Latin America
Teacher's Guide

March 3, 1999 Update

The Team welcomes a new member, Kevin, and files some of the last dispatches from Guatemala!

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Abeja - Why Do People Know What They Know

Abeja reflects on what she did and didn't learn about in high school, and what she still deosn't know today about the world, and why everyone seems to know things like what Monica Lewinsky did, but we don't seem to know about things like hundreds of people being massacred in Guatemala.

Abeja's question goes pretty deep and is worthy of discussion by PhD students, but can equally be approached by younger students who can think about what things they think people should know about in the world.
Tey having students post their opinions to the Discussion Board in "Trek Connect."
Team - The Miseducation of Latin America

This article is full of information on the School of the Americas, in the news over the past few years because of government reports about how the School has trained many of Latin America's most ruthless leaders and even provides training manuals on how to effectively torture people.

There is a great Making a Difference activity in support of a bill in Congress to close the School.

A deep discussion can be sparked on when/if students think it is appropriate for a government to use violence against its own people, which is what the School of the Americas has been involved in training people to do.
Shawn - Environmental Devastation: Who's to Blame and How Can We Stop It?

Shawn gives a broad overview of some of the environmental problems facing Guatemala and explores the reasons.

Because the studnets have access to so many photos of Guatemala at this point, they can use this dispatch as a base from which to do a Comparison Poster. Have them choose three of the most important envt. problems facing Guatemala today. They should make three drawings on the left hand side of the page showing these problems, with anywhere from a few words to a paragraph summary of the problem just below each. Then on the right hand side, they should draw what the country can look like if these problems are resolved.
Kavitha - What's This Oil Doing in My Lake?!?

Kavitha talks about the good and bad ways the government is allowing concessions in a "protected" rainforest area. Sustainable uses include tapping the trees for gum. Nonsustainable and destructive concessions include those given to some American oil companies to drill for oil.

1) This dispatch can be used to support the activity recommended for Shawn's environmental dispatch (see above), or

2) Have students participate in the Making a Difference activity (see next).

Lesson tie-in: Don't forget the excellent lesson made available by a contributing teacher about land degradation in northern Guatemala, comparing it with a situation in California.
Make a Difference!

1) Help save the rainforest! Students are encouraged to write letters in support of the local rainforest communities in northern Guatemala, and against oil drilling concessions.

2) Support efforts to close the School of the Americas! This is the school referred to above, and many members of Congress are joining to close it.

1) Have your students write letters as indicated to the President of Guatemala. Encourage them, or give them time, to research a little more different factors affecting the rainforest, or ways that oil drilling can impact a local environment or community.

2) This issue more than most The Odyssey has covered may not be as obviously a "good thing" for prople to be supporting. The information presented comes from very reliable sources, primary amonng them the School itself. Try having students analyze critically what the people suppporting the bill to close the School are arguing. Have them use these ideas when writing their letters to their own Congresspeople.

3) There is also information about students joining an organized venture to Washington D.C. to lobby their Congresspeople directly. If you are close enough, this will certainly be a very powerful experience. Have students write letters to their Congresspeople about the school.
Kevin - Watch out World!

Meet the World Trek Team's newest member, Kevin! Born in Vietnam, he is from San Francisco and sings opera! He describes some of what he looks forward to, and thinks about what it would have been like to have had The Odyssey when he was in school.

This is a good one to have the students reconnect with what The Odyssey is about in the big picture, a Team of volunteers traveling around the world. Have students reflect on some of what they would have enjoyed so far, and what would have been hard.

Be sure to have them share their ideas with Kevin and welcome him to the Team by writing an e-mail from the "Trek Connect" page!

Kevin - Watch out World! (kids version)

This is the kids' version of the above dispatch.

What do your students find most interesting about Kevin? Have them find one interesting thing, collect their ideas, and put them on the Discussion Board, or send them directly to Kevin's e-mail address. Both are accessible from the Trek Connect section.
Shawn - A History of Terror in Santiago Atitlan

Shawn provides a very good, concise history of the Civil War in Guatemala, including references to the US role and the Peace Agreement.

This article can in itself support a Q and A kind of approach to cover the facts presented. Or it can be used to spark a conversation around just how groups of people CAN relay their messages today to get support and raise awareness. The Internet is playing a revolutionary role in this. Try having the students surf to find human rights orgs in different cuntries and present their findings to the class.
don't miss the lessons available that explore the theme of The Internet and Society.
Monica - Greetings

This is a very brief message from Monica called in from a phone booth in Managua telling where she, Kevin, and Shawn are.


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