Status of our Siretquiche Humanitarian Project
This report is to let you know of the status of our Guatemala projects. After spending over two years there, we started to realize that we are not as young as we used to be, and decided it was time we stay closer to home. We had a wonderful two years and are leaving our programs in the hands of our son Doug and his wife Kim, and we could not be more pleased. They are taking our programs to a much higher level, and we feel they are on the verge of impacting thousands of lives there. They are in hopes of having their program in over one hundred villages within the next two years. They go into a village and allow the villagers to select goals that will improve their lives (with a little guidance). And they also select a reward if they achieve the goal. This causes a lot of excitement and real change. Doug and Kim have also built a nine-room volunteer dorm that will provide good beds, air conditioning and other amenities that will ensure a pleasant stay for volunteers. They are in it for the long haul. They have five employees, however the essential village leadership is volunteer. This is their new website. enLevo means to “liftup” in Latin.
While we were helping to produce a Book of Mormon pageant in Senahu, a town that is about three hours south of Cahabon, we became aware of (1) a unique village, Seritquiche, that has the potential of making some significant strides in pulling themselves out of extreme poverty, and (2) a young man (see picture below) who is extremely talented in assisting these people. In the two years in Guatemala, we were not aware of anyone that could fluently speck Q’eqchi, Spanish and English. This man can. In Cahabon we needed two interpreters, one that would translate from English to Spanish and another that would translate from Spanish to Q’eqchi. We often wondered what they were actually told. Actually, there was no one in Cahabon that could speak fluent English, so we had to bring in someone from Coban to be our interpreter. The young man in Senahu, Rene, is an energetic young man whose wife just had their first child. He is on the Stake High Council and is also the stake’s Young Men President. He graduated from college in computer science and was raised on a farm. He is always on the move and has an amazing sense of doing the right thing. One other thing that has made this possible is the new technology of Zoom. With his phone he can show me what’s going on in the field and we can have conversations with the farmers on a regular basis.
Why is this village, Seritquiche,so different? During our first week in Senahu we had come to a point in our Book of Mormon pageant preparations when we realized it may not be possible to put it on (long story). After a heartfelt discussion with the stake president, he suggested that we find a way to bring in some young men from a village (Siretquiche) that was about twenty miles away. These young men came from impoverished farms and did not have the time or the money to come into Senahu; however, the stake president said he would pay their transportation, and give them dinner. When they arrived, they were the miracle that made the pageant possible!
Five of these young men were desirous of going on a mission, but did not have the financial resources to pay for the basics: passport, clothes, shots, scriptures, etc. which led to a fund-raising project, and as we speak, they are now on missions in five different countries. And there are more youth in the wings; however, it is our hope that, with our help, they can pay for it by themselves in the future.
The programs that we introduced at Seritquiche are described below:
It is anticipated that within two years each farm family will be able to do the following:
· The family will have a bank account, with enough money to fund the next crop.
· The family will be in a position to take care of their missionary’s initial costs.
· The family will be able to provide their children with a limited amount of education funds.
· The family will be consuming more nutritious fruits and vegetables.
· Their fields will be receiving high levels of organic matter through continuous cropping systems and high production levels of plant material. We call this “Infield Composting”. This will greatly reduce their dependence on fertilizer in the long run.
· The fields will be basically free of weeds. This will increase crop yields and reduce labor and herbicide requirements.
· The farmers will likely be involved in a marketing association that will improve the prices of their farm commodities and hopefully bring outside money into their communities.
· Their farming community will continue to support demonstration and experimental plots.
In addition to the anticipated benefits at Seritquiche, we are hopeful that these results will inspire others to adopt these soil building technologies and restore the depleted soils that are prevalent around the world – the principal cause of the horrific amounts of hunger and starvation that is rampant around the world.
This is a picture of some of the farmers. This picture was taken in the local Seritquiche Branch Chapel.
This is one of the many fields that we are involved in. We had a severe drought in June; however, most of the fields are coming out of it.
This is the field after it received an application of fertilizer.
The next picture is of a lady that displays some vegetable starts that are about ready for planting.
The next pictures shows how one of the women is taking care of her transplanted vegetables. These women are excited about the opportunity to improve the nutrition of their meals and to the have the opportunity to sell their produce at the market.
We are seeing strong demand from other farmers in the village and from other villages. We are currently limited due to the lack of funding.
In addition to our scheduled Zoom meetings, mainly in the field, we have monthly 30-minute meetings with most of the farmers, usually in one of their homes or sometimes at church.
The Seritquiche project is a new and exciting project, and we would like to share it with you in the following ways:
· Periodically, share our Activity Report
· Participate in our Zoom meetings.
· Participate in an actual tour of Seritquiche and other special places.
· Help us in our fund-raising efforts.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or text us at 801-440-8230
For more information go to welcomehand.org