By chensiyuan, via Wikimedia Commons
Tikal Mayan ruins in Guatemala.
HARTFORD — Born in the highlands of Guatemala, Ruben Dario Gomez Gonzales will share stories of his country and Mayan heritage with a meet and greet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower, 435 Confluence Tower Dr.
Ruben will speak about the past and present of Mayan culture through native dress, arts and customs. Children will be able to dress up in the native clothing and there will also be a photograph opportunity.
The event also will feature engineering students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, who will be helping with a children’s activity.
Gonzales has been a phenomenal archaeological tour guide for more than 20 years in Central America. At the age of 12 he moved to Guatemala City and with Quichean being his native tongue, he has taught himself English, Italian and some Japanese with only three years of formal education.
Gonzales will be presenting on behalf of the Mustard Seed Peace Project, a local nonprofit organization that raises awareness of global needs and helps families worldwide by establishing educational, economic, nutritional and medical programs. The organization is working with the countries of Guatemala and Zambia.
Teresa Cranmer, founder and president of Mustard Seed Peace Project, has been working throughout Guatemala since 2004. She had the opportunity to meet Gonzales about three years ago while visiting Guatemala.
“Ruben has been visiting different venues in the area, such as colleges, universities and libraries, presenting stories of Guatemala and Mayan civilization for the last two years,” Teresa Cranmer said.
The tower provides views of the area, including the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, from 50-, 100- and 150-foot viewing platforms.
For information, call the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau at (618) 465-6676.