The women in Chumanzana have been so successful that other women in the community are pressing them to join. They recently integrated four in women, Marta, Tomasa, Josefa and the team of Micaela and her daughter, Rosa into the project. The women pay a small membership fee, but it is not enough to buy the initial materials needed to get their raised bed gardens started. The cost of Marta's starter kit is paid for with donations to a microproject designated for her here on our Global Giving page. The funding for the other three will come from on-going donations to this project.
The women have received their tools and materials and have built their raised bed and are ready to plant. They also had a workshop where they planted seed trays to grow seedlings to transplant to their gardens when they are ready. We have photos of their work which I think demonstrate their eagerness to learn, so I am going to let them speak for themselves through these photos. If you wish to support these women as they begin this new adventure, you can do it with a donation to our project. Information on how to donate is attached to this report. Tell your friends and family as well. These women are willing to work hard, they just need a little capital to get started.
Thanks to all of you who have donated to support Marta, Candelaria Sut, project coordinator, will provide Marta with the tools, knowledge, and other materials she needs to build her raised bed organic garden and start growing nutritious food for her family. The other women in the group will be teaching her what they have learned from Candelaria and their own experience with their gardens.
Marta is one of four new members of the group who were attracted by the success of these women growing food for their families. In addition to the actual garden, Marta will visit IMAP, a center for demonstrating environmentally friendly technologies. There she will learn more about organic gardening and its place in preserving the environment.
Marta is excited about getting started. She appreciates your investment in her future. She is not afraid of hard work, but it always takes a bit of ready cash to get started. You have provided the seed money she needs.
A week and a half of my Guatemalan visit has passed. The time has been full. Every day I have the opportunity to meet and talk with women and girls who have dreams of improving their lives.
Sunday, the young women in the Education Program, came for their monthly meeting at our Center in Chimaltenango. I talked with three who particularly impressed me, Clara Loyda, Sandra Cecelia, and Flory.
Clara talked enthusiastically about her courses in English. She is studying to be a bi-lingual secretary. Learning English is important. Her school is in Sololá near Panajachel on beautiful Lake Atitlan. Tourists from all over the world visit. Sandra and her classmates practice their English by giving presentations in English for the visitors. She sees this skill as important to her future success.
Sandra has dreams of being a doctor in the future. Right now, she is in a high school program that is preparing her for a future career in the medical field. She has a clear plan for reaching her goal. When she graduates this year, her next step will be to apply to a nursing assistant program. She then sees herself working as a nursing assistant and studying at the university to get her medical degree. Talking with her warmed my heart.
Flory has a story that might have led a lesser person to despair. Her mother died when she was very young. Her father is an alcoholic and she lived in an abusive situation. Despite all this she has made a life for herself. She has struggled to get an education and now, with a Kateri scholarship, is studying in her first year of high school.
She is sponsored by a girl who was adopted from Guatemala as a baby. The sponsorship was a birthday gift from her adopted parents. She is thrilled to be connected to Guatemala through Flory.
I shared her sponsor’s story with Flory and gave her a picture of her sponsor with her brother in their Halloween costumes. The smile on Flory’s face showed how much she appreciated the opportunity to know more about her sponsor.
This meeting was the highlight of my first week in Guatemala. I am always energized by participating with these young women who despite all obstacles are taking the steps necessary to improve their lives.