Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Supporter Appreciation: Community Building with St. Michael’s College
Written by Alysa Grude, Nutrition and Welfare Program Coordinator, and Anna Aspenson, Food Security and Community Development Program Manager
We had an incredible time hosting the students from St. Michael’s College in May! These recent college graduates spent months before their trip raising funds for three of our programs. During the week, they got to see all of their hard work in action!
We began their visit spending a day at the Community Garden with the women of San Antonio Palopó. This garden is a space for women to work together to grow fresh produce and learn how to cook nutritious, economical meals for their families. We joined the women in planting two plots of carrot and radish seeds in the morning. In the afternoon, we settled into a cooking class with all of the Garden participants. All of us huddled around the kitchen, sharing stories, trying on the San Antonio hair pieces and playing with the children. We made a healthy vegetable omelet and broccoli salad and at the end of the day, we shared warm goodbyes.
The students spent the next two days at the Elderly Care Center, where they painted a beautiful mural of a quetzal bird (the national bird of Guatemala) and a woman weaving a traditional San Jorge tapestry. They facilitated interactive activities with the elderly to promote cognitive and physical stimulation and for lunch they prepared typical Guatemalan dishes together. Many of the elderly speak only the indigenous language Kaqchikel, so for the Spanish-speaking students there was still a language barrier. Nevertheless, the students and the elderly bonded through their enthusiasm during the activities and hugs at the end of lunch.
The St. Michael’s College group finished their trip by installing four energy efficient stoves in Panajachel. These onil stoves decrease the monthly expenditure a family spends on wood and decreases their exposure to smoke, thereby reducing the risk of respiratory illnesses.
We are extremely grateful for the group’s hard work and generosity. Thank you, St. Michael’s College. We hope to welcome you back very soon!