Proyecto Itzaes

Prev December 2017 Next View All Workshops
Yucatán, México

Shots from the Trip

About the Community

We noticed that we entered the jungly Yucatán peninsula, the safest region in México, a tourist destination on the eastern end (we went west), the collision site of the dinosaur-extinguishing meteor, and the seat of the ancient Maya, at a peculiar moment. A fragile one. The Maya culture is on the brink. For instance, it’s a mixed bag: some of the younger generation can converse with their grandparents entirely in Maya (not “Mayan,” we learned!), others can respond in Spanish but comprehend the Maya, and some cannot even communicate in Maya at all.

We were invited by Proyecto Itzaes, an after-school but always-present network of community centers committed to preserving this culture in the face of changing economic and cultural currents by empowering the local population through education and community.

Prof. Cynthia Wilber, expat and founder of the organization, invited us to hop around these village centers and collect the stories of the wonderfully vibrant children of all ages and young adults (who feel passionate about the program and stick around to help manage the centers and plan events for the kids). We went from Ixil, to Too, to Dzemul, each carrying the name of their heritage, and witnessed for ourselves the power of the Maya.