Rising Voices’ work supporting our grantee project Xela Civic Libraries took us to Guatemala on two occasions over the past two years, where I was pleased to have a reunion of sorts with Israel Quic. Our paths first crossed at the Campus Party Ibero-America held in El Salvador in 2008, where I first learned about his work in his community.
Nearly five years later, I started to follow the blog that he created for the Rija'tzuul Na'ooj Community Library in San Juan La Laguna on the shores of the magical Lake Atitlan, where Israel had been serving as the library's Director. The blog provided a first hand look into daily life of this Mayan indigenous community, as well as the activities organized by the library and its staff. The library also was a member of the Riecken Community of Libraries in Guatemala and Honduras, of which the three libraries that we were supporting as grantees also belonged.
It was Israel's work revitalizing the T'zutujil language through the use of citizen media that really captured our attention, and became the subject of a Rising Voices blog post “Library as a Starting Point to Revitalize Tz'utujil Language” published in 2012.
When I first heard that Israel's work would be one of the ten stories featured by Facebook commemorating their tenth anniversary, I was anxious to see how they would tell his and his community's story about using citizen media to capture the imagination of the next generation of T'zutujil speakers. Here is the video story: