For the first time in his seven years, Diego arrived at the table to find something green and orange on his dinner plate. Carrots and cabbage. They were sitting there alongside the customary black beans and tortillas. He looked up at this mother, who smiled back at him. He had helped her harvest the vegetables from their new garden earlier in the day. Thanks to a generous grant received from St. John’s Episcopal Church of Midland, Michigan, hundreds of other impoverished Mayan children are also enjoying a new source of food as well—organic vegetables grown by their mothers. The grant funded a multi-village sustainable agricultural project for malnourished families in northwestern Guatemala.
She sat on a low wooden stool in the darkened kitchen of her family’s crudely constructed hut, garbed in her own hand woven exquisitely detailed blouse that seemed to shimmer with its fine jewel-like patterns in the shadows. Maria lives with her parents and seven sisters in the small Mayan village of Nuevo San Ildefonso. Our conversation centered on the Adopt-a-Village middle school at Maya Jaguar. “If I could attend classes there,” she asked me, “where would I live?” I told her about the brand new girls’ dormitory that had just been constructed where two girls share a room each with their own bed. Her eyes lit up. Her family of nine shares one sleeping room, with three girls to a bed. Mari
“Eco-friendly—sustainable—green,” remark our visitors with amazement when they visit the twin middle and high schools at the remote mountain Maya Jaguar campus. Why their surprise? Perhaps they expected to find our schools like those they had observed while traveling through the countryside: dilapidated, paint-peeled structures with dreary classrooms full of broken down desks and chairs to seat 50 to 60 students per room. Such schools are bereft of books and supplies, sparsely equipped with a few nearly ancient computers, some so old that they no longer function, serving only to collect dust and cobwebs in a corner. The Maya Jaguar Center for Education and Development schools stand apart. S