Micaela is one of the new members to the Organic Gardening Project in Chumanzana, Chichicastenango, Quiche, Guatemala. She is 41 years old and married with ten children. They range from 22 to 4 years old. Her family was not able to give her the opportunity to attend school, but she still is eager to learn new things. She asked to join the group because she saw how the women in the group were benefiting from their membership. Her home is an hour and a half walk from the house where the meetings are held, but the distance is not important. She wants to learn how to grow her own food in her own garden. It will be a savings for her and will allow her to provide fresh vegetables for her family without making the two hour trip by bus daily to buy them. Her children are also learning to help her plant and take care of the garden. The whole family is benefiting from her participation in the group.
Candelaria Sut, the project manager, has been working with the experienced gardeners in the group to share what they have learned. They have planned workshops on natural fertilizer, insecticides, and other gardening techniques.
She took Micaela and her fellow gardeners to visit a center that teaches techniques for a healthy life style. The director of the center demonstrated the uses of different plants, how to grow them, and how to preserve them by drying. They were able to share this new knowledage with the women who were unable to go on the trip.
The project is rolling along with all of the women actively involved. The group is organized with its own officers that lead the group as they make decisions concerning the project. Candelaria is there to facilitate the process and seek out ways to implement the projects they suggest.
We still have $935 to go before our project is fully funded. Micaela, the other three new women to the project, and the original group have benefited from the donations you have already made. There are more people waiting. September 16th is the next Matching Day. The 15th is Guatemalan Independence Day. Donate to celebrate and have your donation matched! Tell your friends as well. Remember Sept. 16th is the day to get Matching Funds for your donation!
In May, Mothers' Day is celebrated all over the world. Guatemala is no exception. Every school has a day of activities to honor the mothers of its students.
The Kateri Tekakwitha Fund decided to join in the festivities. The young women were invited to bring their mothers to our monthly meeting. Florestina and Norma, recited a poem dedicated to the mothers. Aura Leticia, Clara, and Glenda sang a song, Marilena led a musical game. Emilsa, the program leader, led a game that tested the mothers to see if they could identify their daughters blindfolded. This led to lots of laughter!
At the end the young women gave their mothers a gift accompanied by words of gratitude. Mayra who is typical of the students in the program, expressed the feelings of many. She told her mother that she represents love and a refuge to her She is her best friend with whom she shares her sadness, problems, and happiness. She is someone who has given her love, affection, and help, since the nine months she carried her in her womb until now. She thanked her for all she has been to her. Returning to school at 24 years old to study in junior high school without her father's support of her wish to get an education, the support of her mother is doubly important to her.
After the activities, they all shared a piece of cake and orange juice. It was a lot of fun!
The fifteen young women in the program this year are all studying hard to get good grades and pass into the next grade. The school year has just four more months to go. School ends in October. Five of the young women will graduate this year. Juana Cun, the head of our intern program, has conducted a workshop with them to help them get ready to look for work. They will leave the program ready for their next step-finding a job!
The women in Chumanzana have been so successful that other women in the community are pressing them to join. They recently integrated four in women, Marta, Tomasa, Josefa and the team of Micaela and her daughter, Rosa into the project. The women pay a small membership fee, but it is not enough to buy the initial materials needed to get their raised bed gardens started. The cost of Marta's starter kit is paid for with donations to a microproject designated for her here on our Global Giving page. The funding for the other three will come from on-going donations to this project.
The women have received their tools and materials and have built their raised bed and are ready to plant. They also had a workshop where they planted seed trays to grow seedlings to transplant to their gardens when they are ready. We have photos of their work which I think demonstrate their eagerness to learn, so I am going to let them speak for themselves through these photos. If you wish to support these women as they begin this new adventure, you can do it with a donation to our project. Information on how to donate is attached to this report. Tell your friends and family as well. These women are willing to work hard, they just need a little capital to get started.