I am writing you from the town of Tecpan in Chimaltengango, Guatemala. I am happy to share that I have been received with hospitality and warmth by my host family and colleagues at Maya Health Alliance / Wuqu’ Kawoq. The warmth of my new community is in sharp contrast with the climate, however, as we are about 6,500 feet above sea level. Once I put on my coat in the morning I don’t take it off again until I crawl into bed!
As you may remember, I will be here in Guatemala for six months as part of my post internship field experience with ECHO (https://www.echonet.org/). I spent the past year living and working at ECHO’s Global Farm as the Community Garden Intern, gaining experience and training in small scale tropical agriculture and community development. Now that my internship in Florida has ended, I have extended my work with ECHO to join the Regional Impact Team for Latin America and the Caribbean in their collaboration with a partner organization, Maya Health Alliance / Wuqu’ Kawoq (http://www.wuqukawoq.org/). MHA is a public health organization that seeks to eliminate barriers to high quality health care among indigenous Maya people in predominantly Kaqchikel speaking communities. One of their areas of work is in nutrition, as Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in Latin America the fourth highest in the world. MHA’s nutrition program is beginning a new home gardens initiative in hope that home gardens and agricultural training will increase families’ diet diversity and meal frequency to ultimately improve their overall nutrition. I am working jointly with ECHO and MHA to collaborate on this project and the study that will monitor and evaluate its results. This is exciting work, and I am looking forward to updating you about what we learn in the next few months!
I will leave you with a few photos of our trip to my host family’s land to harvest beans.
Again, I thank you! Gracias! And in Kaqchikel, Matyox!