DJ Charlie Hustle and I were brought out to Guatemala through an organization called HIP HOP 4 PEACE which was founded by a dedicated and passionate educator from Switzerland named Shew Fleur. Hip Hop 4 Peace’s goal was to utilize Hip Hop in educating, raising awareness and empowering youth living in a marginalized and violent context. While there, we got to facilitate workshops with youth ranging from 7-13 years old. In only one week of workshops, we got the youth to write, dance, paint, sing, rap, DJ and play a wide variety of games. We had such a fun time with the youth and although we were the facilitators, we found them being the ones teaching us very strong lessons which I think have already made us better collaborators, listeners, and overall human beings.
During our time in Guatemala, Charlie and I got to visit Tikal which is the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization. We got to see pyramids and some of the most beautiful sacred sites we have ever seen. After so much hard work, sweat, and perseverance…HIP HOP 4 PEACE’s community center was forced to close down. Unfortunately, the organization was unable to garner the support and funds needed to keep it running. This was hard for DJ Charlie Hustle and I to accept because as members of a community center in the South Bronx, we know how challenging it is to keep a space running with limited resources. Nonetheless, we endure. Our last day in Guatemala was probably the most difficult for us. A sadness set in moments before our last event ended and left many of the youth in tears. In only one week, I grew an unexplainable attachment to the youth and couldn’t believe how many memories were created in such a short period of time. Talk about a life changing journey. Hasta la proxima vez!!