Early in 2017 our Director in Guatemala, Steve McDaniel, was looking out over the ground at the side of our feeding programme in Chixocol up in the Quiche mountains and really felt that there had to be something we could do to make better use of the space. At the same time, he was looking for something to encourage and inspire the young people from the area who were coming along to the weekly youth meetings.
As a result of his deliberations, the Blessing Field Project was born. A tractor was hired and the ground was broken up. The young people enthusiastically committed to planting corn on the patch, weeding and tending it, in return for a share of the crop at the end. From small beginnings, the project just ‘grew and grew’! After the initial crop of corn, tomatoes and peppers were planted and harvested.
The youngsters and their families are delighted with their share of the harvests. Some of the produce is also used in our programme kitchens for the children’s meals, cutting costs there, and some goes to particularly needy families in the local community.
Through articles in our newsletters, many of our sponsors and supporters really got on board with this and donated funds to sustain and expand this project.
Next, a bull and some cows were added to the ‘farm’, producing three more calves to date. The stalks from the corn harvest were able to be used as some of the feed for the cows, making good use of everything grown.
The next additions to the project were some laying hens. A group visiting from the USA helped to build a chicken coop for them. We now have enough eggs to supply the kitchens for all the programmes in Guatemala and plenty extra to give to local families who need a little extra help. We have also been able to give gifts of laying hens to families so that they can start producing their own eggs – for their own use and to sell to generate a little extra income.
This project is a real blessing, not only for the young people who are learning new skills that they can use in the future but also for the cooks in our programme kitchens and the many families in the community who receive some of the fresh produce.
The small piece of land that was left, in a corner under a tree, was the perfect place to put a play park for the children. There is nothing like this in the villages for children and they were so delighted with the colourful play equipment, they couldn’t get enough of it!
It is great to see this previously empty piece of land now being used so productively to benefit the young people and the local community.
To see more on The Blessing Field Project and other areas of our work, visit the blog section of our website at www.adopt-a-child.org