Indigenous Mayan artisanal Crafts

We are very excited to tell you about an opportunity to give a beautiful gift to your loved one or yourself while supporting Sowing Opportunities sustainability projects as well as indigenous Mayan artisans.

Now you can purchase beautiful handcrafted Mayan artwork at TheGallery@57. All the pieces are skillfully created by indigenous Mayan artisans. Your purchase of these goods directly benefits both the artisans through Guatemalan Fair Trade as well as Sowing Opportunities. Contact for questions and direct donations.

Click to enlarge image –

Woven Button-Down Shirts – all shirts shown are long sleeve.


Ornaments


Ponchos

Woven chenille ponchos – various colors


Dreamcatchers


Table Runners


Wallets


Bracelets


Scarves

Gorgeous woven chenille scarves in luscious colors – perfect to stay warm in the New England winter

 


Belts



Beautiful Guatemalan fair trade handicrafts: #GivingTuesday / #GivingBack is here!

Do you live in Massachusetts, or are you planning a visit?

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a special someone?  Perhaps for yourself?

Do you wish to benefit those in need?

Would you like to participate in fair trade, ensuring that indigenous artists receive just compensation for their work?

Then, come to The Gallery@57, located at 57 Pleasant Street in Malden, Massachusetts!

Hours, now expanded for the giving season:

Saturday 11AM–6PM
Sunday 11AM–4PM
Monday 11AM-3PM
Tuesday 11AM-6PM
Wednesday 11AM–6PM
Thursday 12–6PM
Friday 11AM–6PM

Just in time for the giving season, you can find beautiful Guatemalan trade fair handicrafts!

Take a look at some of what is for sale:

Guatemalan handicrafts at The Gallery@57, made by indigenous Mayan artisans to benefit the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala through Sowing Opportunities, Inc.: ponchos and button-down shirts
chenille scarves and woven table runners
dream catchers and belts
Rainbow dreamcatcher – these come in a variety of colors

There are many beautiful beaded ornaments – many types of animals!

 

Multiple woven chenille ponchos – various colors
Gorgeous woven chenille scarves in luscious colors – perfect to stay warm in the New England winter
Woven cotton wallets in many colors – perfect for giving or your own use!
Woven cotton shirts in various colors – for all genders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each belt has different weavings. Come in and see for yourself, and try them on. There are many colors and sizes available.

Plants for Donation or Sale to Benefit the Village of Chajmaic, Guatemala

Would you like a beautiful plant for your home or office?

Would you like to help our neighbors to have groceries or sustainable agriculture?

You can do both through your donation or purchase of a plant!

Marie Coulanges with small houseplants, 10/30/2021

Here is a sample of some of the offerings:

Many plants are available!
We have many to choose from – both large and small
Some, like the Ají Dulce, produce vegetables
Others, like the begonia, produce flowers
Or, like ginger, their roots can be cut to add spice to your cooking
And, we are proud of our heirloom peach saplings, which have a story

…and produce beautiful fruit!

Small houseplants

There are 3 white begonias, 1 spearmint, 1 peppermint, and 1 morning glory flowering plant here.
This is a flowering red begonia
This is what the red begonia looks like in full bloom.
This is a succulent plant.
This is ginger. You can uproot it, cut some of the root and replant it!
Here is another white begonia.
This is an heirloom miniature peach tree. In 3 years it will bear fruit.

#GivingTuesday is #GivingBack / The Tree of Life campaign

While our primary focus has been on developing a sustainable agricultural project which includes sending an agricultural engineer who will provide training for building and maintaining a greenhouse – we need to wait until it is safer in terms of Covid transmission before we can do so. So, for now, we are offering a different vision – that of #GivingBack . . . starting now

Greenhouse that our agricultural engineer, Federico Arriola, created in another part of Guatemala

For many people, a gathering with family and a special meal is not an option because they may not have enough to even put food on the table.

Sowing Opportunities’ efforts towards #Giving Tuesday are an effort towards #GivingBack . . . starting now

We think about the lives of the indigenous – in the U.S. and in Central America – and what we can do towards offering a hand to those in need.

Sowing Opportunities has two #GivingBack goals: raising $3,000 to deliver groceries to the people of Chajmaic on November 1, 2021 and another $3,000 to deliver groceries again on November 30, 2021.  We are calling this “The Tree of Life” campaign.

With your help we were able to deliver groceries to the people in the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala 9 times! in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, economic downturn and flooding devastation after hurricanes.

Groceries delivery in Chajmaic following Hurricane Kappa, November 2020

How to help #GivingBack . . . starting now

 


Prayers requested for Chajmaic as Covid encroaches

Dear Friends,

We are deeply saddened to learn that our key personnel, Alfonso and Lety, in the village of Chajmaic, have contracted Covid.

 

Due to the extreme Covid outbreak in Guatemala, there are no resources to help them there.  The main supplier of oxygen, Productos del Aire, has stopped production, due to completely saturated demand far exceeding supplies.

Anyone who goes to the hospital believes – rightfully so – that they are going there to die.  Most never return alive, and their families are allowed zero contact with them until they are dead.  So, people in the village try home remedies (coffee with lemon) and prefer to die at home.

