Foods Resource Bank’s Guatemala Four Departments program works through local indigenous partners of World Renew, an FRB member organization, in four geographic regions of the country. One of these, Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Polochic (ADIP), assists famers in remote Mayan communities in adopting sustainable agriculture practices to improve their production and crop diversification.
Lucía, an active participant in this program, recently shared her story:
“I am a 58-year-old woman. My life has been one of great struggles. During the civil war in Guatemala [1960-1996], our people were persecuted and our leaders were ‘disappeared.’ My husband was taken prisoner and was presumed dead until I found him months later, very sick and malnourished. During those years we were forced off our land and had to settle in a small wetland area which was not great for agriculture. Because of the marshy conditions we would constantly get ill. There were no roads or bridges to our community. We were completely isolated.
My husband was too ill to work, so it was my responsibility to bring food to the table for our children. I would walk 15 kilometers to a nearby town to wash clothes for a living. Because of the distance, I would stay there for five days and then come back home with provisions. After the war, we received lots of promises from the government and private organizations to improve our quality of life, but nothing changed.
Then one day I was invited by my community’s leaders to participate in a meeting that was led by ADIP. I found out about the trainings the organization was offering in preventive health and sustainable agriculture. I began attending the trainings, with the intention of getting something for being there. After attending several workshops and not getting any free handouts, I soon understood that the skills and techniques they were teaching were really an important resource for me to develop new ways to earn a living for my family.
I began to grow a variety of native herbs used for cooking and medicinal purposes. The trainings changed my life. I now go to town not to work, but to sell my herbs in the local market. I’m earning enough for us to live a decent life. I now understand that we, as children of God, are capable of achieving great things. I never imagined I would be selling my own produce in the market. I am an active member of my community now, motivating other women to do the same thing.”
Foods Resource Bank’s Guatemala Four Departments Program is led by World Renew with local partner Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Polochic (ADIP) Excerpted from a report written by ADIP. Guatemala-Four Departments encompasses 16 communities, 519 households, and 2076 individuals