IMS is a social business designed to link the power of running marathons with building sustainable communities and bringing people together, leaving a lasting impact on the world.
This month, IMS landed in Guatemala, providing the runners with a volcanic backdrop, some massive social issues to support, and friends for life.
We now pass over to Marathon Man Keith, as we feature his guest blog during the trip
Well, been here in Guatemala for nine days and it’s been an amazing experience working again with IMS, meeting up with old friends from Nepal, and making some new ones in our wee group of 28 runners and eight dedicated IMS staff.
We’ve now been involved with four separate local charities. I’ll tell you a bit about each of them, but I’m going to start with a charity called SERES.
SERES, cultivating and catalysing youth leaders
SERES is a Guatemalan charity trying to empower local youth to take control of their own destiny. This is done both as individuals and as community leaders. SERES was gifted land to build a centre to teach youth leadership skills required for sustainable and positive change.
We had a fantastic day clearing ground and digging holes to plant bamboo, which will be used as building material. I worked with three fantastic people that I had previously worked with in Nepal.
We were meant to be back there today to plant the bamboo. Instead we learnt firsthand the challenges charities face in this corrupt and violent country. When we left the site, accompanied by the tourist police, a group of armed men were there who had been waiting for our departure. They held staff at gun point and robbed them.
A song has been running in my head since I heard this news. Peter Gabriel’s Biko. It was about the fight against Apartheid. In particular the lines: “You can blow out our candle, but you can’t blow out our fire. Once the flame begins to catch the wind will blow it higher.” Just like those involved in the fight against Apartheid, I have no doubt these young people in Guatemala will make great changes.
For the present, SERES are managing the situation internally. However, the IMS team and the international team of runners will be back to continue their support.
We were lucky enough to visit the local school that is supported by the Earth Lodge (the site where our accommodation for the week is based), who donate a percentage of all happy hour takings to provide things like school lunches! I therefore am duty bound to have more alcohol than I would like!
The other charity I’ve visited so far is ADEMI.
ADEMI, built by women, for themselves
ADEMI is a project designed to empower indigenous Mayan women and aid them in their fight against child malnutrition and illiteracy. Again, it was fantastic spending the day with the women running the organisation and interacting with the local women using the skills they are learning first hand. Wholly appropriate for International Women’s Day!
Keith has now said of the trip:
“It was a fantastic experience to be working again with IMS. They raise money through such an unique format, uniting the power of running with making a difference.”
Well done Keith, and you can still sponsor him by visiting his donor page here.
You can also read about Marathon Man Keith’s previous amazing experiences and causes here.