The 2014 Organic Gardening project has been evaluated. From the women's point of view the project has provided many benefits. They now each have their own garden in their houses to provide daily vegetables for the family table. They are also able to sell the surplus, which brings some extra income for the family. In Chumanzana, two other women saw the value of the project and asked to join. Candelaria is in the process of integrating them into the group. The women shared that they are saving time because they do not have to travel the long distance to the city on market day to get their vegetables.
Two repsentative from Chumanzana visited a organic gardening center to find out about different kinds of gardens and tecniques for gardening organically. They shared what they have learned with other women when they returned. One of the things that they learned about was to grow seedlings in trays and boxes. They were able to put transplant into their garden.
The women both in Chumanzana and Santa Clara la Laguna are eager to expand their project to include more women. Although the women in Santa Clara have been introduced to the raised bed gardening tecnique, funds are not yet available to help them with the seed money they need to get started.
We are participating in the Global Giving matching day on March 18, 2015. We have set a goal of $3000 to expand the project to Santa Clara and continue supporting the women in Chumanzana. If you can make a donation on this day, it will be matched at 30%. Spread the word to your friends and family to help us reach our goal.
I have just returned from Guatemala after a month of working with the staff and women-young and old. It was an inspiration that made clear the importance of your on-going support. It gives me added passion for our annual October pledge campaign to fund our projects for 2014-15 fiscal year. All of the accomplishments that I witnessed were possible because of your support.
The highlight was my visit to Chumanzana where the organic gardening project is going strong. Candelaria Sut, who is in charge of women's development, has been working with the women there for three years. It was easy to see the results of her work. All of the women are now growing vegetables in small plots in their patios or near their homes. I videotaped interviews with the women and will attach the video so that they can tell you about their project themselves and what it has added to their lives. They credit the Kateri Fund for the help they receive, but I keep reminding them that it is really your donations that make our work possible.
Click on the video link Chumanzana Women Talk and see what they have to say and then consider another donation so that we can continue the project for another year and expand it to another village!
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.
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