Working the Soil
We thank you so much again for your support of this microproject to produce gardens for widows and elders in the area of Chajul, Guatemala. If you are not familiar with this part of the world, you can learn more about its history and get initial hints as to why there are so many widows, starting at this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chajul.
There have been two recent developments in this project which is still in early stages of execution. First, our partners in Chajul, the organization ASO-Ixil, determined that many of the widows simply don’t have adequate land at home for gardening, or if they do, the soil has never been improved and the work to do so would be excessive. A creative solution was found: they identified four farmers who will host gardens for nearby widows on their land, 5 widows each. This will provide a land base for those who do not have it.
In this country we think of most widows as quite elderly, but in rural Guatemala, where so many people are lost at a young age, there is much more age diversity. The identified widows who will benefit from your support range in age from 33 to 84.
Second, ASO-Ixil is now comparing vegetable seed prices from sources around their region of Guatemala, and possibly offering seed in the local hardware store. This is an innovative strategy that uses local commerce as a partner in providing aid, rather than setting up a more "handout" type system of just giving people seeds.
Widows supported by the program would receive vouchers to subsidize the cost at the hardware store. After receipt of the voucher, your donations will reimburse the store owner for the seed cost.
At this point there are 50 widow households identified and more on a waiting list to receive this gardening support. All are excited for this project to develop. While we are only required to post this one “final report” on this smaller project, we will be sure to post another once harvests begin, so you can see the fruits of your gift emerging from the soil.
Again: Thank you so much for your support! You are making a difference in a special community where needs are real and the motivation to improve lives is activated and powerful.
Graphic from ASO-Ixil Facebook Page