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Climb for Life: Guatemala’s Protest against Violence

Sweating and choking on dust as it coated our skin and clothes in thick layers we slowly climbed the narrow path up the side of the extinct Volcán de Agua (Water Volcano), that looms 3,765 m (12,352 feet) above the colonial city of Antigua, about 45 km from the capital Guatemala City.

But this was no ordinary volcano hike. We were far from alone.

On January 21 around 12,000 people took part in the campaign “Subida por la Vida” or “Climb for Life” to protest Guatemala’s domestic violence. Hoping to change cultural attitudes with a call for peace and love while raising funds for its victims, activists joined hands up the volcano’s slopes to her summit, aiming to form a record-breaking human chain.

A Guatemalan flag was then passed over heads along the chain to the top amidst patriotic cheers while about 1,500 people stood holding hands in the crater forming the shape of a giant, possibly record-breaking heart.

British ambassador Julie Chappell hiked with the hordes, her embassy having helped fund and organize the campaign while national and international media helicopters buzzed overhead filming the event creating whirlwinds of dust as they landed.

Security was high with a heavy presence of armed national police and soldiers as Guatemala’s new President, Otto Perez Molina was among those taking part.

Here are the photos I took that day although as I only climbed about half way up I didn’t get shots of the crater and views from the summit. For those, check out these photos.

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6 responses

  1. Wow Lucy! What a great thing to do! A hike to a volcano to advocate against domestic violence. How far is the volcano from Antigua?

    February 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    • Nicole, it’s just outside Antigua and can been seen looming over town. You’ll see it when you visit! You can also see 2 others from Antigua on a clear day but they’re a bit further away. I haven’t had a chance to look at your blog posts in ages, I’ve been so busy. I hope to check them out soon! I want to see how your trip went in DC, I’m sure you’ve written a post about that! How are your plans going for your trip here?

      February 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm

  2. Lucy, llego tarde después de unos días de viaje por Uruguay. Un post magnifico como siempre pintado de buenas fotografías. La violencia, es un tema que esta complicando la vida en nuestros pueblos latinoamericanos, si bien en otros países hay violencia, en los nuestros por la demagogia de los gobiernos, el hambre, la falta de educación, el abandono de las buenas costumbres, hace que los resultados sean cada vez más negativos…
    Se podría escribir mucho, tú vives por estos lados y sabes bien de que se trata…
    Te mando un saludo para ti y me quede pensando? ¿Por qué no llegaste al cráter?
    Carlos

    February 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    • Muchas gracias Carlos, y sí, lamentablemente hay mucha violencia en Guatemala. Es muy triste. Ésta es una de las razones que estoy pensando en regresar a vivir en Tailandia. No llegué al cráter porque toda la gente estaba bien organizada y nosotras no. Pensamos que no podíamos participar tan tarde y salimos demasiado tarde para llegar al cráter. Lástima!!! Quería tomar fotos desde allí! Espero que hayas tenido un buen viaje a Uruguay. Me encanta ese país. Saludos!

      February 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

  3. Leidy

    I wish I can help my country, but iam so far away..i hope for a better gov ,.and.pieceful country, and hopefully when I go nack to visit, things have changed! Thankyo for th images and th info..

    April 26, 2012 at 12:13 am

    • Guatemala is a beautiful country but she does have problems. Where are you living so far away? I hope life is good for you where you are and thank you for commenting. I hope your lovely country improves over the next few years.

      April 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

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