News from Taa' Pi't PDF Print E-mail

U.S.A. Visit 2014

Nancy Lynn, International Coordinator, will be visiting the U.S. July 15 - September 28 with a unique interactive presentation:


With an auction of one-of-a-kind tunics designed using traditional Mayan fabrics!

Dates and Places will be announced soon.

For more information, please write Nancy Lynn This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it






U.S.A. Visit 2012

With Juan Manuel Chavajay Cotuc, Director & Co-founder of Taa’ Pi’t

Intercultural Learning Center and a Tzutujil Maya leader from

“T’zunun Ya’” (Hummingbird of the Lake) -San Pedro la

Laguna on Lake Atitlan Tour 2012.







Juan Manuel traveled a second time to the U.S. and Canada to shares stories of his Maya cosmovision roots and his “cosmo-mission” and how this led him to this crucial time in history 2012. He shared how he has traveled from his vision of creating a small grassroots program for children to participating in community leadership roles where Maya around the country are re-taking their ancestral wisdom and knowledge to face the challenges in these times.

Nancy Lynn McCoy, (formerly of Leavenworth, WA) joined Juan Manuel translating and sharing her story of working with this unique organization and helping to build bridges of cooperation and harmony across cultures.




U.S.A. Visit  2011 (May - August)

Click an image to see the tour photos.

Casita Lula
Linda in Oregon
J. Manuel at We...

Juan Manuel Chavajay Cotuc, Director of Taa’ Pi’t, spoke and presented slides about the center’s programs that offer educational possibilities barely dreamed of by most Mayan children. In his presentation, Juan Manuel gave an overview of the socio-political, economic, educational and cultural context in which the Mayans live in Guatemala. He also introduced our newest program, “Journey to the Heart of Guate-Maya” – Tours with Taa' Pi’t.




Letter from Juan Manuel

Each of my honorable hosts and donors,

On behalf of the children, parents of our Intercultural Center Taa' Pi't NGO, I am deeply grateful for your warm hospitality, solidarity and donations. It was a great honor for me to share with each you and be in your homes – a time that I will never forget. My heart was glad to know you.

As well, I am thankful for the financial donations that are so needed.  Each one reflects a great act of the heart which we deeply appreciate.

Your help was, is and will continue to be necessary to improve the education of our children, strengthen our Maya Tz'utujil culture and contribute to the protection of Lake Atitlan.

 I love you, thank you.


Juan Manuel Chavajay Cotuc

Volunteering for Taa' Pi't PDF Print E-mail

 Volunteering with Taa'  Pi't Intercultural Center, you will have an unique opportunity to live among Tz’utujil Mayans in the village of San Pedro la Laguna, on Lake Atitlan, renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

We welcome the contributions of volunteers who have interest and expertise to share with our two programs, Computer Technology and Environmental Education in our Intercultural Center Taa’ Pi’t.


Your participation will contribute to our three goals:

  • To improve the education of our students
  • To strengthen the Mayan cultural heritage
  • To participate in protecting Lake Atitlan


For your stay with us:

  • We will provide a home-stay, if desired, at a reasonable cost.
  • Students coming from university programs and other volunteers  pay a stipend for the opportunity to work with us.  (Ranging from $500 to $650 per month, including home-stay and meals.)
  • We ask for a minimum commitment of 3 months to provide an optimum experience for you and for our students.


For more questions and more information, please write us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or fill out our simple contact form.



altItzel Lizarraga Nuño

Lisa came from the University of California, Santa Cruz, U.S.A.  She was in her third year of studies in Community Studies and Latin American Studies.  For her Community Studies program, Itzel  volunteered with Intercultural Center Taa’ Pi’t, NGO,  July 2011 - January 2012  and was assisting as an instructor in our Environmental Education and Computer Education programs.

Friends & Allies PDF Print E-mail

altDr. Bárbara Rogoff     

altBenefactor and founder of the present Municipal Library of San Pedro la Laguna, Solola, Barbara was a devoted . collaborator  and fundamental supporter in  creation of the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning, Taa 'Pi't Kortess, NGO.

Most recently, Barbara has published ¨Developing Destinies, A Mayan Midwife and Town¨.

