Sunlight dapples through the trees leaving variegated shadows on the landscape. The sun balances on the tips of the western mountains, ready to slip slowly behind them into slumber.
Presidente (as we called him) stands at the gate to their adobe tienda, with his black banded straw hat perched on his head. Hermana Paulina stands next to him in her colorful huipil and corte. Both of them smile and wave as we leave the cornfield and descend the steep, mile-long road that leads to the highway.
Although tired and worn from a long day of manual labor in the Guatemalan highlands, we walk with a slight spring in our step, high on the feeling that only comes from doing good in the world. [message type="custom" width="100%" start_color="#FFFFFF" end_color="#FBF8FF" border ="non" color=""]Do you 'Like' Discover Share Inspire? [/message]
Discussing the quality of the good being accomplished, we recognize that it's making a life-altering, generational difference -- not just giving a man a fish, but teaching him how to fish. We’re teaching a new way of living.
That’s what's awesome about this project --- we're not just giving clothes, or food or money -- this project is living and growing and expanding. It’s alive. They're learning new life skills that will perpetuate through generations. It will be difficult for them sometimes --- they’ll be ridiculed by their neighbors and frightened that it will fail --- normal feelings that come when pursuing a dream.
But it is a dream of theirs --- one they never believed would come true. And thanks to your support, that dream is now becoming reality.
This is what we started with:
A cornfield and some building materials.
Most Guatemalans, if they have a piece of land, will grow corn. It's not even corn like you think of -- sweet, delicious corn-on-the-cob -- it's feed corn, that they use to make into corn tortillas, the staple of the Guatemalan diet (in fact, it's the only thing that some locals eat.)
In fact, according to UNICEF, half of the country's children suffer from chronic malnutrition, resulting in stunted growth and lowered IQ scores -- a direct result of growing lots of corn and subsisting on tortillas.
"Guatemala has the highest percentage of chronically malnourished girls and boys in Latin America, and the fourth highest in the world."
Since we began this project, we have:
- Built a Chicken Coop
- Bought Tilapia and Built Worm Boxes
- Built a Pig Pen and Nesting Boxes (and Put Up Fencing)
- Perpetual Self Reliance Fund -- Farm Update (including happy chickens!)
- Bought a Pig (and Tried to Get Her Pregnant)
Last time I took a visit up to the 'farm' (which was last Thursday), this is what I saw (below.) It may not look like much, but a lot of work has been accomplished -- all the corn has been cleared, a fence is enclosing and dividing the property (animals from vegetables), and there's a row of garden boxes on the other side there that you can barely see.
Now if I turn to the left you can see a 'chicken wire' fence that keeps the chickens in their area, and the wooden chicken coop (behind that scraggly bush). The big cement building is the house the neighbor is building, and is on the other side of the fence we put in.
Here they are in front of the chicken coop. They are soooo proud, and have been working very hard every day on their project. (Watch the video to see how proud he is and how hard he's been working.)
And they have chickens! Thanks to generous donors, they have 53 laying hens (seen here) and about 50 meat chickens. The laying hens are young, but some of them have already started laying, and they're up to about 12 eggs a day!! In the next couple of weeks, they'll easily be collecting 40 eggs a day. Aren't they just happy little chickens?
Greg and I got to purchase the first two cartons of farm fresh eggs!
And they have a turkey and a couple of roosters.
Don't forget the pigs!! They have two (thanks to our amazing donors.) Thanks so much!! We'll be taking the big one to get picared (impregnated) in a couple of weeks (we already tried once, but it was a fail because of the GIGANTIC boar that almost squashed her... check out photos and video of that unique experience.)
The garden boxes are ready to be planted. All in all, we found a happy little farm.
Walking around, hearing the chickens cluck, and the pigs snort and watching them eat and the whole system working in harmony, it kind of makes you want to start your own little farm, doesn't it?
You can read more about this project here:
- Perpetual Self Reliance Fund — Project details
- Building a Chicken Coop
- Getting Tilapia and Building Worm Boxes
- Building a Pig Pen and Nesting Boxes (and Putting Up Fencing)
- Perpetual Self Reliance Fund — Farm Update (including happy chickens!)
A special thanks to all of our very generous donors! We couldn't do this without you:
- Joy Clein
- Vicki Rowe
- Danielle Ward
- Amber Polach
- Cora’s Natural
- Chris Kovalcik
- Golden Fuel Systems
- Utah Natural Meat
- Cathy Roberts
- Gavin DeTemple
- Catherine Forest
- Alise Lybbert
- Diana King
- Adam Canton
- Carol Kaatz
- Melanie Murrish
- JC Commodore
- Justin Mussler
- Wendell Jones
- Matthew Moquin
- Ashkan Bahin-Aein
- Katie Bartolemei
- Darce Montierth
- Mary Pickett
- Roxy Christensen
- Colin Kelly
So where do we go from here?
We have a great start on this project. From here, the plan is to keep adding meat chickens (ideally each week), get the bigger pig pregnant, build a small greenhouse for starting seeds, and plant all the garden boxes.
For those of you who are interested, we do need some more donations. We need to buy seeds and starts, pay for a breeding fee, and buy food for the chickens and pigs until he reaches profitability (he doesn't have much other work right now, so it's still a challenge for him to buy feed.)
If you would like to donate toward these remaining needs, just click the button below.
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