The Women of Chumanzana development group is continuing to learn through workshops and visits arranged by the Kateri Fund. In March, Maria and her daughter, Yesica, accompanied Candelaria, the Fund promotor, on a visit to the Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura to observe and learn from the people there. Some of the things they saw were:
Maria commented that she received a lot of new knowledge and experiences, especially about different ways to plant. She enjoyed the visit and will be able to apply what she learned in her own garden. She also planned to share with the other women in the group. She never had this type of experience before and it animated her to try different kinds of vegetables.
Yesica said it was the first time she had left her village for an excursion. She had never seen so many different kinds of vegetables, ways of planting, and all the other good things there. She plans to work with her mother to implement the things they learned in their own garden. It is good to see the next generation involved!
In April, Maria and Candelaria began to share what they had learned with the other women and continued in May. There is much to share! Each month the women are learning more and putting it into practice!
The women in Chumanzana have realized their first harvest. They are enjoying the addition to their meals of these fresh vegetables: radishes, onions, herbs, beets, cabbage, celery, cauliflower, parsley, and cilantro. They are putting into practice the suggestions made by Candelaria, who is in charge of the project, for taking care of their garden.
To protect their gardens from the cold or frost in the morning, they put an old tub or basket over the plants for the night, so that the plants won’t be damaged. Despite this practice, Maria lost her tomatoes, lettuce, and some of her herbs in a morning frost. She wasn’t discouraged by this and focused her attention on the lettuce and other products her family had already eaten.
Most of the women are trying to save seeds from their plants to use in the next planting. They do not harvest some of the vegetables and let them go to seed. Catalina has a large cabbage and can’t decide if she should eat it or save it for seed.
Others have surrounded their gardens with fences of cane to keep the animals like chickens and pigs out. Chickens have been a particular problem for Isabel.
Candelaria is providing them with compost to enrich their gardens. She has access to it through her brother who works on a farm that produces it.
The women proudly shared their gardens with a recent group of visitors from the U.S. The group was impressed with what the women had accomplished. These women are not afraid of hard work and walk the hills of Chumanzana with ease.
They appreciate what the Kateri Fund has done to support their work. We always remind them that it is your donations that make it all possible. Please consider an additional donation now, so we can continue our work in Chumanzana and spread it to our other project in Santa Clara la Laguna.
Everything is possible with a litle help from a FRIEND!
Candelaria Sut has been planning workshops for the women in Santa Clara la Laguna, Solola and Chumanzana, Chichicastenago, Quiche which have kept the women moving along.
She worked with each of the women in Chumanzana to construct their raised bed using plastic bottles. They next prepared the soil to fill their beds. They gathered organic fertilizar, decomposed leaves, soil, and worm compost. They added a small amount of lime to disinfect the soil and then mixed all the ingredients together. This soil mixture was used to fill the raised beds.
They planted cilantro, radishes, celery, parsley, lettuce, two kinds of beets, onions, leeks, two kinds of cabbage, tomato, and chipilin. These were all starter plants that the women had requested. They also planted squash outside their raised bed as it needs a lot of room to grow. Each woman received an avocado sapling for their patio. Candelaria reported that the children were involved along with their mothers and are learning about organic gardening along with them.
Candelaria arranged for a workshop in Chumanzana given by a promotor from ADEMI, our partner in Tecpan, that taught them how to make organic insecticide, fertilizar, and fungicide. The women worked in groups learning the steps as they produced each product so they can do it on their own in the future. The children again were involved so they will become future organic gardeners.
In Santa Clara la Laguna, the emphasis so far has been on constructing a demonstation garden in the home of Juana Tuj, our partner there. Candelaria will work with those who wish to replicate the raised bed garden in their own homes.
The women are all working hard to make their garden a success. They are looking forward to having vegetables to add to their diet of mostly tortillas and beans.
With the help of a grant from the Atkinson Fund, the Kateri Fund Promotor, Candalaria Sut has shown the women in Chumanzana, Chichicastenango, Guatemala how to implement the ideas they have been receiving in workshops for about a year. This grant will give the women the tools and capital they need.
The first step was to provide each woman with the tools to prepare and tend her garden. There are pictures attached that show them with their new tools. Having these tools has given them a surge of energy which will animate their work.
Here are some comments from the women.:
Manuela Velasquez Alba is new to the group. She is very pleased with her participation. She said that she was going to take care of each one of her gardens so it would always be green.
Maria Quino Velasquez thanks everyone who has sacrificed to give her the tools and materials to start her garden. It will benefit her and her whole family. She will take care of her garden to always be able to eat fresh vegetables.
Dona Catalina Quino will maintain her garden so that she won't need to buy vegetables in the market and can save money.
Sebastiana Och Morales is already benefiting from her garden as she has cilantro growing and doesn't need to buy it. She will grow vegetables always in her garden and guard it so the chickens don't eat them.
On September 26th, the wmone built the first raised bed with Dona Isabela Morales. The plan is to build two each week. The women are working with renewed energy as they see the possibilities ahead!
The Women of Chmanzana have found a unique way to use empty plastic soda bottles and bags. ADEMI, the Kateri Tekakwitha Funds non- profit partner, taught the women how to to build raised bed gardens.stuffing the empty plastic soda bottles with the plastic bags We have bulit a demonstration garden and now are following up with support for the other women as they construct their own gardens. We plan to provide seeds and starter plants along with enriched soil to fill the gardens to provide a firm beginning for each garden. We will continue to accompany the women on a weekly basis with advice and encouragement. When the women in Chumanzana have gotten a good start with their gardens, we will offer the same project to the women in Santa Clara
We have been providing workshops which encourage the women in Chumanzana and in Santa Clara la Laguna to use the vegetables they grow in new ways. Thanks to your donations, we have been able to provide these workshops to the seven women in Chumanzana and the twelve women in Santa Clara la Laguna that are associated with the Fund. To continue to provide the support these women need, we will need to fully fund this project by July 31, 2013. Please let your friends know of this need or make a donation yourself. Fourteen $10 recurring donations would fully fund the project for a year.
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