search | Teacher Zone