Inspire Self Reliance..."Just last December, I came home from work, took off my boots and got ready to go to bed because there was literally nothing to eat. Now (only 5 months later), things are so good I sometimes get two plates of food!"

This was the recent report we received from the Presidente regarding how things are going up on his property since we first started The Perpetual Self-Reliance Fund. He was all smiles as he spoke.

Hearing it was sweet as nectar, the reward for doing some good in the world. YOU all played a part in making this happen.

"My son was saying to me," he continued, "This is what you always wanted. This is what you dreamed about, and now it has happened. Bless God."

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"And we have big plans, my son and I. We want to buy more chickens. The neighbors are asking to buy our lettuce and radishes, so we planted more. We sell 40 eggs a day, and have 30 baby chicks we hatched ourselves. One day," he says with a huge smile, "I will have my own pick-up."

For a man who previously made $129 a month, this is a whole new life for him, a new hope, with brand new and exciting possibilities.

Doesn't that just make you feel good inside??!!

In the past year you've helped us change this family's life with:

But why stop there? Why not help more?

There are hundreds and thousands of families just like his was, living on only a few dollars a day, with smoke filled kitchens, unsanitary living conditions, and suffering from malnutrition (Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate in Latin America, and the fourth highest in the world, according to UNICEF.

This desire to help is one of the reasons we've purchased The Homestead (2 acres of beautiful land here in San Jose Chacaya) and have started Mayan Eco Homestead.

Our vision is to take the success we've experienced with these past projects to a larger community. We want to build a place for the local indigenous population to 'Learn and Earn' about permaculture, animal husbandry, composting and other practices that can improve their lives.

Watch this video to learn more of the specifics:

But we need your help to get it going!

make the world a better placeWe've purchased the land, and it has a house that we finished to make liveable.

We already have a few chickens, some rabbits and a pig... but we need and want more.

Our vision is to create a living 'YouTube' video -- a place where we can help the local people 'catch the vision' (our biggest challenge working with Presidente and others).

With Mayan Eco Homestead set up as a 'model' farm, we can hold classes and invite members from the surrounding aldeas (towns) to learn about how to prepare your garden for spring, growing vegetables in small spaces; composting toilets; solar hot water; raising laying hens, meat chickens, rabbits and pigs; vermicomposting; growing tilapia (fish); and much more.

PLUS we'll implement a program that will allow them to work on The Homestead (learning hands-on 'how-to') and in exchange they'll receive the materials they need (and training) to start their own home projects. They can earn hens, garden boxes, composting toilets, worms and fish... whatever will best fit their individual interests and needs.

So what do we need? And how can you help?

To get Mayan Eco Homestead started on the right track we need:

  • Materials and supplies for homesteading projects ($12,200):
    • Perimeter Fencing (1200ft of chain link)
    • Animal encolsure fencing (300 ft)
    • 6 Chicken coops
    • 50 Laying Hens
    • 350 Meat chicks
    • 12 Rabbits
    • 12 Rabbit cages
    • 50 Garden boxes (4x8ft)
    • Heirloom Seeds
    • Tilapia pond materials
    • 100 Tiliapia fish
    • 4 Bee hives
    • 20 lbs Composting worms and 10 boxes
    • Irrigation materials (800ft of pipe, connectors, spigots)
    • Greenhouse/nursery materials (plastic, 1x12 boards, clear roofing)
    • Composting toilet model (1x12 in. boards, cinder blocks, metal roof, PVC pipe)
    • Grey water ring
    • Solar hot water system (500m 1-in. tubing)
    • Workshop/tool shed
  • Caretaker house (a home for our full-time local guard/caretaker/local instructor who speaks the indigenous kaqchiqel language) ($4600)
  • Build eco-friendly off grid volunteer housing that will use alternative energy such as solar, wind and pedal power ($11,500)
    • Solar - $3000
    • Structure - $2500
    • Roofing - $1475
    • Windows & Doors - $1250
    • Flooring - $875
    • Electrical & Plumbing - $975
    • Paint - $550
    • Wind & Pedal Power - $875
  • Indiegogo Fees -- 4-9% of total raised (estimated $1132)

