Design in the Developing World

The desire to create meaningful space is rooted in the human spirit. It finds its way through imagination no matter the conditions or limitations. Sometimes it grows from necessity or even the struggle to survive, but there is always that place crafted from desire. In the dirt streets of the aldea of La Morena, Guatemala, edges of home plots are made inviting with local flowers and plants tended to with care. A tub in the yard becomes the local place for children to play. The few sources of water are places to gather and hear the day’s news. At the center of town, the chapel, while a simple block structure, is adorned inside with flowing tapestries sewn locally, handcrafted pews, artwork made by the town’s precious children, and items collected and kept lovingly by generations. It is a place where the local marimba band plays and the whole town gathers to greet visitors from a foreign place who marvel at the wealth that surrounds them.

No matter what our circumstances, we are members of humankind, a community that cannot be divided by political borders, education, economic, ethnic or religious backgrounds, and so on. What is important is our commitment to the success of each other. Whether we help as individuals or as members of an organization, we must keep our eyes open to the bigger picture, to the orb we know as Earth and even infinitely beyond.