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Students raise awareness for the the Guaraní peoples

FROM NOVEMBER 16TH THROUGH THE 18TH, the students, faculty and staff of TGS departed Buenos Aires and headed up to the North Eastern province of Misiones to visit the spectacular Iguazú National Park, which is home to the breathtaking Iguazu Falls. Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls consist of anywhere between 150 to 300 waterfalls, dependent on the water level, and produce a noise that can only be described as deafening. While the falls themselves could be considered the crown jewel, the park itself is also renowned for its natural beauty and magnificently diverse wildlife.


The “Devil’s Throat” section of Iguazu Falls. Photograph by ResLIFE Director Sarah Jones.

One of the main motivations for heading to Misiones was so that students could pay a visit to the village of Fortín M’bororé, home to some of Argentina’s indigenous Guarani population. Visits such as these are an integral part of THINK Global School’s experiential education model, and prior terms have included meetings with the Palong Hill Tribe in Thailand and those living in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador. Prior to setting out for Misiones, the entire school attended a lecture provided by two Guarani language instructors, who were able to provide a bit of background and familiarity with the Guarani language and customs before the expedition.

By conducting preliminary research the students began learning about the Guarani’s various plights, and came to the assumption that the main problems were occurring across the border in Brazil. The Guarani are a deeply religious people and consider their land a gift from God. Since the 1880’s they have had to deal with the presence of outsiders on their sacred grounds. In Brazil, this has proven deadly, as violent ranchers have been taking the land by brute force through the killing of the indigenous Guarani people.


Charis and Yada speak to a Guarani shaman. Photograph by ResLIFE Advisor Monique Lefebvre.

Upon visiting Fortín M’bororé, the students learned that the problems being faced on the Argentinean side were less violent, but still deeply dismaying for the Guarani. Issues such as globalization, tourism and the complications of the modern world deeply infringe on the Guarani way of life. Unwilling and unable to adapt, the Guarani find themselves repressed and humiliated. Tribes living on the Brazilian side suffer from poor nutrition, wrongful imprisonment and have one of the highest suicide rates in the world, all due to circumstances forced upon them by outsiders.

Coupling their preliminary research with their recent experiences in Fortín M’bororé, Global Studies teacher Nick Martino’s 9th and 10th grade classes prepared the following Public Service Announcements to help focus attention on the Guarani plight. To learn how you can help the Guarani preserve their way of life visit Survival International.

Help The Guarani! by 9th Graders Sydney, Fatima, Yodsel, Paul, Tiana, and Cameron:

The Guarani Tribe Seek A Voice by 10th graders Alejandro, Gawa, Joseph, Liisa, Melissa, and Samhaoir:

Iguazú Conservation by Hudson, Hannah, Rebecca, Yuan Yuan, and Linhan:

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