The last time we blogged about the Nuevo Reto Community Garden, we showed vegetables in infantile stages, just sprouts poking out of the ground. Since then, there have been multiple harvests, many recipes and meals created, children that have taken excess vegetables back to their families, planting additional crops, and much growth, not to mention the sustainable education in garden development.
Every time a new set of pictures is shared, I get goose bumps all over again. I’m so happy to see the success of the garden, and I’m proud of the hard work and dedication shown by Max and the other young gardeners at Nuevo Reto. Good job to everyone involved, and much thanks to all those that contributed financially to the success of the garden.
Most recently, we’d like to thank the Rotary Club of Mukwonago, Wisconsin for helping us provide the final bit of funding for the project and covering the additional expenses associated with rainwater collection. With the funds donated by the Mukwonago Rotary, Nuevo Reto is going to purchase and install gutters on the entire length of the building adjacent to the garden and then attach downspouts that will feed into the cistern directly.
Since Nuevo Reto relies on water delivery in the dry season, and there is a charge for that, it will be nice knowing that they will not have to pay for water during the rainy season of (approximately) late April to late September or early October.
With this project coming to a close, it’s time to plan for those to come! Our next trip to Guatemala leaves in 80 days. (But who’s counting, ha!)
In August, we will lead a team of 13 people for a week of service, tourism and light cultural immersion.
We will begin that week with a visit to the villages of Panimache Quinto Alto and Panimache Quinto Bajo, two neighboring communities (occupied by a total of 416 people in 68 families combined) with great needs. Our goal is to provide a pair of shoes to every member of those two villages.
Delivering that many shoes will be a challenge, but not impossible! Last year we delivered 163 pair of shoes to a community, so we have the formula down pat. If you can help with the donation of new or gently used shoes, we would be very grateful. For boys, we need all sizes from smallest baby up to adult size 8, and for girls, from baby to size 5. Boys are desiring tennis shoes and girls, flats, if possible, but tennis shoes as a second choice. I will include a graphic showing how many of each size are needed, what we’ve collected so far, and how many remain.
If you don’t have physical shoes to donate, we would love if you would consider a small monetary donation for us to purchase whatever sizes are not donated.
In addition to distributing shoes, we will have an initial supply of vitamins for every family. Our hope is to start a sustainable vitamin program in conjunction with the schools there to dispense vitamins as part of the morning routine at school — both to ensure that they are not over-consumed at home and as an extra incentive to send the kids to school. While visiting these villages, we will also be delivering stoves to seven of the families.
These stoves will provide the families with better respiratory health, as the alternative would be to cook over an open fire on the floor of their home. It will also elevate the cook surface, reducing the likelihood that children are burned, and require less time and money for the acquisition of firewood.
During our August trip we will also revisit the elementary school in Canton Río Camanibal, the site of our first service project as a nonprofit. They have been enjoying their library and tablet computer lab, and are just wrapping up a reading contest, an activity we sponsored to further incorporate the library in fun new ways. While visiting the school, we will see the new chalkboards and filing cabinets that our donors provided, install an internet signal booster for their wifi network, and share in a cultural exchange.
Later in the week we will provide training to the bomberos in Panajachel, as we will have both an EMT and an RN in our travel group. They will provide instruction on CPR and canalization. Later, the RN will participate in some home visits to the elderly, dropping in on those that are physically unable to attend the lunch we serve at the elderly feeding center in San Jorge La Laguna.
As in the way we delivered diaper and feminine hygiene kits the last time, we will do so again, this time to benefit the community of San Antonio Sacatepequez.
Toward the end of the week, we will have another opportunity to see the Nuevo Reto Community Garden firsthand, and perhaps even enjoy the bounty as we serve Saturday lunch to the kids of the community and assist with their English lesson.
Lastly, we will get to deliver and install two bunk beds, providing something more than crushed cardboard to the several kids or family members that will share those beds.
We will have the ability to touch lives, and truly make a difference. When we’re not actively providing or performing services, we will be enjoying the many cultures of Guatemala, perhaps learning about jade, chocolate, coffee, backstrap loom weaving, or playing the marimba!
If you have the desire to go on a trip like this, our excursions in 2020 will be in March and November. Contact me for details!