Through the life experiences of Chona Pérez, born with the destiny of becoming a Mayan sacred midwife, Dr. Rogoff illuminates how individuals worldwide build on cultural heritage from prior generations and at the same time create new ways of living.  "Developing Destinies" is an engaging narrative of one remarkable person´s life and the life of her community (San Pedro la Laguna) that blends psychology, anthropology, and history to reveal the integral role that culture plays in human development. (from book jacket)


altThe Skoll Foundation, U.S.A.

In 2005 Taa’ Pi’t received a grant from The Skoll Foundation, founded by Jeff Skoll. Keely Stevenson of Skoll, visited us on site, and with these funds we were able to secure the equipment for our computer laboratory, obtain our NGO legal status in Guatemala and stay in operation until 2007.

Our internal virtual library is named Skoll Foundation Library in honor of the The Skoll Foundation.

During their 2011 Tour, Juan Manuel, Director of Taa’ Pi’t and board member Nancy Lynn, with Dr. Barbara Rogoff, visited the Skoll Foundation and met with Sally Osberg, CEO and Keely Stevenson to thank them in person for giving Taa’ Pi’t their beginnings,  and to share with them the growth and results of this support.



Nancy Lynn, Dr. Rogoff, Juan Manuel, Sally Osberg and Keely Stevenson
Friends of Taa' Pi't PDF Print E-mail



After the collaboration with Compassionate
Listening Project (
to bring an international delegation to San Pedro La
Laguna and Centro Taa´ Pi´t in December 2012, some
of the participants began meeting in the U.S. and formed
the coordinating committee for "Friends of Taa´Pi´t".  
With their efforts, we have been able to receive
tax-deductible donations through Seattle International Foundation (  Three members
visited again in March, 2014 to work with Nancy Lynn, International Coordinator, to develop fundraising strategies. 




Sophia - Lisa - Nani

Nani Baran, Bainbridge Island, WA

For most of my life, I have dreamed of  finding a place in another country where I could be in real relationship with the community.  A place where I could be open to be changed, to learn and to grow.  A place where I could offer my skills and to be of service. A place to call home.

With deep gratitude, I can now say that Centro Taa' Pi't in San Pedro la Laguna is that place. I first visited the lake in 2011 as a tourist, returned in 2012 as part of the Journey to Guatemaya Compassionate Listening delegation, on my own in 2013 and with friends in 2014. 

With each visit, my heart and mind have opened more deeply to the wisdom and generosity of the Mayan people and specifically, to the staff and families of Taa' Pi't.  I am incredibly grateful to be welcomed into the community and to have the opportunity to contribute.  

I feel deeply called to return to the lake and to join the amazing jewel called Centro Taa' Pi't as it rises to meet the challenges of the 21st century by moving deeply into the wisdom and strength of traditional Mayan values and spirituality. 

Professionally, I am a psychotherapist and grief counselor.  I love fundraising, cooking, eating, my family, living life fully....and, Taa' Pi't. 


Sophia Bowie-McCoy, Ph.D., Eugene, OR

Organizational Studies, College of Business, University of Oregon

I was called to Centro Taa' Pi't by a Compassionate Listening Delegation to San Pedro La Laguna in 2012.  I was bound to Taa' Pi't by the program of many-layered cultural experiences, gifted to us by the staff.  Those experiences connected me with my own life story.  For example, on our day to the campo (small  agriculture fields) to pick coffee and visit organic fertilizer production, I imagined the presence and joy of my father who had died earlier in the year.  He had been a food processor who began by making jam in our backyard.  He would have been keenly curious about my day in the Campo.  During our sharing with farmers and parents and teachers after a picnic, I mentioned my father.  Several men commented that they appreciated the connections with ancestors, like my dad.  

Parts of my own life story that led me to Taa' Pi't are:

  • Learning some Spanish at home and at school,
  • Wanting to help Latin/Central America since high school,
  • Working in higher education administration,
  • Researching small group strategic planning,
  • Teaching small group leadership,
  • Facilitating many small groups, especially in community food organizing, and
  • Creating a movement-based process for implementing group and individual intentions.

This latter work, called Moving Intentions, carries me forward to work with groups and leaders in the 21st Century.  The leadership at Taa' Pi't is a special group whom I am honored to serve.

