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...
Jan 7, 2016

Vacation in the Gardens: Learning Through Action

Students enjoying camp!
Students enjoying camp!

October marked the end of the school year here in Guatemala--but that doesn’t mean that the learning stopped! Throughout November, Pueblo a Pueblo hosted a “Vacations in the Garden” course for 3rd through 5th grade students at four of our partner schools in order to keep students engaged and learning during their break from school.

Each day, the students participated in fun, educational activities that focused on different themes related to gardening. They learned about soil, plant types, seeds, biodiversity, the water cycle, and more--while also learning the importance of personal responsibility and teamwork!

In one activity, the children were asked to search for forms of life in their gardens other than plants. By digging a little deeper, they found insects in the soils, butterflies and bees pollinating the plants, and much more! After discovering and understanding the important role of each living thing in the small ecosystems in their own gardens, students were able to experience biodiversity with their own eyes.

The students were also able to conduct experiments on soil types and soil erosion. On one day, they used clear, cut water bottles to see which soils in the gardens absorbed water more quickly and more slowly, allowing them to learn which soils were best for growing different plants.

In order to understand soil erosion, teams of students made volcancitos, or little volcanos, out of dirt. They then covered one with plants and leaves (to represent trees and plant life) and left one without any vegetation, and sprinkled water on both volcancitos. The teams observed that the volcancito without the “trees” on it experienced more runoff and erosion—and were able to see the negative effects of deforestation right in front of them!

The children also learned how to use the food from their school gardens to prepare delicious and nutritious recipes for themselves and their classmates. Some of the recipes included “porcupine” meatballs (made with rice), the traditional Central Guatemalan dish called “iguashte” (a type of vegetable salad with soy protein instead of expensive meat), and spinach. They very much enjoyed learning how to use the foods they have grown—not to mention eating them!

The Vacation in the Gardens Course kept project staff busy throughout the month of November, and ended up being a huge success. Soon, the school year will be starting up again. We look forward to new school year!

Exploring in the gardens
Exploring in the gardens
Seeing the effects of erosion
Seeing the effects of erosion
Ready for cooking class
Ready for cooking class
Learning to make nutritious food
Learning to make nutritious food
Jan 6, 2016

Beekeeping 101: New Trainings are a Success!

One of our beekeepers, suited up
One of our beekeepers, suited up

Our new beekeeping partnership in Huehuetenango has made big strides, and is flourishing! Since we last checked in with you, the group of women has completed three hands-on trainings. After conquering the learning curve, they are progressing quickly and on their way to becoming successful, self-sustaining beekeepers!

The first practical training was in mid-October, when the women helped to construct and install 10 hives in their apiary. Unfortunately, the week after there was a huge rainstorm (an offshoot of Hurricane Patricia) that made travel to Huehuetenango dangerous and meant the next training had to be postponed. Although none of the hives were damaged, we lost two of our queens during this stressful time. However, we were left with 8 healthy hives, and the women remained positive and resilient. Despite the initial hurdles, the trainings were able to continue!

During the second practical training, the beekeepers had their first chance to apply the theories they had learned in earlier sessions. They learned how to open the hives to check their health, how to recognize problems, and what to do in response to different situations. The women were also able to strengthen their theoretical knowledge with more trainings focusing on the beekeeper’s yearly calendar, including seasonal risks, weather to take advantage of, and tasks they should be completing at different times. These were all complemented by visits to the apiaries for practical training.

Three weeks later, in mid-November, Pueblo a Pueblo staff traveled to Huehuetenango for a third training that focused on preparing for harvest season. The beekeepers learned to construct “honey super boxes,” which are affixed on top of the base hive to provide extra space for the growing bee population to collect and store honey. For now, the woman have only installed the super boxes on the three strongest hives. Now that they have been trained in the process, they will install the rest when they see the other hives are ready. They expect to see their first harvest in March!

So far, the trainings have been very successful. Beekeeping Project Manage, Michelle Sims, says the women have been fast, fearless learners:

“They’re really great. They’re not scared at all. That’s sometimes an issue we have to deal with, women being scared to go in and not wanting to get close to the bees. But these women are not scared at all. They’re very confident going in, and the participation from them is great. They’re very excited about it. So it’s great working with them.”

The next training is in January, when the women will review concepts and learn more about maintaining the health of the hives as they prepare for harvest. We’re excited to see the fruits of their labors this spring!

The new beekeepers with Pueblo a Pueblo staff
The new beekeepers with Pueblo a Pueblo staff
Learning to make food for the bees!
Learning to make food for the bees!
Hands on work checking the health of the hives
Hands on work checking the health of the hives
Fearless new beekeepers investigate the hives!
Fearless new beekeepers investigate the hives!
Building honey superboxes
Building honey superboxes
Jan 5, 2016

Working Hard for the Holidays

Pedro receiving his Christmas gift and basket
Pedro receiving his Christmas gift and basket

The end of the year is always a busy time for our Child Education Support Program. Once December hits, sponsors begin to send extra support to provide gifts and Christmas baskets for their sponsored students. This year, 53 sponsored students received gifts and baskets, which meant there was a lot to accomplish in a short time!

Project Manager, Johanny Quieju, told us, “For me, this is the busiest time of the year because we have to accomplish so many things!”

And that’s no understatement. Johanny and other project staff put together all of the 53 Christmas baskets, which included bread, fruit, spices, and other supplies to prepare a Christmas meal. They also went shopping for clothing for the students’ gifts, making sure to get all the right sizes and colors for each student.

After all this hard work, the payoff was absolutely worth it!  Families arrived in the Pueblo a Pueblo office the week before Christmas, excited to receive their Christmas goodies. For many families, these end-of-year gifts made a huge difference, and helped to brighten the holidays.

One 10-year-old student, Pedro, comes from a poor family that is hardly able to pay their rent each month. Up until now, the holiday season has been a sad time for Pedro’s family, as they have never had enough money to prepare a real Christmas meal. This year, however, Pedro joined our Primary Education Scholarships Project, which has relieved a lot of financial stress for his family. Thanks to his scholarship and the Christmas gifts, Pedro and his family were able to enjoy their first traditional Christmas meal this year.

Following this exciting and busy time of year, project staff and students will be able to rest for the holidays. Now that January has begun, the craziness will start all over again as they begin to prepare for the beginning of a new school year!

Johanny and Jemima shopping for gifts
Johanny and Jemima shopping for gifts
Happy family with their holiday gifts
Happy family with their holiday gifts
All of our sponsored students with their gifts!
All of our sponsored students with their gifts!
 
   

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