Tchoka b'an b'ey Look for the good road.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
I like to hire local masons help with the construction of the collection tanks and I felt fortunate to have two masons in the small village. They both are named Pedro but not all masons in Chel are named Pedro.
There are three river crossings in the valley before we start the climb, each getting smaller than the last.
Once we start up the hill the mud begins. This trail goes for 8 hours before coming to the last village. Four villages or 115 families depend on this trail.
Most of the villagers do not have mules and hundred pound loads are not uncommon.
Rebar makes for an awkward load especially around sharp bends in the trail. The rebar was divided up into sixty pound loads.
Sometimes I would like to take the " I am an odd man and the trail is too hard" excuse but Jose is the same age as me so... if he can do it I can too.
It takes good mules to climb the trail. They are constantly encouraged with calls of "Tchoka b'an b'ey oon la b'ena" "Look for the good trail go slowly".
Important words and I was impressed at how well all the mules traveled. The stick in the mud in front of the mule is a warning marker. It marks one of the many holes that a mule or person can break a leg in.
But after two hours the trail levels out on a ridge line. Soon we will descend on the other side. There we leave the main trail entirely and arrive at the spring site by a freshly cut path.
Once at the spring site a tally is taken of all the cargo and who carried it. 4 dozen boards, 40 sacks of sand and gravel, 300 pounds of rebar, and 15 bags of cement. It has taken two weeks to gather all of the materials.
Lumber has been sawn free hand with a chainsaw and carried to the sight.
Bags of cement have been hauled over the treacherous trails.
And now the work of trenching and forming can begin. I had two thoughts as we began the actual construction. 1.) I am tired already,2.) That was quite a commute.
This is a three month project for 13 families to bring clean water into the village. This is only the report of part of a day in the life of that project. What TRE and our donors bring to the Ixil people is the opportunity to make their tomorrow better. They are more than eager and willing to make good use of that opportunity with all that they have. I do not have the ability to speak as elegant as Dr. King but I too have a dream. I want to make a lasting change in twenty villages. Every week the farm receives visiting leaders seeking help for their village. Some like Xecono travel hours in the early morning to ask if we can come help with gardens, water, stoves or other forms of aid. I know we can't do it all but they are not asking for that. They are willing to do their part. What they are asking for is the opportunity to make a good dream a reality. What I am asking of you is the same. In stead of complaining about the state of the world let's roll up our sleeves and create the best dream our hearts
hold so our neighbors and children can live better lives.
Some of our work crew for the day.
Lunch for the day - beans and tortillas- no big surprise. This higher country is good for growing apple, plums and pears. The next trip Macho and I make up here we will have to bring some fruit trees and garden seeds.
Corn leaves for the tamales and firewood on which to cook them. I think it has been a good day but then I can't remember a bad day when I was hiking in the mountains.
Tchoka b'an b'ey Look for the good road.
Sunday, April 3, 2016
Although we are a long way from winning the battle we are seeing good results.
It is mandatory that a recipiente of a stove work four days cleaning streets.
Some of our garden leaders have been organizing their groups to join in the campaign. This last week they swelled our ranks to 32 workers! This is in response to a question we have been posing. What kind of community do you want to live in?
I took the opportunity to bring down seedling from the farm. I can fit 800 starts in the two boxes.
Tying together different programs only strengthens the work of community development.
The Mayor of Chel decided to join in the work and recently approached us with a desire to work together. The mayor is in the stripped shirt between me and two of our community members. The other two men are hired by the mayor who took our suggestion to charge each store five quetzales a month to start a garbage service. But in truth I am thankful for everyone on the team. Our next step is garbage cans at the soccer field.
SUNRISE IN EDEN
I want to invite everyone to watch a dream become a reality. We are hard at work here helping its birth and with each day we see more hope coming to a people who have little. We have finished the purchase of the land that Eden sits on. We are all so grateful to the people who have come alongside of us in support of this training center. Almost a year ago I realized that this was a project that needed to be done. As we begin work and see the immediate effect on the communities we serve I know it was the right decision and one that will bear more fruit than any of the founders saw. Each day our team is in awe with the dawning of the richness and grandeur of the change that is coming for the Ixil people. With so much happening every day it is not possible to report even a fraction of the events but I am watching a core group of Ixils see how they can change their lives with the tools and training we are providing. In the following reports I hope you also can begin to see and rejoice with us that a people who have suffered so much are moving themselves forward to a better tomorrow.
At the heart of the farm is our greenhouse. It lets us produce thousands of seedlings each month fro distribution as well as protect and establish new varieties of seeds.
Here a tray of tomato seedlings waits for its turn to be planted. We are planting vegetable starts in assembly- line fashion. Last week we distributed 2,000 vegetable seedlings in Xesalli and Chel.
Each seed tray holds 200 seedlings.You can see little Carlos in the background. He is learning by watching us work how to prepare the trays.
We are already producing over 3,000 seedlings per month.
As soon as we can grow them people are in line waiting to plant them.
Our two motorcycles have turned into delivery trucks. The two boxes on the back of the bike lets us deliver 800 seedlings into waiting hands.
In early March Brad Ward from ECHO ( Educational Concens For Hunger) paid us a visit. Here he looks over a new variety of collards we are introducing. This green is so popular that we are planting 1,000 seedlings at a time. ECHO is a great partner to learn and study with. We are greatful for the introduction that Penny from Miracles in Action has given us to Brad and the organization.
Felipe is our field supervisor and is happy to enjoy some of the rewards of his labor.
The farm also allows us to deepen the help and relationship that we offer our neighbors. The boy in the foreground, Lucus, was living under broken tarps with his family when we first met him. Behind him is Carlos. His home was so small we had to get them to add on so we could install a new stove for his family.
Well, that is enough for now. Thanks to everyone for following along on this journey and a special thanks for those who are helping us make this dream a reality. Qil tip' paq'te ma'te b'en Hasta luego Adios, We'll see you latter Got to go.