Saturday, August 18, 2018

Garden Training

 It has been a lone time since I wrote a blog. It is not because we have not been busy. The truth is our growth and our service to the Ixil people have keep me too busy to tell the story that I see unfolding around me. But the story has many chapters and should be told. I want to make another attempt and share a small tale about what is happening in our garden program.
 A little over two years ago we bought a farm site and named it Eden Ixil. Paradise in the midst of poverty. It is a bold title and a cry for change. We have been using the site for an experimental farm, nursery for growing plants and a training center. Tuesdays and Thursdays find us busy giving garden clases to over 500 family gardeners. Here Felipe gives a chalk talk with many practical props. As I have reviewed these photos one thing tht has impressed me is the attention I see being given by the women. We are seeding not only gardens but hearts and minds. Change, change is coming I can see it and feel it. It started with an embrace of love for those in need. It is yet to be seen where it will lead us to but change is knocking on the door.
We mix class room talks, full of living examples, with the work that we are doing in the gardens to help fortify the garden program. Here Felipe shares some pointers on the width of garden beds and how to layer compositing materials to help us work towards a low till, high fertility garden.
 We then take the chalk talks and move them to the field. Half of our gardeners start with soil that is so poor it makes better adobe than garden soil. For them we teach how to make a compositing bed.
 The materials needed are readily availible in the forrest and fields. Adding leaves, brush, manures and composited soil to a bed is like a deposit in the bank. It gains interest and gives its returns not in one crop but for years to come.
 We teach if you give to the earth, if you change the soil texture and fertility the earth will give back to you and your family food in a sustainable harvest.
There is power in a seedling. There is power in an idea and a teaching. Change, positive change is on the horizon.

 We see it is small plots of carrots and Swiss chard. We see it in the fruit hanging behind this woman, a new plant called Pepino Dulce, that gives a melon tasting harvest twice a year.
We hear it in the pride of a young gardener when she begs us to come see her work.
We sense it in the potential of a new family who has proven their desire to work and now is ready to change plastic and sticks for the garden wire that will be distributed.

This year 100 new gardens will be fenced.

Each week we try and distribute 1,000 seedlings.

and teach two garden clases. We often have the training sessions in the villages.

 After ever class we distribute seedlings and fruit trees so they can take home not just a teaching but the tools to implement it with.

'Hands on' is not just a by-word but a daily practice.
We are training the old.

and the young are listening.

I have been down here almost 12 years now. I am passing the torch as we train the trainers. Felipe is one of our three trainers.
 They are sharing a teaching that includes hope and self respect.
And the people are listening.

We are all happy with the progress and results..

The people we serve live simply and their needs are real. Here a young mother ties a piece of plastic for a garden fence so she can get started. When she proves her desire with the work of her hands, we will then approve wire for the corral.

Our reward is smiles. graditude and the harvest to come.

I often listen to and think about the open discusión ' How to help the por'. It is a complicated question to solve but when I am in the field and see the need, the effort and the people I think why not do something. Use our best judgment but move from a thought or desire to action. We plant seeds with families like this one. They will mix them with their efforts and own ideas and dreams. The full reality of what will come is yet to be seen but I can feel it. Positive change is birthed in love. It happens in your family as you care for your children and it can happen in the world at large. Let's join hearts and hands and move forward to a better tomorrow.

Mateo sharing how to manage a compost pit
Villagers from nueve puntos receiving  fruit trees
 A widow in Sotzil preparing seedlings to be shared with her garden group.
Harvest time bring better nutrition into the home.
 Here in Ilom as I prepare seedlings to distribute you can see the pipes for our wáter project. We also have built 40 stoves and helped 30 families with clothing  in the village this year.  Today T.R.E. is active in 14 villages. You support in action!
It benefits many like this garden class in the village. There is power in loving actions. Let's us be doers of the good in this world.
Rosa is telling me how big the plants are growing. I am planting a garden with love, in the midst of great need, for the generation a hand and the one yet to come. Change, positive change is coming. Join us in making it a reality. 

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