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  • Welcome Hand

Eighth Month Activity Report 9-28-21

We have had the opportunity to have the following experiences in Guatemala in the last eight months which, in large part, is the result of many generous donors:

Harvested corn on the experimental plots -- with outstanding results. The experiment showed improved yields from improved varieties as well as excellent results from different seed spacing, various applications of fertilizers and lime (to raise the ph. in the soil). The yields were quite remarkable. On some of our better plots the yield exceeded the U.S. average corn yield, and were over four times greater than most of the yields in the area. These outcomes will be very helpful as we hold workshops in various villages. (Also, notice the beautiful ear of corn below. Most of the local ears of corn are skinny, with less kernels of corn.)

Raised funds to acquire a total of 380 sheets of corrugated steel, in two separate projects, to assist families whose homes were damaged by severe windstorms (in some cases the whole roof was torn off.) The most recent storm, in and around the city of Cahabon, created landsides and extensive property damage. Some families lost about everything they owned. (There was a massive landslide that has shut down the main road to Cahabon.) In cooperation with the Coban Mission Office, used clothing was also provided. We are continuing to raise funds to provide kitchen items that were destroyed.

Assisted in the formation of a farmer’s association that will provide long-term stability for the farmers. We are currently planning to put Cardamom and Cacao dryers in two villages. We think this will greatly improve the economic stability in these villages and improve the efficiency toward producing a quality product.

Raised funds to buy and deliver fertilizer for 1,500 farmers (acquisition cost $30,000). We were able to personally deliver these bags, in cooperation with the Cahabon Municipality, to many of the farmers and it was heartwarming to see a father’s gratitude for having the ability to feed his family. The farmers here have unknowingly extracted all the nutrients from their fields, leaving them with the impossible task of raising a decent crop. We are planning workshops and demonstration plots to help them understand the actions they take to start building up the soils.

Created a Youth Development project, which began with a group of disadvantaged young men who came together to form the Cahabon soccer team. We were able to provide nine game balls and other minor items, including 72-hour kits from Healing Hands and doTerra. We have been able to develop some special relationships with these young men. Most of the families cannot provide any financial help, so we purchased Gatorade for them to drink at half-time during their last game, which they won.

Provided scales and measurement devices for the Malnourished Children Project. The height measuring equipment was built by a tour group from Utah. This equipment will assist nineteen clinics in the Cahabon District to identify children who are undernourished. They tour group also helped provide GuataMosh food supplements, which were distributed by the nutritionist at the local hospital, and to an group of needy elderly people. This project also provided 300 water filters for the families of malnourished children.

Provided English language training for the proselyting LDS missionaries in the Coban Mission and others in the Cahabon area who are interested.

Facilitated acquisition of 5,000 Sawyer water filters. The cost to purchase and ship the filters was $120,000. We participated in the delivery of several thousand of these water filters. In doing so we were able to express thanks to our donors and other people that helped and we also had the opportunity of developing relationships of trust with many of the recipients.

Provided quality corn seed to impoverished farmers in the Polochic area who are members of the Church.

We are assisting an Association of farmers in the Pinares area of the Cahabon District to become organically certified for the Cacao (chocolate) production.

Provided a wheel chair for an elderly lady who had become paralyzed, and transportation to help an elderly man return from a hospital in Guatemala City.

Assisted with a number of tour groups that have come to Cahabon, sponsored by our Sustainable Families, Welcome Hand and El Humanitarian organizations. These tours are designed to give the touring youth a growing experience in serving others.

Developing relationships of trust toward support for eventually organizing a Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Cahabon. About two weeks ago the Church approved the creation of a Group in Cahabon, under the direction of the Coban Mission and the Coban Stake.

We have been given approval to hold Church meetings every Sunday via Zoom, under the direction of the Coban Mission President and missionaries serving in that mission.

The Covid restrictions have slowed our ability to invite people to a Family Home Evening in our home, but this will continue as soon as we can meet person-to-person again, with masks and social distancing. At the present time all our communications are by Zoom or WhatsApp.

However, the Mission President thinks we will be able to resume person-to-person meetings when we return to Cahabon -- with masks and social distancing.

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