“The only thing that is constant is change.”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
― Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Change is scary. No, wait… ghosts are scary. Change is terrifying. Like “Trump as a babysitter” terrifying. Forget butterflies in the tummy, change is like hairy bats in your belly.
Yet change can also be exciting, inspiring, and invigorating. Especially if you’re lucky enough to be the agent of that change. To design it, build it, help it grow. In those circumstances change can even be fun. Fun and terrifying.
Over the past few months I’ve begun the process of creating a new nonprofit organization to support human rights defenders in Guatemala. The official name is The Human Rights Defenders Project, but I imagine that we’ll end up calling it the Defenders Project informally. (For the bilingual among you, we opted for “Proyecto Defensores” instead of “El Proyecto de Apoyo para las y los Defensores de los Derechos Humanos” for reasons that should be immediately apparent.)
It has been a fascinating and exhausting experience so far: the paperwork, the research, the fundraising, the brainstorming, the paperwork. (Yes, I know. It warranted repeating.) Thanks to the help of generous donors and our super-savvy lawyer, Mollie, we are now a legally-incorporated nonprofit organization awaiting 501c3 tax-exempt status from the IRS!
It’s spring, and change is in the air. For me, this means:
Changing from NY to Guatemala: I’ll be returning to Guatemala City on May 2.
Changing from planning to doing: we will soon be “going public” with the Defender’s Project, and opening the doors of our new office.
Changing the focus of this website: from now on, news and analysis about Guatemala will be on the Defender’s Project website. This site will focus more on my personal stories about work and life in Guatemala, as well as other non-Guatemalany (yes, I made that word up) topics like leadership, meditation, time management, photography, productivity, etc.
I look forward to sharing this journey of change with all of you!
PS: If anyone knows how to rid a belly of hairy bats, I welcome your suggestions.