From June 20-29, 2017 our Seven Hills Global Outreach team returns once again to rural Guatemala to further our humanitarian work in the mountainous jungle village of Loma Linda, located in the highlands of western Guatemala. Our SHGO efforts in Guatemala began in January 2011 with myself and 8 Clark students and 2 SHGO staff. Over the past 6 years we have worked to assist nearly 1000 children and families through joint economic development and child sponsorship efforts. Loma Linda is almost fully reliant upon growing and harvesting coffee beans, but over the past 5 years a disease called “roya” has decimated approximately 40% of the coffee beans produced in this part of the country, significantly impacting the poor in Loma Linda. In search of a self sustaining way to assist the small village, in 2015 we helped fund - along with our U.S. donor - partner ‘Honey-Drop Beverages’ - a honey bee colonization program with the intent to produce honey for sale both on a retail and wholesale basis for the community. Thus far, we are cautiously optimistic that Loma Linda can augment its meager coffee crop with this new ‘cash crop’ - honey! If successful, an entire community of families can be uplifted through the creation of their own financially sustainable business, supported through our work at Seven Hills Global Outreach. Our hope is to assist our Loma Linda development partner, Pascual Rafael and his local ASODILL nonprofit, to create a honey “cooperative” in Loma Linda and hopefully join with other local indigenous villages in establishing a source of revenue, which will diversify their incomes and assure a future for their children and society. This is our hope - to reach out to people of the world connected to us through staff at Seven Hills Foundation and lend a hand so that others can be uplifted through their own work and self determined efforts.
I’m traveling to Guatemala with a wonderful group of Seven Hills staff, community volunteers, and a Clark University scholar. This June 2017 trip includes Kellee Kosiorek, Spencer Gale, Sue Cox, Keisha Berry, Annalena Eckton, Centro President Juan Gomez, and Seven Hills Board Chair John Altomare. Once again, the purpose of the trip is to both examine the connections between locally empowered economic development - social development - and environmental sustainability. Additionally, we hope to introduce a locally run, financially sustainable opportunity (a ” Honey Cooperative” Model) to a community which is desperately trying to survive and thrive. My fervent hope is that each member of the “2017 SHGO Team to Guatemala” comes back with new insights and experiences which will help shape our collective understanding of what can be done to help uplift the poorest of the poor. “If not us, then Who? And if not now, then When?”
Look for my regular trip updates here at our Seven Hills Global Outreach website.
Dr. David A. Jordan, DHA
Seven Hills Global Outreach