recommend purchasing the film to learn more about La Limonada and Guatemala’s struggle
to repair itself and its people following a 36-year civil war.
Following the overthrow of their government in 1954, Guatemala experienced a 36 year-long civil war — the longest in Latin American history. Throughout those years dictators and military leaders committed despicable acts of violence and terror against their people in attempts to suppress the guerilla movement and end the civil war.
These atrocities led to the massacre of over 200,000 people and caused untold thousands to flee rural areas in search of refuge in urban areas.
Many of the settlers staked claim to the land marked by the ravine that is now known as La Limonada. It is one of many communities known as asentamientos (Spanish for settlement) in Guatemala, built on what most would consider uninhabitable land formerly controlled by the government.
Considered a “Zona Roja” (or “Red Zone” – a designation given to Guatemala City’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods), the ravine is now home to 60,000 people and is considered the largest urban slum community in Central America. It serves as a border between Zona 1 and Zona 5 in the heart of Guatemala City.
The geographic location of the community and the sub-culture of extreme poverty have produced a lack of education and job opportunities, spiritual darkness and unsustainable living conditions. Many of the families survive with no running water or electricity. Having a La Limonada address prevents residents from securing employment in the city. As a result, many feel forced to lie about their address and many succumb to illegal activity. The community consists of ten barrios (districts or neighborhoods) ruled by rival gangs which has also created a deep-seated culture of fear.
While there is much darkness in La Limonada, there is also much beauty for those who have eyes to see. In the Book of Acts it is recorded that Jesus commissioned his followers to go to “the ends of the earth” as his witnesses. While the “ends of the earth” may have originally referred to geographical locations, it could also refer to places like La Limonada – places where most people refuse to go.
Tita and the team in Guatemala consider La Limonada a “Cathedral on the Street”, a place where God dwells and where heaven meets earth. It is a place where “holy moments” are experienced every day. As Tita says in the video above, “It’s a beautiful place. I can sit at the edge of La Limonada… and all I smell is hope… and I like it.”
It is in this one place in the world and with the people there that God has called Lemonade International to serve.