Stories of Volunteers: Patricia Macías López and Richard Brown, former collaborators of EntreMundos
During these 20 years of activity, EntreMundos has had the power to change the lives of many people. Firstly, of course, the lives of the people who benefited from the projects promoted by the organization, but some of the lives touched and changed for the better were those same people who worked or volunteered for Entremundos itself. Today, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Entremundos we interview two people who contributed to the success of the magazine and helped it become what it is today.
Patricia was living in London before moving to Guatemala, working to find volunteering opportunities for British people in Central America. “When I saw that Entremundos was looking for people to help with the magazine, I immediately thought that it would have been the perfect fit for me.” Patricia was at the time a bit disillusioned with a certain type of journalism for which she had been working for the past few?(several?) years and saw this opportunity to take control of the stories she was writing about. After her application, she was immediately accepted and started working at Entremundos in October 2013. Richard, on the other hand, originally moved to Guatemala with the purpose of learning Spanish. “I thought that learning Spanish was a good idea, so I bought a ticket for the cheapest flight, and it happened to be to Guatemala” he remembers. “I didn’t want to live in the capital, so I decided to go to Xela after seeing an announcement about a volunteering opportunity in a local magazine – Entremundos! In the end I ended up staying there for quite some time”. Richard still remembers that “knocking at that blue door completely changed and shaped my life”. During the first day there he met Patricia, and so it started that incredibly meaningful collaboration that led, among many other things, to Entremundos becoming an online magazine as well.
Together with Richard, Patricia created from scratch a new communication medium: the online portal for Entremundos that still works today in parallel to the printed magazine. She volunteered for 6 years with Entremundos, during which she enjoyed a “wonderful [creative] liberty, and an amazing experience of teamwork”. She finally had the opportunity to write and investigate about themes that she found meaningful: gender issues, human rights, social migration. She also had the opportunity to deepen other of her interests, quickly becoming an editor-in-chief, along with Richard, of the online magazine, and developing her passion for photography. She and Richard had to learn by doing how to build up a communication medium from zero, from working with an online text editor, to creating video content, to selling ads to make the magazine self-sustaining in the long term. Richard remembers this time fondly, as it gave him the opportunity to knock on many doors of local business, getting in touch with local people and learning more about Guatemalan society. In general, this learning aspect is something that both Particia and Richard remember as a pivotal part of their experience at Entremundos.
“The field visits to the local communities we organized for articles and video stories, like to the Finca Comunitaria La Florida, were absolutely eye-opening and inspiring. We were constantly exposed to incredible community organizations and to the most amazing people implementing them” recalls Richard.
There was no doubt, in their eyes, about the value of the projects they were involved with during their stay at Entremundos: “In a country like Guatemala, where the journalism is heavily politicized and in a context historically plagued by great social inequalities validated by the mainstream media, the role of an independent magazine arriving in local communities is of incredible importance” states Patricia. The type of community journalism the project of Entremundos promotes, she continues, “is what I thought journalism should be when I studied it during my years at University”. Richard, while agreeing on the importance of the kind of journalism the magazine promotes, also highlights the role of Entremundos as a platform for connecting communities. “What is special about Entremundos is definitely the power of attracting this kind of small-scale community-based project and bringing together different communities”. Patricia agrees and wishes that the organization will keep working and will strengthen the community-based part of the projects. Knowing how fast the world of communication is changing, she also hopes that Entremundos will keep the balance among the distribution of the printed magazine, the development of the online portal, and the use of social media.
When asked to summarize her experience in a few words, Patricia said: “Entremundos has never been just a job for me. It is a project in which I believed, and that even now I keep supporting. I am very proud of the fact that now the magazine is completely managed by Guatemalans, which was always our ultimate goal”. Richard also highlights his happiness in seeing how the magazine is now run by the current editors and adds: “Entremundos changed the way I understand the world now, and it inspires a galaxy of people to put some more beauty in the world”.
Interested in being part of the EntreMundos Magazine? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how to get involved with us.