La Limonada is a unique neighborhood located in Guatemala City, Guatemala. It is located in a ravine that is 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide, and is home to over 60,000 people. It is considered one of the largest urban slum communities in Central America. While the neighborhood faces many challenges (such as poverty, lack of job opportunities, prevalent gang culture, sexual abuse and exploitation, social stigmatization, and rampant drug use) there is also much hope and beauty to be found in the area. In recent years, the NGO Lemonade International has come alongside the community of La Limonada in solidarity and has done much positive work by establishing two schools (or “academies”) to help offer youth an alternative to dealing drugs or getting involved in gangs. I recently had a chance to witness the work of Lemonade International first-hand when I participated in the organization’s very first bloggers’ trip as the official group photographer. While I did learn about very difficult situations and people who have suffered tremendously, I also observed a tide of change and a positive vibe that has caused a good impact on the community: a chance for a better education and future for youth in spite of difficulties, and I also witnessed a key meeting between Colonia (or Barrio) leaders that offers reconciliation and understanding in the neighborhood.
Here are a few shots from my photo story:
For the entire photo story, please visit @IGVP (International Guild of Visual Peacemakers):http://visualpeacemakers.org/index.php?/documentaries/photo_