Travel to Guatemala to advance the Water for Life project

In two weeks, Fern will travel to Guatemala to further develop the water project, “Water for Life,” in the rural village, Chajmaic.  The dates of her travel are December 10 through 24, 2018.

While there, she plans to establish a Guatemalan bank account, meet with Sowing Opportunities’ associate agricultural engineers, set up a branch nonprofit of Sowing Opportunities through an attorney in Guatemala, and make arrangements for local craftspeople to create beaded bracelets with the Sowing Opportunities logo.

In addition, she plans to visit a nearby village to explore their established water systems (including wells),


and if the conditions are right, visit Chajmaic or a nearby municipality.  She will be accompanied by Sowing Opportunities’ associate Ricardo San José for most of the time.

Bike-a-thon in Malden, MA on Saturday, September 15 at 12:00 noon

Please join us on Sept. 15! Tickets: https://bit.ly/2NUoGID

Help us reach our goal of $5,000 for the new year! New possibilities for the people of Guatemala!

100% of the proceeds from fundraising go to provide potable water to the remote village of Chajmaic, Guatemala.

Bike-a-thon in Malden, MA on Saturday, September 15 at 12:00 noon

We plan to ride for ~4.2 miles along The Northern Strand Bike Trail in Malden, with stop-offs to rest, or for those who choose not to do the entire route.

Every rider pays $10 to ride; under 13 FREE & Over 65 – voluntary donation if you choose; Riders under 10 need a responsible adult with them

Options for those in the disabled community to participate

Every rider gets “sponsored” by people who donate to them which gets given to charity to ride

Roosevelt Park to Park – L for turn around and back (~4.2 miles round trip)

Tickets: https://bit.ly/2NUoGID

 

Repairing the World

Dear Friends, family and colleagues,

The Jewish New Year has begun.  This is the time of renewal, and it is part of our tradition to focus on Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

If you have given one time in the past, or if you have never contributed to this project, would you consider doing so now?

We are edging ever closer to our goal of $4,600 that is needed to send Ricardo and two confidants to Fray Bartolomé de las Casas in the 1st or 2nd week in November.  We currently have $1,800 in the account, which means that we need $2,800 (60% more) to reach our goal within the next three weeks.

This is the essential first step towards developing the chili pepper project in Chajmaic and we need to do it on time, in order to stay in sync with the planting season.  As written in the previous update, Ricardo’s trip to Fray is necessary in order to oversee the name transfer for Olivia’s land, to view the land for the chili pepper project, and to negotiate with the owner of the land to rent a portion of it for the chili pepper project for the people of Chajmaic.  Ricardo will negotiate price, size, and length of rental.

At Rosh HaShanah, our Rabbi Suzie Jacobson, gave a sermon referencing Rabbi Jill Jacobs’ book, There Shall Be No Needy:  Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition.  She taught us of the importance for those of us who have privilege in society to use this power for good.
Rabbi Suzie explained that there are three basic human principles: (1) the dignity of human life: an injury to one individual is an injury to all; (2) a commitment to lessening inequalities and oppressive disparities; and (3) that community has a responsibility to the individual and vice versa.

As our sage rabbi told us, together we can make a life of compassion, justice and goodness.
You can donate through GoFundMe or receive a tax donation by writing a check to Sowing Opportunities, via our fiscal agent, Temple Tiferet Shalom of the North Shore.

If you have contributed recently, thank you.  You are making this important work possible.   May God bless you for all of your contributions, prayers, and support.   You are actively participating in the creation of this peace and social justice work – the work of repairing the world.

Blessings and thanks,
Fern and Ginny

tikkum_olam

GiveCamp

Sowing Opportunities, Inc. was selected to participate in New England GiveCamp, a weekend-long event where technology professionals from designers, developers and database administrators to marketers and web strategists donate their time to provide solutions for non-profit organizations. I am excited for how GiveCamp can help our nonprofit to develop a beautiful website and become more visible!

Look for before (http://sowingops.wixsite.com/sowingopportunities) and after posts!

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Olivia Returns Home

Dear Friends, family and colleagues,

Two weeks ago Olivia and her 2-year-old daughter (see photo) left the safe house in Cobán (see sign over entry) and returned to their village in Chajmaic. During the three months that they stayed in the safe house, they both gained nutrition and medical stability, and Olivia contributed to the community effort at the safe house by participating in the preparation of meals. It was her personal choice to return to her village and resume her life there with her daughter. Her 9-year-old son remains in the safe, stable private home in Cobán.

Our current effort is to complete the work to put Olivia’s land in her name in the village of Chajmaic.  This includes a letter from the COCODES (village leaders) to a civil engineer, a civil engineer’s expenses, a surveyor’s expenses, lawyer’s expenses, documentation, and filing fees.  We expect that this will be completed in early October.  The transfer of funds for this effort (nearly $700) was completed on September 13.  A link to all expenditures is here.

The next step is for Ricardo to travel to the distant town of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas to oversee the name transfer for Olivia’s land, to meet with Lety and Alfonso who are managing the transfer, to check on the wellbeing of Olivia and her 2-year-old daughter, and to view and have face-to-face conversations and negotiations with the owner of the land to rent a portion of it for the chili pepper project for the people of Chajmaic.  Ricardo will negotiate price, size, and length of rental.  The total land size is 52 acres (30 manzanas), but we will start with a much smaller, pilot project – perhaps 8.5 acres (5 manzanas).

The current need is to raise funds to send Ricardo to Fray Bartolomé in the 1st or 2nd week in November.  Because of certain current dangers in the area, it is necessary for Ricardo to travel via Rio Dulce and stay overnight there, traveling to Fray each day.  This circuitous route is a greater distance, but is necessary to ensure his safety and this is paramount to the chili pepper project.  In addition, Ricardo will bring two men with him who will assist with the project and provide a buffer of safety.  The cost of this trip is $4,600 – reduced by 1/4 from the original cost analysis – and will cover 12-13 hours per day, over 7 days for 3 people and 2,340 miles (310 miles each way from Antigua to Rio Dulce, plus 110 miles each way per day from Rio Dulce to Fray).  This total cost includes the costs of travel: gas, hotel, meals, and vehicle.  We currently have 25% towards this goal.  We need to raise $3,500 within the next month.

Ricardo will tell the COCODES that in Year 1, beginning January 2017, we will do a Pilot Project and he plans to organize a cooperative first group of trainees to work the land under the supervision of Ricardo’s agricultural engineer.  For this, we need funding for land rental, equipment, tools, plants, and salaries.  Planting season in Guatemala is February.  The workers will plant seedlings, rather than seeds.

In Year 2, which we expect will begin in January 2018, we will need an increase in funds because we will need more land, equipment, tools, plants, and an increase in the number of workers and therefore, cost of salaries.

If you are interested in donating for the first time to the project or continuing your donations, you can do so through GoFundMe or receive a tax donation by writing a check to SowingOpportunities, via our fiscal agent, Temple Tiferet Shalom of the North Shore, 489 Lowell St., Peabody, MA 01960, USA

Thank you again for your support of this important peace and social justice work.

Blessings,
Fern & Ginny

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