Strategy for Chajmaic

Dear Friends, family, and colleagues,

Sowing Opportunities, Inc. now has a tax-exempt i.d. and we have completed documentation for our attorney so that we can move towards receiving our own 501(c)3 status.  We wanted you to know our strategy for aiding the village of Chajmaic (pop. 1,600) – a strategy that we have been readjusting as we gain more insight on the village culture:

Year 0 (took place April 2015 – December 2015)
 Visited village and took soil samples and assessed what crops grow in a region.

Conduct field research and met prospective partners/buyers of finished product.  This was a dual-function trip, outside of the region of the village where agricultural support was proposed.

Met with village leaders to gain approval, explore water sources, and met with land owners.  This trip to the village had these three purposes.

Met with village leaders regarding renting the land for six months with option to purchase (rent-to-own).  This would take place after funds are raised for this expenditure, which includes a deposit on the land and lawyer’s fees (see point 6).

We are seeking to raise funds with foundations through our nonprofit organization for the following:

Year 1 (April 2016 – April 2017)
Provide critical care intervention for Maya’s biological mom, Olivia, and her two children.

Provide food, water filters and teach the community how to install running water.  Teach the young people how to manage water and train them to educate their families.

Year 2 (April 2017 – April 2018)
Rent-to-own land, train residents of the village how to farm the land, and buy seeds, tools, fertilizers, and rent equipment, etc. in order to develop agricultural self-sustainability.  Plant initial crop (pilot crop).  This crop would be shared among the workers and sold locally.

Years 3-5
Expand what is needed to farm a bigger harvest to sell and to strengthen existing educational and healthcare institutions for the village.
Maya’s biological mom, Olivia, remains in the Safe House with her 2-year-old daughter and now also with her 8-year-old son.  The priest who runs the Safe House has sent photos of Olivia. (See attached.)

Years of severe malnutrition have had an effect on Olivia.  This cannot be reversed in a month.  At this point, she has a little color in her cheeks and face, and appears to have a full head of hair.  She is wearing the jacket that we gave her when she visited Antigua and we spent time together one year ago.

We also learned from the Safe House that Olivia’s son needs psychological care.  The cost of this is anticipated to be $27 per session, once a week, until the family leaves the safe house, which is anticipated to be end of September ($216).  According to protocol, he will have the same psychologist as his mother, Olivia, because she knows the family well.  This is a need that must be addressed soon for the well-being of the family.

Thank you again for your kind consideration in helping.

For reasons mentioned in the July 19th update, it is important that Ricardo return to Cobán to partner with the professionals who are providing care to Olivia and her family, and to work on next steps for the agricultural project.  The cost of the trip is $2,330 and he will go as soon as we can raise this amount.

All the previous information regarding Olivia and her family, and the land, were included in the last update.

The immediate needs are:

  • $675 to put Olivia’s land in her name in the village of Chajmaic,
  • $350 to pay for room and board for August for Olivia and her two children in Cobán

This campaign for assistance to Maya’s biological mom has developed through small and large donations from you, our family, friends, and colleagues.  In total, over $17,000 has been raised since January 2015 and this money has been sent to help both Olivia and the village project.  All funds received have gone directly to implementing the chili project in the village of Chajmaic and for the healthcare of Maya’s biological mother and her children.  The Remedi-Brown family’s work is all voluntary and has received no monetary compensation. We are grateful for donations in any amount, as together, they add to make it possible for us to move forward.
When we learned that Olivia had purchased land many years ago to protect her family, we concluded that she was a productive member  and a leader in her community, since it must have taken a lot of initiative to earn the money and buy the land.  We are seeking her full return to health to allow her to continue in this effort to be active in the chili project.  We plan eventually to replicate in other remote, poor villages in Guatemala.

Donations can be made here.  Please pass this on to your family, friends, and colleagues who might be interested in supporting this cause.

In great appreciation,
Fern and Ginny


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