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day five: potencial

wajshakib b’atz’: año nuevo de los mayas.

Our day kicked off with a lovely performance in Zunil, Guatemala at a public school we’ve performed at all five years we’ve been coming to the country. (Zunil is a town about 20 minutes from Xela – also town of director Joanna Poz-Molesky’s roots.) Next, we gathered with Xela dancers to work out details of our flash mob, later which was taught to all six marching bands of the festival. At 4:30pm, our flash mob took over the street of Xela in front of the government building. Xelajú Es… ¡Un Lugar Diferente! We ran back from the flash mob with our Xela friends to take a Bollywood workshop from JUNTOS assistant Rachel Higbee… what fun! To complete a long day, the seven of us U.S. dancers dressed up in our finest to attend the opening night gala for the festival Xelajú Es, where our fellow dancer Sage Horsey performed as La Luna de Xelajú. What a fantastic day to start off the Mayan new year with.

“Greatness” from Joanna Poz-Molesky, JUNTOS director

Wajshakib B’atz’. The Maya new year.

I state the obvious when I say we all have moments of triumph and moments of defeat. Reality is however, we don’t always know how great we actually are – how triumphant we actually are. And those moments of realization hit us at the most unexpected times.

I was struck with a moment tonight. Xelajú Es opening night gala dinner – only the most important people for the festival are invited to this event. Of course, all U.S. JUNTOS dancers attend. The festival president begins his speech, shortly after calling upon the most important leaders and representatives in the room to stand beside him. He waves a beckoning hand in my direction. Must be someone behind me. Then again. And finally calls, “Joanna, por favor.” Startled, I join the group of eight middle-aged representatives, seven of them men. I  am a 26-year old woman. I represent the United States and JUNTOS, the president tells me. Standing there, I peer down at the reinas with their crowns representing the different areas, all texting on their phones. How as a child I wanted to be one! Now, standing here as one strong, young, beautiful woman among so many men, I am PROUD to be me – to have accomplished what I have, to be a leader. What a wonderful way to start the new year.

I think back at the girls from IFEBU middle school – their potential to create change, to lead, to inspire. I look around me at the beautiful JUNTOS women and see their sparks… How I can’t wait to see their fire. I am so excited to see what the world has in store for us – how so many of us can shape our future if we choose to. We are all capable of greatness.

Take time, be patient. Be defeated, stand up. Fight. Smile. Laugh. LISTEN. Let yourself be guided. Do this, and you will move mountains.