A Glimmer of Hope During Desperate Times
It has been a calamitous year for many in the western highlands of Guatemala. Unemployment, COVID and the war in Ukraine have caused shortages of food, fuel and finances that have led to malnutrition and hunger. The crisis, worsened by widespread corruption, narco-trafficking, and the assassinations of several local leaders, has caused entire families to migrate north in search of safety, food and employment. It is out of desperation that these families have chosen to migrate and search for work wherever they can find it, but it’s a decision that can have perilous results. Please pray for the families of several local people who were among the 53 migrants recently found dead in a tractor-trailer outside of San Antonio, TX.
Still, there are some good things happening, the care and concern of Church World Service, local partner CIEDEG and You, chief among them. Working together, we continue to help families grow their own food and find opportunities to thrive in their home communities.
COVID has highlighted for many families the importance of food security and food sovereignty. Local markets were closed and when they reopened there was a lack of produce for purchase. Families have seen that patio gardens are a good substitute. They can grow their own food and save the money they would have spent at market for other basic needs that they need to purchase. Many families have a surplus production that they can sell.
Exceptionally heavy rains delayed but did not prevent deliveries of seedlings, sheep and piglets so families in greatest need could grow food for their tables and earn incomes. Once they fulfilled their agreements to pass along to other families a lamb or piglet from the first births, participants were able to sell some of their hogs or sheep and keep the rest as assets against future needs. They used the income to purchase materials to support other home industries, like weaving textiles, or to cover urgent needs such as medicine, clothing and school supplies. Testimonies from participants indicate an improvement in household welfare whether they received livestock or seedlings.
Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partner CIEDEG