Friday, June 27, 2008

Intern Report: Sarah Wilbur (2006 - 2007) Kaqchikel Presbytery

Originally Posted on April 2007

Excerpt from Kaqchikel Presbytery Intern, Sarah Wilbur

We have started household garden projects with the 3 women's groups wherein we are exploring ways to both grow food close to home, with little land, AND using recycled materials that would otherwise be burned or thrown down a hillside. I invited someone from another organization to do a few workshops and I have facilitated a few more around the use of tires, recycled pop cans, and old clothes for planting as well as a few discussions around what to plant, why this is beneficial in the long run, food security issues and nutrition in Guatemala, etc. Women have been saving old clothes, plastic bags and cans. We cut the top off the tires, turn them inside out to save more space, and line it with plastic. Then we wrap pop cans in old clothes and cover the bottom layer in the tire. This is a way to give roots something to hang onto as well as conserve humidity and thus water. Then we make a mixture of other things most people have kicking around: soil, manure, sand, and brush as well as a little bit of carbon (burt wood pieces from cooking fires), ashes, limestone (used for tortillas) and egg shells. We mix this together to create a little ecosystem free of pesticides and full of nutrients and fill the tire to ensure a healthy growing climate.

The project is taking off. Between workshops and meetings about the idea, it was slow going at first, but the women are now planting and getting very excited about reorganizing their yards and their food preparation. I hope to see at least a few tires in most of the homes of the women in the three groups.