another new challenge in Guatemala

‘Nuevo Reto’ means ‘new challenge’ in Spanish.  I’ve talked about Nuevo Reto many times on this blog.  We have supported them in various ways for quite a while now.

Today, we got to visit Nuevo Reto to participate in their English class, serve the community meal, and deliver a bunk bed.  We even brought a few more books for their library and gifts from sponsor families.

   

Another donation we brought with us are pajamas and pillow case dresses, compliments of Delafield Presbyterian Church.  The girls loved them, especially the younger girls.

The highlight of the visit, however, was the ability  to get an up-close-and-personal update on the community garden project.  After a simple ribbon-cutting ceremony (for which the greatest laugh was watching Trent and I try to share a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon) we entered the garden and spoke with Max, the primary caretaker thus far.  The great news is that just yesterday the water pump was installed and activated.  An exterior faucet was also installed, allowing Max to hook up hoses and spray directly.  (Up till now, he was filling watering cans and walking them across the street to the garden plot, a bucket at a time!)

   

The chicken coop is over half complete.  They stil have to build the nesting boxes and buy the chickens, but the main area is built, and a few of Francisco’s pet chickens are trying it on for size now.  The seem to like it!

I told Jill before we arrived that I was hoping she would speak freely and give advice regarding the garden.  She has, by far, the most knowledge on the topic.  Overall, she was very impressed.  The main concern was the spacing of the seedlings.  They were planted much too close together.  A newbie gardener isn’t expected to know these things, but given that they purchased seeds in bulk instead of in packets that already contained planting instructions, it is easily understood.

So far, they have cilantro, radishes and zucchini.  Carrots are next on the list to plant.  Also, one kind woman from the neighboring community of La Pena donated and transplanted a few banana trees and those are now planted on the outside edge of the garden.  We really look forward to seeing how the garden progresses and all that they are able to accomplish with it.  We’re proud of their successes thus far!

In addition to the completion of the chicken coop, we have the incorporation of soaker hoses, building of the rainwater collection system,  planting of additional crops, and addition of a compost bin to complete the project.  Regarding the compost pin, they do have a bucket started for vegetable scraps!

Our bunk bed delivery today was compliments of Jill Kahn and Hebron Church!  The recipients are 17 year old parents Edgar and Ericka and their 8 month old baby.  Their home is in La Pena, and it is accessible by a dirt path.  It is along the edge of a steep cliff, and the footing is not always secure.  Scott stumbled once and nearly scared the pants off me when he got too close to the edge.  Over the edge grew papaya trees, hibiscus, and a prickly plant (called something like ‘egregario’ — I already forgot what Pastor Jacob said) that contained really colorful beans when you removed the prickly covering.

  

When all our work was done, we loaded up a suitcase full of items from the Nuevo Reto crafts room to bring back for those that placed orders.  I do have a few extras too!  Then, we made our way to our rental place in Santa Ana, which is on the outskirts of Antigua.  We chose this place because of the proximity to a Lenten procession that would be taking place the next day.  Not to be disappointed, we saw the beginning stages of the alfombras (sawdust carpets) being created in the cobblestone streets.

For those that do not know, families and communities take a section of the street and create elaborate ‘carpets’ made out of sawdust, flowers, fruits, vegetables, pine needles, etc.  Then, when the procession comes through (groups of people that carry parade floats on their shoulders) on the way to the church, they walk over the carpets.  So much work goes into them, and their existence is short-lived, but, my, how beautiful!

We went to sleep looking forward to seeing the final product tomorrow.

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