Reflections from Guatemala During COVID-19

April 7, 2020
By: 
Megan Copley

My name is Megan Copley and I'm a YASC volunteer from the Diocese of New York on placement in Guatemala as a youth and social justice advisor. For work, I've been focused on opening a center for human rights education, research, and collaboration to support faithbased action in the Diocese. However, a lot has changed in the last two weeks since the Guatemalan Government has announced the State of Calamity. Most businesses have closed except for a couple of tiendas, banks, and pharmacies, there is no public transportation, the government has closed its borders, and we live under a 4 PM curfew, transforming where I live into a ghost town within 24 hours. I've dedicated this time to return to meditation and working on my Spanish before diving into work in front of my laptop, attending services on a nightly basis over Facebook Live and having meetings with the Youth Ministry Committee over WhatsApp. We have also started writing periodicals in Spanish about human rights from a biblical perspective and planning future programs. However, we haven't been able to start our prison ministry with youth and there is a lot of uncertainty in terms of when we will be able to unroll our education programs from the center. The laws are strict but I'm grateful to be in a country that is looking after its own and its visitors. It's humbling to be vulnerable and unable to leave a country that so many people flee and are not welcomed when they arrive. I am deeply concerned about the consequences of this virus in a country with escalating issues of insecurity, high levels of poverty, and violence. That said, the wrinkles around the eyes of people smiling behind their masks remind me of all that is still good.