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UCLA-UCSC team arrives in Guatemala, begins training and enjoying local cuisine | Nourish International

June 20, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Guatemala, Summer Projects, UCLA, UCSC, Uncategorized | By

We landed in Guatemala Monday, June 16 and though we endured a few mishaps (a delayed piece of luggage and a lost iPhone), we were thrilled to meet our project partner representatives Lissette, Juan Pablo, and Maria. Our trip has so far been a great mix of hard work, amazing people, and delicious food.

After checking into our hostel Quetzalroo and meeting our fantastic host Marcos, we went to Lissette’s home to enjoy a traditional Guatemalan dinner prepared by Maria. The meal consisted of chuchitos, rellenitos, chips, guacamole, salsa, and Gallo beer. Era muy delicioso!


Maria Rodriguez describes some traditional Guatemalan dishes to Jeffrey Hsiao and Lilianna Romero.

The next couple days consisted of on-boarding training sessions, during which we were thoroughly briefed on the locations where we’ll be building greenhouses (Sumpango, San Bartolo, and Junkabal), met with Alejandro, the architect from Torus who designed the plans for the build outs of the greenhouses we’ll be constructing, and learned a lot about Byoearth’s business. We also gave a presentation for Come y Aprende (Eat and Learn) at Chamba to share information about Nourish and our project with Byoearth. Carlos Toriello, a Nourish alumnus from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who lives and works in Guatemala, graciously chatted with us about his previous experiences with Nourish and provided insight on local culture and our project.


The UCLA-UCSC team reviews blueprints for the greenhouses with the architect team from Torus and Lissette from Byoearth.

UCLA-UCSC team at Chamba

Marisa Galasso and Betty Flores present at Chamba.

For lunch one day, we hit the streets for shukos – an elaborate hot dog that was so good we all ordered seconds. We were also lucky enough to partake in a traditional Mayan meal prepared by Rosita at La Cocina de Señora Pu. All our food was incredibly delicious, but if you ever go, order the duck. Also be sure to spend time talking with Jorge and Roger – Rosita’s only assistants in the kitchen.

UCLA-UCSC eats shukos

Shukos on the street in Guatemala City near Chamba.


UCLA-UCSC eats at Rosita's

Bistec al cacao at La Cocina de Senora Pu. The duck dish was devoured too quickly to get a picture!

Yesterday, we had our first induction into agricultural work in Guatemala: We were part of a collaborative effort to install a garden at Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta No. 856 in San Jose Pinula. We used Byoearth’s vermicompost in the garden and Aguapac for its irrigation, which is an innovative method that uses a backpack to easily transport and store water for a gravity-drip system. Accompanying a breathtaking view was an engaging community full of phenomenal people and kids that impressed us with their strength, wit, and skill. Our time working, talking, and playing with them made it difficult to leave. The chicken salad sandwiches, leche con arroz (milk with rice) and pan dulce that women at the school made for us made it equally difficult to depart. This collaboration also introduced us to Ecofiltro, a social enterprise that makes a clay, sawdust, and colloidal silver pot that effectively filters water to make it drinkable; Wakami, which helps to create sustainable, artisanal, income-generating opportunities for isolated communities in Guatemala; Quetsol, a company that offers small solar energy systems that can replace the candle-source lighting exclusively used in many rural homes; and learned about composting latrines installed by Rotary International. It was great to see all the efforts being made to alleviate poverty and its related effects within the country.

UCLA-UCSC at escuela

Anna Goldby and Ashley Luna work with children at Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta No. 856 in San Jose Pinula, planting vegetables and herbs using vermicomposted, organic fertilizer.

We’re off to Antigua ahorita (right now!), where we will be based for the next few weeks and Monday we’ll start building a greenhouse in Sumpango.

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