Within the village of Chajmaic, the virus is traveling from house to house, infecting every person living within.  Lety and Alfonso have a small store (tienda) and they believe that they contracted the virus from someone with Covid who entered their store.  They first started showing symptoms 5 days ago, and their daughter, Wendy, showed symptoms yesterday.

At first Sowing Opportunities explored sending two 100-lb. tanks of oxygen from the U.S., but a prescription is needed and the cost was prohibitive for just two days of oxygen for one person – and there is no guarantee that it would arrive safely and on time.

Also, no medical personnel is willing to enter the red zone, which includes the local municipality of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas.  In fact, all interns through Operaciones Practicas de la Salud (OPS) have been sent home to Guatemala City as Covid has gotten completely out of control.  Even the Guatemalan Institute for Social Security, IS, is saturated with need.

So, after consultation with a doctor in Guatemala City, we are doing what we can, trying to provide the most benefit with the funds available, and so, after consultation with a doctor in Guatemala City, we determined that the best we can do is to send aspirin, Vitamin C, and electrolytes (“serum”), and food right now.

If you pray, please include the people of Chajmaic in your prayers.  Thank you.

Additional information is at this link.


Successful Malden Summer Festivals, Melrose Farmers’ Markets, & Fall Fairs (June-October, 2021)

Thank you to the City of Malden for their initiative in creating the Malden Summer Festivals.  They were a lot of fun and successful!  Sowing Opportunities gave away plants to the community, made new contacts, and talked about our work in Chajmaic, Guatemala.  Click here for additional information.

Thank you to Malden News Network for the nice writeup!

“Any chance you got to visit the start of the Malden Summer Festivals season? Fern Remedi-Brown was giving plants away and talking about the non-profit Sowing Opportunities, Inc. Their mission is ‘to cultivate self-sustainability, education, and wellness in rural Guatemala – one village at a time.'”

 


Upcoming Events

Melrose Farmers’ Market and Malden Summer Festival

Malden Summer Festival, Saturday, August 21st: https://conta.cc/3xrirBA

and Melrose Farmers’ Market, Thursday, September 2nd: https://conta.cc/3yCZptp


Past Events

A child drew an apple tree for Sowing Opportunities, Inc.! Thank you, Natalia!

The Malden Advocate had a great write-up of the Malden Summer Festivals:

Live musical entertainment, street performers, artisans and gaming opportunities for all ages
Information is at these links about the Melrose Farmers’ Market on July 1st and 8th.

Melrose Farmers’ Market and Malden Summer Festival

 

 

One of Sowing Opportunities’ plants goes to a happy home! (Thank you to Roberto Udan for donating the beautiful plant!)
Bonnie Blanchard of Malden, MA sent us a photo of her “1327” tomato plant with fruit!

 

Chinami Baba (age 5), begonia from the August 7th Malden Festival is blooming! The bottom of her pot says, “I love you!”

See Sowing Opportunities’ recent Neighborhood View article and our recent newsletter email.

Sowing Opportunities is raising funds for a greenhouse to sustain the families through food and income.  Details at Sol y Tierra: Greenhouse Workshop Project.

The history of the water pump system is detailed at Water for Life Project.

Table at Melrose Farmers’ Market, 9/30/2021
Table at Fall Fair Jamaica Plain, October 9, 2021
Gorgeous house plant arrangement, donated by Roberto Udan



Earth Day, April 20-22, 2021 Restore Our Earth

Sowing Opportunities is focused on the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala developing greenhouse agriculture for food security and livelihood.

 

We have an Event coming up in Malden, Massachusetts – Rescheduled date: Sunday, May 23thfor Earth Day!

 

​We’re raising funds for training and supplies. Can you help?

Watch Sowing Opportunities’ 1-minute Earth Day video!

See Sowing Opportunities’ recent Neighborhood View article.

In early March 2021, Alfonso Gómez started a mini-greenhouse, planting Swiss chard, in the hopes of beginning a small greenhouse project.

 

However, it didn’t sprout because the people of Chajmaic didn’t have the on-site technical support. Sowing Opportunities is working on making that a reality, even incrementally. This is difficult to achieve because of the remoteness of the region.

 

As of Earth Day 2021, the people of Chajmaic are preparing the land and Sowing Opportunities is working actively to bring someone to provide support.  This effort is in process.
The cost of bringing in a technical expert for one month of intensive training is $4,639, which includes $1,481 for travel (5 days), $818 for hotel and meals (30 days), and $2,340 for salary (30 days).  This comes out to $19/hour (30 days @ 8 hours/day) for advice from Federico Arriola, Expert agronomist advisor.  We intend to begin this work in Chajmaic in November 2021, after the rainy season ends in Guatemala.  Here is the annual budget for the greenhouse workshop.

This is an example of Federico’s work after working for the past year in an area that was devastated by Volcán de Fuego (Chi Q’aq), Guatemala, when it erupted in April 2020:

 

Meanwhile, the people of Chajmaic are working to develop the land, and learn what they can on their own:


And the children enjoy the earth, as well!

Children playing in the earth at Chajmaic