Musings on my "unfolding" connection with Taa' Pi't

I am attracted to Centro Taa' Pi't by the radiating quality of leadership that re-weaves the fabric of community.  This is literally an "unfolding," as one would unfold an old and beautiful tapestry.  As I attend to qualities in the San Pedro community, I attend to qualities in my own community in the United States.  For example, the time with Armando's baby daughter links with my time with my grandson, Frazier.  Most mornings during a moment of quiet, I hold a vision of Lake Atitlan as crystalline pure, as I do the origins of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers in my own community.  


Lisa Weinberg, Seattle, WA

What immediately impressed me on my first encounter with Taa’ Pi’t was the absolute imperative of the program, the weaving together of ancient wisdom and contemporary technology to meet 21st century challenges.  I was struck as well by the staff’'s depth of commitment, to the children and their families, to the community of 14,000 Tz’utujil Mayan of which they are a part, and to the life and future of Lake Atitlan, “Our Mother Lake.”  The combined impact of these forces (and Taa’ Pi’t truly is a force of nature!) renewed my hope and a sense of what’s possible.  Margaret Mead certainly had an endeavor like Taa’ Pi’t in mind when she observed:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  It’s a pleasure and a privilege for me to join with them in common cause.

I currently work as a psychotherapist in private practice in Seattle, WA.  Earlier in my professional life, my desire to make a difference for the better in the world led me to work for a number of governmental and nonprofit organizations, and to earn a PhD in Public Administration and Policy, before serving on the faculty at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.

Taa' Pi't Kortees PDF Print E-mail


Don Agapito Cortez was called in the Tz’tujil language of his community, Taa’ Pi't Kortees and was one of the first professionals and teachers of San Pedro la Laguna. He worked 33 years in bilingual education of children. He wore the traditional clothes  of the culture, but in this time when racism was more obvious in the educational system, his superiors asked him to change his clothes or lose his job as a teacher. He preferred to lose his job and  not change his clothing, but it was necessary for his service as a teacher. Finally later,  his traditional dress was accepted.








Photo from 1974


Likewise, Taa 'Pi't was the one who demanded that the present municipal library be built.

In honor of this man, the legal formal name of our center is Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning Workshops Taa' Pi't Kortees, NGO.

Taa' Pi't cutting coffee (from 1985)

Staff & Board PDF Print E-mail

Juan Manuel Chavajay Cotuc

Co-founder and Director of Taa' Pi't Intercultural Learning Center

I love my life! - Juan Manuel Ch.


Juan Manuel of San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá, is co-founder and Director of Taa’ Pi’t, Intercultural Learning Center, NGO since 2001.

In 2006 he became President of the Board of Directors and the legal representative of Taa’ Pi’t. He participated in the Department of Sololá Development Commission as the representative of the Tzutujil Maya communities in 2012.

In 2013 he became President of the Municipal Basketball Board, representing Taa’ Pi’t . With this position he is participating in the community´s political organization where important decisions are made.

Juan Manuel has a degree in Urban Primary Education and as a professor in Pedagogy of Secondary Education Curriculum, and completed all the coursework for his Degree in Education Administration.

Juan Manuel has held positions as chairman of the board of the Barbara Rogoff Municipal Library, as a consultant facilitator for education reform in San Pablo La Laguna, and served as General Coordinator for the implementation of demobilization in the department of Solola, for the fulfillment of the peace agreement in 2009. He has done consulting for child exploitation in Comitansillo, Department of San Marcos.
He speaks the Mayan language Tz’utujil and Spanish.


Juan Martin González

Co-founder, Professor of Computer Technology Education, Accountant


Juan Martin of San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá, has helped in the creation and founding of Taa’ Pi’t since 2005.

He facilitates the Children’s Computer Technology Education Program. He is also responsible for Accounting and maintenance of computers. In 2007 he created and installed the virtual library. He created the web page at the end of 2009 and is the programmer and administrator for it.

In 2012 he became President of the Board of Directors and the Legal Representative of Taa’ Pi’t.

Juan Martin graduated as an accountant from the National School of Commercial Sciences in Guatemala City. He has taken various courses for Public Accounting and Auditor at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. He began his professional work for businesses in Guatemala City in the positions of Warehouse Manager, Assistant in Human Resources, Manager of Savings and finally Manager of the customer store.

