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Sep 27, 2019

A New Toolbox for Moms

Two mothers participate in the workshop
Two mothers participate in the workshop

On Tuesday morning, Rebeca Sosof unlocked the Pueblo a Pueblo office early to set up for a Maternal Child Health project workshop. The participating moms arrived soon after; some of them held hands with little ones old enough to wobble in on their own feet, while others carried their babies wrapped up in blankets, snoozing away.

The women were gathering to learn about child development—one of the topics Rebeca and the Maternal Child Health team believe is vital to raising healthy kids. “I tell participants, ‘During the first five years of life, your child’s development is in your hands,’” Rebeca says. “‘You can do so much for your child just by engaging with them, playing with them.’” Mothers who have had an introduction to the topic are more likely to detect developmental abnormalities in their children, Rebeca adds, which can make a life-changing difference for kids who need specialized medical or therapeutic interventions.

During the workshop, Rebeca taught participants about four different areas of development and led them through a series of corresponding exercises. She started by discussing gross motor development and leading the mothers in a game of hopscotch—a great way for kids to gain the strength and coordination they need to perform everyday actions like walking, running, and sitting upright. After addressing fine motor skills and emotional development, Rebeca finished the workshop with a memory game to model positive cognitive development.

The morning was full of games and physical activities, with lots of laughter shared between the women in attendance. The tone of the workshop was intentional, says Rebeca. “When I visit these women at their homes, they tell me about the problems they face every day—problems with husbands and family members, health problems, money problems,” she says. “Many of them have told me that these workshops are like a refuge for them, so I try to make them fun and relaxing.”

But Rebeca is also glad to see participants inspired to apply what they’ve learned—like Elena, who told her after Tuesday’s session, “I'm definitely going to try these exercises with my little one—I just wish I had done more of them with my older children when they were younger!” We incorporate education across the majority of our projects because we believe in the power of moms like Elena to build healthier families and communities using what they learn. Thank you for believing in the Maternal Child Health project. Your support fuels our success!

Rebeca addresses participants
Rebeca addresses participants
Participants wait in line for an activity
Participants wait in line for an activity
Jumping through a mini-obstacle course
Jumping through a mini-obstacle course

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Sep 27, 2019

Next Stop: Save the Native Bees

The new apiary built for native stingless bees
The new apiary built for native stingless bees

This month, our partners in San Pablo La Laguna will celebrate one year together as a beekeeping team. Over the past year, they've worked hard to find their rhythm and establish some efficient group practices. In recent weeks, the beekeepers have taken on a new challenge: starting a second apiary for native stingless bees.

The group’s main apiary consists of 22 hives of European honey bees. This variety is widely used throughout the world because they produce large amounts of sweet honey. However, the San Pablo team is interested in more than just producing honey—they want to help preserve the biodiversity of their lakeside home, especially its native pollinators.

Last month, the group set up ten new hives with the assistance of Pueblo a Pueblo’s Senior Beekeeping Technician Genaro Simalaj. Their new apiary is home to five distinct varieties of native stingless bees. The group plans to transition into a two-part model: in addition to harvesting, bottling, and selling honey from their apiaries, they will operate as a beekeeping training center, offering technical instruction in beekeeping techniques and selling starter materials.

Since the group formed, they have been invested in sharing what they learn so that the benefits of the project can be multiplied. We’re proud to be working alongside beekeepers who are so dedicated to their families, their community, and their natural environment. Thank you for your investment in beekeeping for coffee farmers—your support fuels our San Pablo partners’ success!

A team-building exercise at a recent training
A team-building exercise at a recent training
A bee hard at work in the group
A bee hard at work in the group's main apiary

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Sep 25, 2019

Nutrition in the Garden

Sandy teaches in the organic school garden
Sandy teaches in the organic school garden

When we teach nutrition, it’s not always in the kitchen. Last week, Sandy visited Patzilin Abaj Primary School to lead a nutrition workshop for teachers—in the school’s organic garden!

“Healthy cooking is just one facet of nutrition,” says Sandy. “We also need to know where our food comes from in order to understand how to prepare and eat healthy food.” The Patzilin Abaj school garden—established by local teens through Pueblo a Pueblo’s Youth Leadership project—is a valuable teaching tool that gives students hands-on experience with the process of growing organic vegetables from seed to harvest.

Sandy also hopes to encourage teachers to use the garden as an outdoor classroom. “Being outdoors gets students excited to learn,” she says, “so teachers have a lot to gain from incorporating the garden into their lesson plans no matter what subject they teach.”

During the workshop, Sandy led a game to model a fun way teachers can engage students in nutrition education. She assigned each teacher an element of the food system to wear on their forehead and challenged them to guess their “identity” by asking their fellow teachers questions. Some, like tomatoes and spinach, were easier to guess. But others forced the teachers to think outside the box. “Yes,” said Sandy as she laughed along with the others, “water and soil are important parts of our food system, too!” She also modeled an activity based on the "olla familiar": the Guatemalan equivalent of the food pyramid.

This kind of nutrition education addresses all three of Pueblo a Pueblo’s focus areas—health, education, and food security—which are deeply intertwined in the lives of our project partners. We seek not only to spread the word about eating healthy food but also to teach families how to grow that food in their own backyard. Thank you for believing in the power of education to build healthier communities! Your support fuels our success.

Teachers participate in a game
Teachers participate in a game
"Parts of our food system" game
"Parts of our food system" game
The "olla familiar" activity
The "olla familiar" activity

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