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How to begin

Elvira Sanchez Toscano

By Doña Elvira Sanchez Toscano, from long-time Thousand Currents partner Instituto para la Superación de la Miseria Urbana de Guatemala (Institute for Overcoming Urban Poverty in Guatemala, ISMUGUA). (En español aquí.)

Doña Elvira shared these thoughts on an April 2017 committee call of Buen Vivir Fund members, while designing an application process for the Buen Vivir Fund.

The process we always go through [when groups meet with ISMUGUA about borrowing from our revolving fund] is to begin with a prayer—not a prayer geared towards religion, but rather an ecumenical prayer, so that the group may know that this is a space where we will be asked to participate actively, to participate thoughtfully.

…[F]or me, one of the bases of the Buen Vivir Fund is this combination of spirituality and resources. They must go together. Because buen vivir is collective, but it is also individual. The change is ours. It is openness. It is the possibility of learning and re-learning.

It is this collective responsibility. It is to look after the wellbeing of everyone. Thus, I think that we should have as a base this prayer, a prayer that each group, each person, can work with. For example, for us, our relationship with nature is very important. It has that Mayan foundation in which prayers are always fused with nature, with all those elements that enable us to live.

Furthermore, I believe that we are always running, taking care of thousands of things, and this way we can arrive full of energy, with different kinds of energies. It is to take a break and say: let us have a minute of prayer, let us reflect upon what we will do right now.

It is similar to stopping in front of a door and arriving at this space with another vision, with more calm.

I believe that we should always do this. Because it is like stopping time for a moment, and creating a change.

Buen Vivir Fund (english version) from What Took You So Long? on Vimeo.