Asociacion Guatemalteca Canadiense | Guatemalan Canadian Association

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ASOGUATE: The beginning

Posted by asoguate en 18 febrero, 2009

Version en Español: Los orígenes de ASOGUATE

It seems as though it was just yesterday that a group of friends got together to explore the possibilities of bringing the Marimba de Bellas Artes of Guatemala to perform in Canada’s major cities.

 It never occurred to us that with that first Marimba presentation we were paving the way for the origins of what would later come to be the Guatemalan Canadian Association (ASOGUATE).

 Following the first Marimba presentation by the Marimba de Concierto de Bellas Artes, and after the passing of a few months, we came together again at the end of 2007 with the intention of initiating the process of creating the association while clarifying our objectives.   These were to not only to provide cultural entertainment to the Guatemalan community situated in Toronto and surrounding area but to find a means of unifying it, while developing a shared notion of solidarity among us and to support a chosen humanitarian institution in our country of origin. 

 The end result of the creation process and incorporation of new members who volunteered their time, gave way to the idea of the inaugural Christmas Celebration.  The success of this event could not have been better.  More than 200 Guatemalans and friends attended the event and enjoyed the Guatemalan Ponche and Tamal, a customary meal for this time of the year along with the sounds and melodies of the Marimba Voces del Maiz.

 Other activities followed this event such as the screening of the movie, Las Estrellas de la Linea to coincide with International Woman’s Day.  Once again, the response was overwhelming as the screening space at Casa Maiz was filled to its capacity due to the keen interest in cinema by guests who attended.

 Due to the continued positive response from the community, ASOGUATE decided to present the spectacle of Two Marimbas on the same stage, on May 3rd of 2008, to commemorate Mother’s Day.  The response was unquestionable once again to witness the majestic interpretation of the children of the Valle Verde school of Guatemala under the direction of their experienced maestro, Alfonso Bautista.  The response only grew with the Marimba Oxib K’ajau of Chicago, who interpreted classic melodies like Luna de Xelaju, during which the two groups came together to present two Marimba ensembles on the same stage for the first time in Canada.

 The activities continued with the second Christmas Celebration in December of 2008.  In 2009, once again, all of the volunteers which compose ASOGUATE are eager to continue working together to stage additional events.

 Supporting PENNAT

As product of the formation of the association, at the end of 2008 we accomplished one of our fundamental objectives by contacting and deciding to support the nongovernmental organization (NGO) education program for the working children and youth, PENNAT, which operates primarily in the markets of Guatemala.

 This year, ASOGUATE donated close to 200 school supply bags to children with minimal economic resources who for different reasons cannot attend traditional schooling.  The eligible children are enrolled with PENNAT which operates in the Guatemalan capital as well as in more remote areas of the country. 

 Recognition of Community Leaders

Being a cultural, social and educational organization, ASOGUATE has decided to recognize the work of Guatemala community leaders who have excelled in different areas which have been integral to the strengthening of the community.

 With this in mind, among the recipients of this recognition thus far include the Marimba maestro, Pedro Montejo, community leader Carlos Chamale and writers Alfredo Saveedra and Luis Eduardo Mejicano, “SPIN”.

 With the support of the community and friends, the ASOGUATE team will continue its work in the years ahead with the hopes of being able to help the children who while working in Guatemalan markets attend the PENNAT educational centers to have the opportunity to learn.

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