A Little Boy Back Home and a Third Community with Irrigation
May 28, 2016
BENEFITING: SHUARHANDS INC
In rural Guatemala, 75% of the people live in poverty and 40% in extreme poverty. The World Health Organization defines extreme poverty as not having enough resources to purchase a basic basket of food. What it means for the children is they are hungry all the time. They never have enough to eat, to sustain growth or health. Almost 80% of children living in rural areas have stunted growth due to malnutrition. They will always be small, always be plagued by infections they cannot fight, and will have shortened life spans - all due to malnutrition.
Children in rural Guatemala have coffee with sugar for breakfast. Throughout the school day, they suck on candies or sip at sugar water from plastic baggies. Sugar and coffee, the main exports from Guatemala, are cheap, and they both suppress the appetite. Of course, the sugar dissolves the teeth, and most of these children, like their parents, will be toothless by age 30. For their one meal a day, the children will eat tortillas. There is no money to buy chickens for eggs or goats for milk. The corn that grows in a narrow strip around most houses is dried and ground for tortillas. Dried corn is also soaked in water, and the “tortilla water," sweetened with sugar is given to babies to supplement the mother’s failing milk supply. On a recent trip to Guatemala, I was told by a mother that she feeds her children vegetables. For a moment, I thought of carrots or broccoli, but to this mother, “vegetables” referred to anything green she could pull from the dusty yard, weeds, grass, leaves. She boils them in water and serves them to her children with the tortillas. In March 2014, we started funding community gardens in several villages in the municipalities of Tacaná, Sibinal and Malacatán. Multiple gardens are now flourishing and private and government land has become available to the villagers. Sources of water have been identified and we are raising funds for three irrigation projects for this land. Once completed, these projects will make possible a huge increase in the produtionn of food for hundreds of families. Parents can begin to think about their children's futures instead of just day to day survival.
Your donations will give these families the means to grow food for their children. Please give these children the gift of full stomachs, better health and longer lives.