After a long and bumpy flight from Boston we arrived in Guatemala City late last evening to heavy rain. The flight was followed by a 5 hour van drive up into the Sierra Madre mountains through more rain and wind finally arriving in our first stop in Guatemala; the city of Xela. Today has been spent acclimating to the culture, the city of Xela, and the altitude of the western highlands of the country. Tomorrow early morning we leave for our destination - the rural mountain village of Loma Linda. Seven Hills has been working in support of Loma Linda since 2011 when a group of Clark University students and I came for the first time. Loma Linda is a small plantation community of approximately 800-900 men, women, and children who live a subsistence life growing coffee and other indigenous crops. Our efforts are focused on economic development with our local partners culminating in 2016 with the beginning of a bee / honey business for the community. This effort was funded by one of our key SHGO donors, Honey Drop Beverages, based in the U.S. Their donation has allowed the villagers within Loma Linda to establish a number of bee hives which is now producing an abundance of honey which is sold both locally, and to a wholesaler. This small income is significant to this poor village. Additionally, through individuals - both staff members and volunteers at Seven Hills - we have been able to support a “child & family sponsorship program” for 35 of the poorest children in the village. For $25 per month we support an entire family in terms of education, medical needs, and food supplement. Tomorrow our real work begins in Loma Linda. Several of our SHGO team will be teaching in the village school, others of us will be cutting a trail into the jungle, and still others will be working in the coffee plantation area. It is rainy season here in Guatemala and so it’s been rainy and will probably not stop until after we leave on the 29th. Though the weather is not good - our spirits are high and we look forward to offering whatever help to the women and children in Loma Linda that we are capable of. Please look forward to my next update tomorrow when we return once again to the children of Loma Linda, Guatemala.
Dr J -