What is a Suicide Shower?


  andrew smiling




So I was in the mountains near Momstenango, Guatemala, talking with Adolfo Torres (a local Mayan leader and future FTF Impresario). We (really just him) were installing a suicide shower. I asked how the community meeting went that day.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me: So, are the meetings required?  Who goes?

Adolfo:  No, it’s totally a voluntary choice, but almost everyone goes because we make important decisions about our community.

Me:  Wow, that's a lot of people who are invested in the community.  Are people elected as mayor, etc?

Adolfo: No, everything is volunteer.  Because we aren't a city, this is all volunteer.  So every year we have a list of people that we think could fill the roles of President, Secretary, etc, and we ask them if they could fill the position for a year.

At this point a couple of thoughts went through my head:

-Wow these people are organized!

-Why did I think that they weren't?!

-What the hell am I even doing here – they already have everything in hand!

Did I mention that none of these volunteers gets paid?  

So I freaked a little.  I was humbled.  I was blown away.  I was ashamed.  But in the end I realized I could do good work here. Why? I realized these are the exact people we want to work with: Humble people invested in their community who want to make good things happen, and who are already sacrificing, but just need a dedicated collaborator to encourage their great ideas. A sherpa, if you will. But I wasn’t finished thinking about this conversation. In my next blog, I’ll tell you what happened next, and I'll tell you what a suicide shower is.