Today we began our day by hearing of the various concerns within this small yet beautiful village. Two years ago the coffee plant blight “roya” had decimated 40% of the village coffee crop and the associated income for the community. Today we learned that the entire village coffee production has been terminated, as a result, leaving the village even more at risk of permanent failure. We also learned that the earthquake from just last week created significant damage to the only school forcing it to close. $5000 is needed to complete all of the repairs and we will try to assist in that effort, by identifying potential donors, upon our return to the U.S. Today we spent time planting bushes with the children which, when mature, can be sold in the market. The school children then took us on a trek through the wet but lush jungle to a river at the base of an active volcano. This afternoon we all serve as English teachers for the children helping them keep up with their studies although the classroom is now outside under a tree. Later tonight we plan to meet with the village leaders to talk about the economic condition here and how SHGO might be able to assist them in identifying new crop or other business opportunities. This is a remarkable village which survived the 30 year civil war between 1960 and 1996 where 200,000 people perished; 83% of them poor Mayan people from villages just like this one. They do not ask for anything and have been generous hosts to our SHGO team by opening their homes to us. Our hope is to return this gesture of goodwill in whatever humble ways that we can.
Dr J -