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Activities

Yax Te' staff members regularly participate in programs and projects that disseminate its books and related materials, including the presentation of workshops on the educational use of our materials and other Mayan cultural products. This page contains information about our activities for this year. Use the links below to read about earlier activities.


Recent Activities

2011 - 2014 summary of donations of Yax Te' books:

Estudios Q'eqchies: etnógrafos alemanes en las Verapaces 60 copies donated to Judith Maxwell for distribution at a CONALFA workshop in Cobán, Alta Verapaz. Q'eqchi region

Montejo, V. Las aventuras de mister Puttison entre los Mayas 30 copies donated to Tecpan school district for use in elementary school reading clases.

Montejo, Victor The adventures of Mr. Puttison 30 copies donated at presentation to students visiting Guatemala from Virginia Commonwealth University

In addition, collections of the following books published by Yax Te' were donated to the organizations listed below:

  • Biblioteca Universidad del Valle de Guatemala;
  • Tijonik wuqu' Imox Escuela de Kaqchikel;
  • Centro histórico educativo Riij Ib'ooy, Comunidad de Rio Negro, Rabinal;
  • Colegio Mi Melodía, Chimaltenango;
  • Biblioteca Municipal, Chimaltenango,
  • Instituto Normal para Señoritas Olimpia Leal & Colegio Boston, Antigua;
  • Universidad del Valle; Ixil libraries;
  • Biblioteca Municipal de Parramos.

The donations included the following collections of books published and sold by Yax Te':

  • Tedlock, B. El tiempo y los mayas del altiplan;
  • Peñalosa, F. Tales and legends of the Q'anjob'al Maya;
  • Casaverde, J. Estructura social y política jakalteca.
  • Montejo, V. Las aventuras de mister Puttison entre los Mayas;
  • García, Norma. The town of the silent people;
  • Diccionario Akateko;
  • Estudios Q'eqchies: etnógrafos alemanes en las Verapaces
Library and community work:

Hana Muzika Kahn has been a board member of the Princeton in Parramos Partnership since its inception in 2002. This organization, based in Princeton, N.J., sponsors a local school in Parramos, Chimaltenango, offering scholarships to students, providing donations to cover instructional materials and teacher salaries, and bringing volunteers to visit each summer. It also co-sponsors a local Senior Adult program and a Summer Vacation School (see below). Hana also coordinated and sponsored the development of the local Municipal Library until its transfer to the newly constructed Community Library funded and organized by the Riecken Foundation.

2014-2015 Summary of activities, publications, donations

NEW YAX TE’ PUBLICATION AND DONATIONS: Xumakil / Botón en Flor / Budding  by Gaspar Pedro González  2014

In 2014 Yax Te’ published a new, trilingual book of poems by Gaspar Pedro González, Xumakil / Botón en Flor / Budding. The poems were written by the author in his mother tongue, Q’anjob’al, and then he translated them into Spanish. They were translated into English by Elaine Elliot, Robert McKenna Brown and Hana Muzika Kahn, and the latter was also responsible for the final editing and prologue. The Q’anjob’al poems appears first, and on the facing page, the Spanish and English versions are in parallel columns. This layout foregrounds the mother tongue, and invites the reader to read in all three languages, entering each linguistic world, with the understanding that theQ’anjob’al is the original, and that the Spanish and English are translations / transformations. In some of the translated poems, culturally-specific names have been retained in Q’anjob’al, and are footnoted with brief explanations.  In July 2014 the author and Hana Muzika Kahn presented the book at a reception hosted by CIRMA in Antigua. They also traveled to the Q’anjob’al region, where they presented the book to a Q’anjob’al teachers’ workshop in Santa Eulalia, and donated copies to the teachers attending. In response to their enthusiastic reception, Yax Te’ reprinted the book and donated 600 copies to regional schools in the Q’anjob’al area. Teachers attending the 2015 Q’anjob’al teachers’ workshop completed follow-up questionnaires, in which they wrote that they were using the books in their classrooms to stimulate reading aloud in Q’anjob’al, to teach vocabulary, to develop discussions about the poetic themes, and to encourage writing in Q’anjob’al.

In July 2015, a collection of the works (novels and poems) of Gaspar Pedro González was donated by Hana Muzika Kahn on behalf of Yax Te’ Books to the Community Library of Parramos, Chimaltenango. (established by Riecken Foundation February 2014) (see announcement below). The author himself donated a selection of books by other Mayan authors and about Mayan culture.

USA sales and donations:

Yax Te' continues to sell books by Mayan authors and about Mayan culture. Books by Gaspar Pedro González are our most popular books, and are used as reading material in a number of universities. However, in general sales of books have been diminishing in the last 2-3 years, as Guatemalan publishers produce more books, several anthologies of contemporary Guatemalan Mayan literature have been published, more materials are available online, and second-hand copies are available cheaply from Amazon.

A new development has occurred in 2015: Yax Te' has received 4 different requests from 3 different USA states for support for recently arrived high-school students from north-west Guatemala (Mam and Q'anjob'al-speaking) whose teachers and counselors are helping them to adjust. We have donated collections of books by Gaspar Pedro González and Victor Montejo, and folk-tales compiled by Fernando Peñalosa, to give these students reading materials which relate to the cultures they have left behind.

Yax Te' support for Summer Vacation Schools Oxlajuj Winaq : Escuela mayab vacacional de Parramos

In 2012 Hana Muzika Kahn initiated the Escuela mayab vacacional, Maya summer vacation school, in Parramos, and following the success of the first year, it has become an annual program. It was launched in collaboration with the Aid and Education Project, represented in Guatemala by Ajpub' Pablo García, who coordinates this program in 13 Guatemalan towns. It is coordinated and taught entirely by volunteers, and local volunteers in Parramos included an American volunteer from the Princeton in Latin America foundation and the director of a local school who coordinated the program, and a group of local teachers and students who taught the classes and activities. A local school, the Centro Educativo Trilingue Nuevo Amanecer (CETNA), which is supported by the Princeton in Parramos Partnership, offered the use of the school building. The summer program runs for the month of November and includes classes and activities sports, dancing, arts, English, Kaqchikel language, Maya history and culture. Ajpub' Pablo García has given the volunteer instructors workshops and instructional materials; Yax Te' donated the 9-language picture book by Marilyn Anderson, and the Princeton in Parramos Partnership donates money for arts and sports supplies every year. Attendance has been approximately 100 each year for the three years the summer school has been running, and following some meetings in July 2015, CETNA has again agreed to host the summer vacation school in November 2015, the Community Library has offered space for reading activities, and the volunteer leaders are now making plans for the 2015 session. Parramos community members point out that programs like this, which depend on volunteers and a broad base of community relations, and which develop new skills and relationships among children, have initiated a new way of thinking about the benefits of volunteer work in the community and have become a positive role-model for other collaborative activities.

Ongoing publication of books:

We are seeking collaboration from other organizations to help with printing costs and also investigating the options of online publishing. The cost of printing represents a significant investment of money, and sales income is not keeping up. We find ourselves unable to respond to the requests of new authors seeking to publish their books with us, because of the uncertainty of selling enough books to cover the production costs. As mentioned before, the reading public has diminished since the period of activism following the armed conflict and the Peace Accords of 1996. On the other hand, there is an increased interest in and need for Mayan language books within Guatemala, but limited finances for their purchase. Yax Te' is committed to the support of Mayan languages and cultures in Guatemala, and while all our work is entirely voluntary, we need financial support for the printing of books.

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