Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Our mission is to improving the health, education and food security of families in Indigenous and rural communities in Latin America. We seek to strengthen vulnerable families by serving women and children, with an emphasis on Indigenous peoples in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala and other rural, coffee-growing communities in Latin America through integrated, school-based health & education programs. Pueblo a Pueblo was founded on the belief that meaningful and sustainable change requires the commitment and active involvement of the individual, community or organization that will benefit from that change. Pueblo a Pueblo strives to deepen values such as personal responsibility, se...
May 4, 2016

Home Visits Make the Difference

Rebeca conducting a home visit with Dolores
Rebeca conducting a home visit with Dolores

Home visits are an integral part of our Maternal Child Health (MCH) project because they let us follow up with the health and well-being of sponsored mothers and children. Project staff conduct home visits nearly every week of the year, for various reasons: to carry out regular evaluations, to reinforce the skills the mothers learned in trainings and to make sure they continue to attend trainings, and to check on the health and well-being of the mothers and their children.

Most recently, project staff have been conducting visits to follow up with the 10 children who visited our partner clinic, Rxiin Tnamet (re-sheen tin-a-met), in the past month to make sure they are taking their medicine properly and their health is improving.

Maternal Child Health Program Assistant, Rebeca, also explained that “because many mothers cannot read or write, it is important to do the follow up visit. Even though they they understand the doctor’s instructions at the clinic, sometimes they forget or misunderstand once they get home.”

If a child is still sick during this first follow-up visit, MCH project staff will give recommendations to the mother and conduct a second follow up visit to check on the health of the child.

This month, our communications team accompanied Rebeca to a second follow-up visit with Dolores, a 17-year-old single mother and her one-year-old son, Josue. Dolores lives in Tzanchaj, a rural community on the outskirts of Santiago Atitlan, with her mother, father, and sister. She supports herself by selling her beadwork. The family has struggled to cover the costs of medical care in the past.

When Josue became sick in January, Dolores was able to bring him to Clínica Rxiin Tnamet because of the support from Pueblo a Pueblo. At the clinic, the doctors diagnosed him with pharyngitis and gave him medicine to treat the infection. However, Dolores noticed that Josue had very little appetite because of his illness and was not eating enough. When she returned to the Rxiin Tnamet in March, the doctors diagnosed Josue with anorexia and gave him vitamins to stimulate his appetite.

At the first follow-up visit with Dolores, Rebeca saw that Josue was still struggling to eat enough food despite some small improvement. She decided to come back for a second follow-up later in the month. Last week she went back for the second visit and was happy to see that Josué was doing better. She said, “He is eating more foods besides just breastmilk, and little by little he is recuperating.” Josue has finished his medicine, but the family has continued to give him natural medicine to try to encourage his appetite more and soothe his stomach.

Rebeca used this second home visit as an opportunity to not only check on Josue’s health, but to give the family recommendations and encourage them to continue practicing the lessons they learned at trainings in their home. She will continue to follow up with Dolores and other sponsored mothers through more home visits in the coming weeks, making a big difference in the lives of these families.

Rebeca with Dolores and Josue
Rebeca with Dolores and Josue
Dolores
Dolores' mother speaks with Rebeca
Apr 21, 2016

New Connections, New Possibilities

San Juan Mirador students with Trailside t-shirts
San Juan Mirador students with Trailside t-shirts

Soon, we will begin construction on WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) facilities at San Juan Mirador School. This new partnership is particularly exciting because San Juan Mirador has some special supporters: the students at Trailside Middle School in Ashburn, VA.

San Juan Mirador School is located in a small, Kaqchikel-speaking community outside of San Lucas Toliman. There are currently 222 students from preschool to 6th grade, and most of the students’ parents work on the large coffee plantations nearby. The students love school -- but “the bathrooms are in bad shape, and the kids are really at risk to get sick,” explained Tomas, our WASH in Schools Project Coordinator.

Trailside Middle School is helping us meet the challenge. Through a collaboration with H2O For Life, Trailside students have been raising money and awareness within their communities to support San Juan Mirador’s new WASH construction. Trailside has hosted advocacy and fundraising events at their school, and have even reached out to the students at San Juan Mirador. Students learning Spanish have written letters introducing themselves to the students in San Juan Mirador, and recently, the school sent over 100 Trailside t-shirts.

When WASH Project Coordinator Tomas visited the school recently, he delivered the letters and t-shirts to the 6th grade class. Students could see photos of the students at Trailside, and each student received a t-shirt and a letter. They have now written letters in response, sharing their everyday lives and their interests with the Trailside students.

Alice, an 8th grade teacher at Trailside Middle School described how the students  “are really excited. [They] loved being able to see the direct connection made. Our students were excited to see how excited San Juan Mirador students were.”

The first phase of the WASH in Schools Project is now underway at San Juan Mirador. The school has chosen its six student WASH ambassadors, who will help to make sure their peers practice proper hygiene and that the bathrooms are fully stocked with soap and toilet paper. They have also formed a community support group, which includes the principal, the teacher in charge of WASH, the student ambassadors, and two parents.

This past month, the community support group participated in the first WASH training at the school, where they learned proper hand-washing and teeth-brushing techniques, and more WASH basics. There is another training coming up before construction begins in May!

The entire 6th grade class
The entire 6th grade class
Checking out photos from Trailside Middle School
Checking out photos from Trailside Middle School
First training at San Juan Mirador!
First training at San Juan Mirador!
The school principal participating in 1st training
The school principal participating in 1st training
Apr 8, 2016

Exciting New Garden Initatives

Youth participating in a training at our office
Youth participating in a training at our office

Our School Nutrition and Organic School Gardens projects have had an exciting few months since the school year began in January. Garden classes for students began in February, teachers have received their first of three trainings this year, and over 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables have been planted.

In the coming months, Pueblo a Pueblo will begin working with four new schools to develop and implement our School Nutrition Project, and we will start kitchen improvements in several schools. But more on that to come!

To improve the efficiency of the methods being used in our partner school organic gardens, we have been testing four new techniques in our demonstration garden in Panabaj. Project Manager Ana Cabrera explained, “Our goal is to help communities deal with key issues they are facing: limited water availability, lack of land and space, and poor soil quality.”

The techniques we are testing include:

  • Square foot gardening: Plant veggies as close as possible, diving your bed into 1 x1 foot squares with one type of veggie in each, instead of using long garden beds. You get more produce in less space, with less construction, less soil, and less work (weeding) and water use.
  • Keyhole gardening: A circular bed with a hole in the middle filled with kitchen scraps that become compost/fertilizer for the garden bed. You water in the center of the garden, and as you water the soil it becomes fertilized. You use less water as it slowly travels to the outside areas of the garden bed.
  • Tower gardens: Maximizes production in a small space, because you grow vertically and not horizontally.

We are also expanding our youth leadership programs in the gardens. Groups of youth volunteers have already formed in three communities (Nueva Vida, Guineales, and Xojolya), and we are hoping to establish two new youth groups in nearby communities.

Involving young people in the maintenance of school and community gardens is hugely important for garden success because “we provide the youth with new knowledge and skill sets so they can expand their options [for the future]. Also, it provides the garden with extra support and increases the involvement of the wider community, not just the teachers and kids,” explained Ana.

From new school partnerships and kitchen improvement, to new gardening techniques and youth involvement -- we are excited about the new school year. We can’t wait to share more successes with you in the coming months!

One of our youth leadership groups in their garden
One of our youth leadership groups in their garden
Students in a garden class in San Andres
Students in a garden class in San Andres
Students with some of their harvest in Nueva Vida
Students with some of their harvest in Nueva Vida
 
   

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