Friends and Family,
Last week, about half of our clinic workers participated in "A DAY IN THE FIELDS"; the other workers stayed in their posts so seeing patients would not be interrupted. For months now we have talked about and planned, and prayed, how we would confront the reality of increased malnutrition in children, scarcity of food in homes and HUNGER; these realities are due to inflation and unemployment and change in agriculture practices. The price of corn has almost doubled in the market, as has sugar. Corn and beans, sugar, coffee, herbs are staples of the mayan diet. Chemical spraying of the coffee bushes destroyed the wild healthy herbs that before were very accessible.
Over forty years ago we arrived in Guatemala; we came to establish a diosecean Mission with the Mayan people in the mountains of Guatemala. Life was very different. Certainly there was more sickness as there were no doctors in the rural area; no vaccines, much communicable disease, few pharmacies and a few government clinics with minimal medicine managed by auxiliar nurses. Agricultural practices were also very different; the mountains were planted with corn, up and down steep hills and right up to the door steps of the people; beans were planted among the corn. They lived then in bamboo homes with thatched leaves as roofs. There was more solidarity among the people in the Mayan communities. There were few vehicles. The mayan people exchanged food products among one another as cash was scarce. Less children were hungry!
Along came globalization, following decades of armed conflict and political disappearances; the Mayans rose up against the injustices they became aware of through education and their faith. Coffee, a cash crop, took the place of the fields of corn! Now there is hunger, few fields of corn, little cash, inflation, unemployment and resurgence of violence, but now more criminal than political.
We knew we had to be realistic for the children to survive from hunger! Workshops provided by Pastoral Health of our diocese and ASECSA, a Health Promotor Association that we have been members since it was found in the seventies, brought us to the reality to look for solutions in Mother Earth!
Our first "field day" was to clear a small patch of land for our demonstration garden. It is in a mountain village about two miles from the clinic. The land is loaned to us by one of our workers. It is approximately 20 meters square. The Diocese of Helena Foundation provided the Clinica Maxena with a 5,000. dollar grant for our nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture project. We are hopeful and excited. We continue with our nutrition classes with the moms and malnourished children to monitor the infants and children recovery to health. Formula milk is provided, when necessary, to infants and the Clinic Maxenas healthy nutritious drink, ATOLE MAXENA, to others in the project. New infants and children under 5 are enrolled as they are diagnosed by our doctor in the Clinica Maxena.
This next week the second field day will happen. We are still cleaning this patch of land and have not yet planted the healthy herb, BERRO, and hopefully vegetables, corn and beans. We are learning as we go along. Four of our workers are attending workshops every few moths on Sustainable Agriculture and bring new ideas!
Keep tuned! Pray for us and donate to help our clinic through this difficult time! THANK YOU!
send your donation on line to www.diocesehelena.org and note that it is for the Clinica Maxena.
Fotos include working the land together and sitting down to enjoy a pot luck lunch, MAYAN STYLE!