Jan 16, 2020

Seed selection for sustainability

Francisco with slow to bolt cilantro
Francisco with slow to bolt cilantro

In November until January the students are  on holidays, so nobody here to nibble around  the garden, but all our veggie beds are full of vegetables. 

Do you know why we’ve been planting so many to harvest in this period?

Because our goal with these veggies, will be to save seeds !

By saving seeds we aims to be more self-sufficient, and also to work with nature by selecting the seeds that could work best in our environment.

Vandana Shiva, philosopher and physicist, explains “[saving seeds] is a convergence of human intelligence and nature’s intelligence.” Humans have been selecting seeds for thousands of years, to choose that would fit best and their needs (productivity, taste, appearance, etc.) and their environment (cliimate, soil, tolerance to pest, disease, drought, floods, etc.). To make it short and a tiny philosophical: “The seed in its essence is all of the past evolution of the Earth, the evolution of human history, and the potential for future evolution. The seed is the embodiment of culture because culture shaped the seed with careful selection—women picked the best, diversified. So from one grass you get 200,000 rices.” (Vandana Shiva).

This is why we are basically waiting for all these perfectly beautiful and ready vegetables, to grow too big, loose their potential taste, make flowers, then produce seeds that we will harvest, dry and keep in our seed bank.

One seed we are very excited about is a slow to bolt cilantro seed. Cilantro is a difficult plant to harvest as it often goes to seed before you can eat it. We are trying this slow to bolt cilantro seed in the Guatemalan highlands to see if it will grow well here. It has been amazing. The cilantro plants have not bolted for several weeks and are so tall. Ironically, we are now waiting for it to go to seed. We are planning on using this plant and it seeds to help generate a cash crop to keep this project sustainable.

January is here and the students are  back to helping, tasting and learning in the garden.

These radish seeds are not quite ready to harvest
These radish seeds are not quite ready to harvest
A mom adding plants to our worm home
A mom adding plants to our worm home
Trying spicy nasturtium flowers
Trying spicy nasturtium flowers
So many seeds from the mustard family
So many seeds from the mustard family
In a few weeks we can collect these bean seeds
In a few weeks we can collect these bean seeds
Jan 15, 2020

Building the leaders of the future

Visiting the mechanic trade school
Visiting the mechanic trade school

January is an extremely busy time at the Aldea Maya Learning Centre in Chuk Muk, Guatemala. It is the start of the new school year. The staff and volunteers need to reconnect with all our students after the 2 month school break, which is so much fun.

We need to update all our student records to make sure they are accurate. This is a very important time as we can see how each of our students and families are doing as we sit down for some one on one time. 

It is also when we work with each high school graduate to find out what they are wanting to study in university, the location of the university and the cost. Many of the students have to write entrance exams and all of this needs to be coordinated as some of the universities are several hours away.  This year we have 23 students in university. This is totally amazing when you think that no one in the village went past grade 6 before Aldea Maya started the middle school in 2012.

And what are our students studying: education, special education, music, physical education, law, accounting, business administration, agriculture, systems engineering,social work, lab technicians, math and physics. We are building the leaders of the future.

This is going to be the first year that Aldea Maya has students in the trades. We are every excited to have one student studying to be a mechanic, and two others studying to be Chef and Pastry Chef. 

We also have to coordinate 44 sponsor students in elementary, middle and high school receiving their supplies. Fourteen of these are new students. With new students we visit their homes. At this time we may give toys to younger siblings or vitamins to breast feeding moms. 

Studying social work in Julisa & Josefa's future
Studying social work in Julisa & Josefa's future
New sponsor family receiving toys
New sponsor family receiving toys
Henry is writing exam to study math & physics
Henry is writing exam to study math & physics
Purchasing school supplies for our music student
Purchasing school supplies for our music student
Collecting data and updating website one on one
Collecting data and updating website one on one
Oct 21, 2019

Education starts early

all 20 students climbed on new car floor mat
all 20 students climbed on new car floor mat

As mentioned in previous report, Aldea Maya, helps every middle school student in Chuk Muk to receive their school supplies and assists with school fees. We also purchase and deliver teaching supplies to the village's preschools, elementary school and middle school.

The children in preschool and primary school do not have any toys at home. To help make education fun and instructive Aldea Maya supplies toys and books that challenge a child's imagination.  We supply building blocks, LEGO, dolls with clothing, cars, items to be sorted, dress up toys., games like chess, puzzles. We also supply sports equipment.

In Chuk Muk we start every year with about 100 students in grade 1 and by grade 6 the number of students has dwindled to under 30. In 2019 the number of students graduating grade 6 is 28 students.

The joy you see on every child's face shows how important these items are. They make school fun and increase the likeliood that a child will stay in school.

Kinder class receiving teaching supplies
Kinder class receiving teaching supplies
Puzzle fun
Puzzle fun
a doll that looks just like me
a doll that looks just like me
How high can I build this before it falls?
How high can I build this before it falls?
Let's build
Let's build
 
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