Ideally, we need an additional $19,000 which will be be used to:

  • Implement water backup system with rainwater collection, cistern and well ($6,500)
  • Purchase materials for family sponsorship kits for those who complete the 'learn and earn' program -- garden box materials; composting toilet supplies; solar water; smoke reducing stoves; water filtration systems; etc. (25 families -- $12,500)
  • Anything above and beyond would be used for for family sponsorship kits

If we do not reach the entire amount, then we'll use the raised funds to begin with what projects we can. We can at least start with small homesteading projects, raise more funds, and grow from there.

But there's more! You get a reward for helping!

We'll be raising funds through Indiegogo (a crowdfunding platform similar to Kickstarter). When you make a donation through our campaign you'll also receive a perk... a little thank you for your donation.

Our perks all come from Guatemala -- anything from handwoven bracelets to leather lap top bags. You can check them all out when our Indiegogo page goes live.

We're now officially live! Please support us here.

You can help us in 3 ways:

  • Make a donation (even $1 can help): the sooner the better. If we reach 10%+ of our goal within the first 10 days it can help us to get on the front page of Indiegogo, which will help us reach our goal.
  • Spread the word: Tweet it, Facebook it, email it to friends and family. Tell others how they can help make the world a little better.
  • Become a partner: If you have a blog or website, then you can partner with us by posting about our project.

We need your help. We can't make this dream come true without you. Please support us in this project!

We need your help



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17 Responses

  1. Turtlestravel

    Can’t wait to see the project take shape. It seems like you’re off to a great start. From what we’ve seen of your amazing family, I’m sure you’ll have great success. We’ll see what we can to to help spread the word!

  2. ciaoindustriaboliviana

    Hi, I love the project But I clicked on Indiegogo and I can´t seem to find the project where I can go and do a donation …. do you have a direct link for this please?

    • RachelDenning

      ciaoindustriaboliviana Thanks for your support. Sorry for the confusion, we’re going to go ‘live’ on Tuesday, then you can donate. I’ll post again with a direct link on that day. Thanks again!

  3. Jen Kelly

    AWESOME video you guys! It’s been fun watching this project unfold, and now that it’s going on a wider scale, it will help so many more people!

  4. Brooks Conkle

    This is incredible — great vision guys!  I plan to donate.  I’d also love to donate some time this summer when I’m down there if it’s needed.  thanks!

  5. nataliesisson1

    I love this project because it’s not giving the locals a fish, it’s teaching them how to fish so they can feed themselves – brilliant stuff – I’m sharing everywhere and will contribute and may even come visit you guys to lend a hand on the farm!

  6. Eden_Farm

    Rachel, I’m ecstatic that I have stumbled across your site!  My husband and I plan to MOVE to Guatemala next year, so being able to read your “stories” has been such a blessing, not to mention the reassurance that we need (ok, let’s be honest, that I need) to know that we’re making the right decision to make Guate our new home.  🙂  I was bummed to see that your page on Indiegogo had expired – was hoping to get some Guatemalan goodies with donating so much needed funds.  I cannot tell you how antsy we are now to get there after reading about your Perpetual Self-Reliance Project . . . we’d love to fellowship while getting our hands dirty – that’s if you’ll take us on as volunteers.  🙂  Sending prayers from New Hampshire, Dena (& Neil)

    • RachelDenning

      Eden_Farm Hi! What a great adventure you have planned! We love Guatemala, it’s a beautiful place. We’d love to have you as volunteers when you come!

      • Eden_Farm

        RachelDenning Eden_Farm Do you know of anyone in your ‘circle’ that would be willing to correspond with me so that I may learn more about that area?  I’d love the opportunity to chat (email) with someone that knows Guatemala first-hand and wouldn’t mind answering some questions.  Thanks in advance!  🙂

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