Nancy Lynn McCoy

International Cordinator and Communicator 


“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what to hope for.
And the most you can do is live inside that hope.”  - Barbara Kingsolver


Nancy Lynn McCoy of the United States, joined Taa’ Pi’t in November and December of 2009 as a volunteer in our summer school program. Since then, she has had the role of international coordinator and communicator. She coordinated the U. S. Tour, “Travel to the Heart of Guate-Maya¨, for Juan Manuel, Director of Taa’ Pi’t , May – August, 2011 and again in the summer of 2012, including an invitation to Hollyhock Retreat Center Summer Gathering in Canada. In 2012 she coordinated the collaboration with Compassionate Listening Project and Taa’ Pi’t for an international delegation of 15 people, “Journey To the Heart of Guata-Maya”.

Nancy Lynn has a B.A. from the University of Washington (1991) in Women’s Studies. Before coming to Guatemala, she worked as Program Director for a NGO in Washington State and has worked in advocacy for women and children.


Deborah Rosario Hi Puac

Professor of Environmental Education - Mother Nature - Qa Tee' Ya'




Deborah Rosario Hi Puac of San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá began working with Taa’ Pi’t in 2010 as facilitator of the Ecology Education/Mother Nature – Qa Tee’ Ya’ (Our Mother Lake – Lake Atitlan).

She collaborates in the process of creating the curriculum for this class and in the development of these plans based in the Maya Cosmovision.

Since 2012 and 2013 she has served as the treasurer of the Board of Directors.

Deborah received her degree as Pre primary Education Teacher in Guatemala City in The School Victoria and Libertad. She has also received courses in clinical psychology at the University Mariano Gálvez in Quetzaltenango. She worked as a teacher in the school, “La Casita de los Pollitos” in Guatemala City and also as teacher in the school “ENGOCA” in San Juan La Laguna.

Original Board & Legal Representatives PDF Print E-mail






The first legal Board of Directors was formed in 2006 with Sebastian Ixmatá Sequec, Juan Manuel Chavajay Cotuc,  Flora Cortéz Gonzáles, Ruben Cortéz Rodriguez, Pedro Navichoc Chavajay (rest in peace) and Marta Florinda Navichoc Cotuc. They continue to participate in important events for Taa' Pi't.




The first legal Board of Directors

Munk Foundation PDF Print E-mail

"The most urgent question of life: What you are doing for others?"

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Norm Munk, M.Ed. , M.S., Executive Director,

Partnership Resources, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Norm has been married for 28 years with his beautiful wife, Marilyn, who works as a Speech Pathologist with patients who have suffered strokes in the Abbott Northwest Hospital. They have two adult children, David and Marissa who are very supportive of their efforts on behalf of Taa' Pi't Intercultural Learning Center.

Norm has over 30 years of leadership experience in a unique combination of clinical, supervisory and leadership roles in the area of mental health, developmental disabilities, in the fields of medicine and education with children and adults.

Norm and Marilyn created a foundation to support Taa’ Pi’t in 2009 and began raising donations with fundraiser parties in their home.  Norm´s invitation for the director to visit in Minneapolis was the birth of the 2011 Tour – “Journey to the Heart of Guate’Maya¨.

Mayan Cosmovision PDF Print E-mail

On behalf of the heart of the Lake, heart of the Earth,

heart of Heaven and heart of "Ajaw"

(the abstract divinity, energy of the universe) - Hunahpu.



What is Mayan Cosmovision?


…(It) is one that is based on the harmonious relationship of all elements of the universe in which to be human is only one more element.  The earth is the mother who gives life and maize (corn) is a sacred symbol which the culture revolves around. (AIDEPI, 1995)

It is a way of feeling, a way of being, a way of life that constitutes the daily path  through all times and throughout the existence of being alive, including to be human. This is found immersed in time which corresponds to a code of ethics. (Book of Mayan Cosmovision for United Nations).


Popol Vuh

The Popol Vuh is the sacred book of the Mayas and is the only one that has survived throughout history. It is a compilation of myths, legends and histories of the K'iche Maya culture (one of the 23 ethnic communities in Guatemala).

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