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Feb 18, 2020

New Tools for a Changing World

Students use the RACHEL program on a tablet
Students use the RACHEL program on a tablet

Tucked away in small communities on Guatemala's Lake Atitlán, many of our partner schools lack access to one of the world’s most powerful teaching tools: the internet. We’re committed to seeing students succeed despite the challenges of rural life.

How do we do it? With RACHEL. This educational tool allows for knowledge-sharing without the use of the internet. We offer RACHEL through a collaboration with Mundo Posible to give students the chance to learn beyond the walls of their classrooms.

How does it work? Each library has a router that allows students to log into RACHEL from an electronic tablet. Students can then engage with an extensive collection of educational games, stories, and videos. All materials come pre-selected based on students’ age and reading levels. RACHEL can triple or even quadruple the resources Pueblo a Pueblo is able to donate to any given school.

It’s no secret that in today’s world, most public and private institutions depend heavily on computers and other digital technologies. As a result, many jobs—even in rural Guatemala—require technological literacy. We seek to prepare students for personal and professional success, and RACHEL is a helpful way to build the skills they need to achieve this.

RACHEL helps schools address the challenges of rural life. The program also gives students from rural communities access to the life-long benefits of technological literacy. Your donations to this project help us bring RACHEL to schools all around Lake Atitlán. Thank you for supporting students as they learn to read, write, communicate, and self-advocate in an ever-changing world.

Librarian Ms. Clara helps students use the program
Librarian Ms. Clara helps students use the program
Student literacy ambassadors (in vests) use RACHEL
Student literacy ambassadors (in vests) use RACHEL

Links:

Dec 23, 2019

Lentils, Fritters, and Mindful Eating at La Cumbre Primary School

During Sandy’s last visit to La Cumbre Primary School, there was a lot to see. First, she stopped by the school library, established by Pueblo a Pueblo’s Pathways to Literacy project in 2015. Then, she walked through the organic school garden, also built with Pueblo a Pueblo’s support back in 2011.

Outside the garden, she greeted Principal Ricardo Sitan and asked about his plans for the corn, lettuce, and greens she saw growing there. “Same as always,” he said. “The harvest goes right into the kitchen to become part of the students’ lunch.”

Next, Sandy headed straight for that same kitchen. As she unpacked her ingredients, pairs of mothers and students began to arrive for their last healthy cooking class of the year. Sandy began the session by introducing the day’s topic: mindful eating.

“It’s easy to overeat, or eat the wrong foods, when we aren’t paying attention,” she said. Sandy then shared some tips with the group. “It’s best to eat more, smaller meals,” she explained. Her recommendation? Eat three meals a day plus a late-morning snack.

Sandy also cautioned against distractions at the dinner table. “Many of us have phones, computers, a TV in the kitchen,” she said. “Try to put them aside while you’re eating.” It's important to pay attention to when our bodies are hungry, satisfied, or overfull.

Sandy then introduced participants to the day’s key ingredients: broccoli and lentils. “Broccoli is a common food here, but most people just serve it in eggs,” Sandy explains. “Today we’ll be trying a new way of preparing it.”

Lentils are less common, Sandy said, but they are an affordable and fast-cooking alternative to black beans and full of protein and fiber. She passed around a bag of dry lentils so the group could get familiar with the new food.

Next, everyone set to work making a delicious meal of broccoli fritters and lentil salad under Sandy’s instruction. Once the food was ready, the mothers transferred it into their own pots and Tupperware containers to bring home to their families for lunch.

Over 500 family members enjoyed these healthy meals in 2019. Sandy teaches students and mothers how to cook and eat healthier. Then they share their knowledge at home, multiplying the impact of Sandy's trainings. Thank you for believing in the importance of nutrition to a healthy life. Your support makes this project possible!

Sandy presents on the topic of mindful eating
Sandy presents on the topic of mindful eating
Participants listen to Sandy's presentation
Participants listen to Sandy's presentation
Checking out the lentils
Checking out the lentils
Chopping veggies for the lentil salad
Chopping veggies for the lentil salad
Sandy serves the meal
Sandy serves the meal

Links:

Dec 17, 2019

Big Plans for 2020

Bees hard at work in one of the group's apiaries
Bees hard at work in one of the group's apiaries

What’s new?

Our beekeeping partners in San Pablo La Laguna have had a busy year. They've been hard at work dividing hives, harvesting honey, and building business connections. These beekeepers now manage over 30 hives across two apiaries, and they harvested over 500 pounds of honey in their first year of production! We are proud of all they have accomplished so far.

The group recently wrapped up their project training sessions for the year. This fall, they attended a series of workshops about native stingless beekeeping and built their secondary apiary. In December, they wrapped up a training unit on microbusiness administration, which they are already putting to good use!

The beekeepers have made plans for two new business initiatives. These new initiatives will not only generate income for the group but will also share the benefits of the project with others in their community. 

First, the group will begin selling hives to other groups of aspiring beekeepers.  They plan to divide ten of the hives in their main apiary next week and sell half of the resulting number in early 2020. The group has also begun to lead their own workshops on keeping native stingless bees. They even have the perfect classroom: their own secondary apiary!

More beekeepers on Lake Atitlán means more bees—a win for all residents who rely on agriculture to make a living. And more native bees means the preservation of this region’s indigenous pollinators. Our partners in San Pablo are proud to intervene on behalf of the environment. This passion is reflected in their name, Batz’ib’al Juyu’, which evokes their role as stewards of biodiversity in the local Mayan language.

 

What’s next?

The group will continue their trainings with Genaro in the new year. This time around, the trainings will focus on reinforcing what the group has learned about beekeeping and business. Genaro will continue to conduct technical visits each month to offer support and problem-solve as needed.

In the meantime, the group—and their bees—will enjoy the colors of a winter bloom in the fields and forests around their apiaries. We can’t wait to see all that our San Pablo partners will do in 2020! Thank you believing in the power of sustainable livelihoods to change lives. Your support fuels our partners’ success!

Group members at a recent meeting
Group members at a recent meeting
Group members with the last delivery of materials
Group members with the last delivery of materials
The native stingless bee apiary amid winter blooms
The native stingless bee apiary amid winter blooms
Beautiful winter blooms at the apiary
Beautiful winter blooms at the apiary

Links:

 
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