The Nourish International at UCLA and Nourish International at UCSC team members are really excited as we go through pre-departure planning and training and are looking forward to meeting the team members from ByoEarth and Junkabal, our project partners in Guatemala. ByoEarth is a nonprofit organization in Guatemala whose mission is to improve the living conditions of vulnerable communities by finding solutions through vermicomposing that also improve the soil, nurture the land, and integrally restore life to the planet. Junkabal is a women’s cooperative in Guatemala that promotes the human, social, spiritual, and economic development of women through various means, including schools, job training, and dental and nutrition clinics.
We will be helping to build greenhouses so that women in at least three different communities (in and around Guatemala City and Antigua) will be able to grow and sell organic herbs. Some of the women currently working with ByoEarth and Junkabal use vermicomposting to sell fertilizer and wish to increase their income by selling herbs, but there is a need to control the environment where the herbs grow so that the women can be successful. The Nourish team will talk with the women about business relationships, accounting, and herb growth and harvesting.
Training for the UCLA-UCSC team has included Guatemalan history and culture lessons by reading “Guatemala in Focus” by Trish O’Kane, construction workshops (many thanks to Kyle Berry, Brent Bradford, and William Galasso for their extremely patient instruction), and individualized Spanish classes. We also went camping in Big Sur, Calif. to meet our teammates in person, complete a construction workshop, and have a great time getting to know each other. We leave for Guatemala in three weeks and as we’re winding down our spring quarter, shopping for hammers, and packing our rain gear, everyone is getting more and more excited to start the project.
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