For 14 days, the participants will explore the reality of Guatemala and deepen their solidarity with the people in the communities with whom Project Harvest is working by sharing experiences, building relationships, learning from one another.
Six delegates travelled with Paul Lemieux to visit some of the villages in which Project Harvest works.
The rocky, potholed highland roads are slow and dangerous, isolating villages, and limiting access to employment. In each village, we heard stories of life’s daily challenges: extreme poverty, climate change, scarcity of arable land, water and medical care. We climbed steep slopes to reach gardens carved into mountainsides, their soil laboriously built from composted manure. The rainwater harvesting systems are vital to ensure the gardens’ year-round success, so we heard many requests to help build more.
Several women told us how the Formation program helps them understand their rights, and builds their confidence to become leaders in their communities. Promotors Olga Tumax and Paula Velasquez have also helped women in Cuesta del Aire to understand their familial and custodial rights.
We were excited to attend the encuentros, two regional gatherings where participants from several villages met, many for the first time. They exchanged stories, shared a meal, and brainstormed on solutions to common challenges. Our delegates, with a bit of theatrics, demonstrated the role of Project Harvest’s Canadian Board of Directors, from fundraising, budgeting and communications to public education.
Most of us experienced health challenges related to food, water, or physical exertion. Still, we all agreed that the exposure deepened our understanding and commitment to Project Harvest’s work in Guatemala.
This visit is designed for present and future volunteers of Project Harvest. Contact us If you are interested, find out about the application process.