Near the “Quiac”

by Javier Borrayo

Chirijquiac is a small community literally behind the Quiac. “Chirij” means “behind” in Quiche, and “Quiac” is the name that was given to a little mountain with Mayan stones left on the top, from where an amazing an glorious view can be seen. Local people say this mountain has its own Mayan “nahual,” and people would get lost if they come with bad intentions.  Chirijquiac is part of Cantel in the department of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. 


(Chirijquiac as seen from the Quiac)

We recently visited the B-Boys-never die a group of four amazing young leaders that have not only an amazing talent doing breakdance, but they also have become leaders of Ecological Resilience in their community.  Josue Garcia (14 years), Ricardo Say (17 years), Hidany Sam (15 years) and Henry Cua (16 years) started this breakdance group three years ago and already have improved and perfected their performances. With breakdance they have been able to travel out of Chiricquiac for the first time in their lives and gather young people to raise environmental awareness. After watching a movie, they individually fell in love with breakdancing and started to practice in their own bedrooms. One day they met in the street, each doing the same dancing. They decided to get together and then the B-Boys adventure started.

As I walked through Chirijquiac, taking in the typical burned-wood smell and almost total silence, from time to time I was interrupted by some gentle kid or old man saying, “Buenos Dias” (which translates to “Good Morning”) or other friendly salutation. In a very deep way I just thought to myself, “Where am I?” and “How did I got here?” In this world that spins so fast (which by the way has been recently said that the day is no longer 24 hours) and with all the global issues going on, there are still communities like Chirijquiac, where the things that matter are the most essential needs we humans have. I felt immediately comfortable there. I was there to film a short documentary about the B-Boys and their action plan, as well a short documentary about Esteban Maldonado a young leader living in Chuisuc, just next to Chirijquiac.

 On Ricardo’s words: “If we tell young people to care about the environment they won’t listen, they want something different.” And so the B-Boys are using their talents to gather young people and raise awareness about environmental issues. That is their action plan, and this makes me think not precisely about what to DO but instead about what I HAVE. How much can we do with what we have? Almost automatically the “what to do” will happen. 



Josue Garcia (front) , Henry Cua (top-left), Hidany Sam (center), Ricardo Say (left) 

Walking 20 minutes from Chirijquiac, I found Esteban Maldonado, a 28-year-old local leader who will be soon the Community Mayor, starting on the 1st of January. The more I talk to Esteban and get to know about his life, I confirm that when you are born to be a leader and you are given the tools, inevitably deep changes are meant to happen. Esteban with strength and courage has overcome several challenges during his life and here he is to prove that sustainable change come from the community.

Esteban has connected with the B-Boys to collaborate on several events. A beautiful collaboration arising from neighbor communities has demonstrated with facts that our patterns of thought, our behaviors, and mainly our future can change in one generation.

 Esteban Maldonado

(Esteban Maldonado)

Partnership Invites Diversity. Diversity is the Seed for Creation.

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