Good food is Good News! Ramona and I just returned from the state of Chiapas where we facilitated a workshop on family organic vegetable gardens for the women of La Ceyba. They have two goals: improve their diets with more and better fruits and vegetables and learn new and tasty ways to prepare their food. Sort of a farmer Jones meets Julie & Julia.
Our workshop leader, Aurelio Lopez, helped us understand the advantage of working with native food and medicinal plants but the women insisted that they wanted more variety. The idea of having a food fair where we could share new ways of preparing familiar foods as well as new ones, generated lots of enthusiasm. We also got our hands dirty, digging and preparing planting beds on the level ground and terraced beds on the hillside. We learned about ways to fertilize, control pests and weeds without using chemical products. Fifteen women signed up to be part of the pilot project. While they start preparing their beds and compost piles, we will be looking for fencing, basic tools and seeds. As water is in short supply we will help them find storage containers and sprinkling cans. We will also be looking for the right people to help with the food fair that we hope to celebrate in March.
As these women work together to plan, plant, and care for their gardens, they will also gain valuable skills in organizing and leadership. Their faith will grow as they see God blessing their efforts and they will be encouraged to face other challenges with the confidence and empowerment that success brings. Women in rural communities are at risk in many ways; poverty if they stay, but dangers of exploitation if they move to cities or other countries in search of work.
We are convinced that the God who promises life in abundance will be with the women of this small Mayan community as they take a step of faith and work to improve their lives.
It becomes increasingly difficult for Ramona and I to find words to express our gratitude for the prayer and generous financial support that so many wonderful people shower upon us. Thank you for keeping us in Mexico. You prayed for the men in San Juan Cote and they are all back to work and also received gifts to help them through the crisis of unemployment. Now we would ask your prayers for Gloria Solis. Gloria has suffered for years from a terrible ulcer on her left foot. She is 35 and the mother of 5 young children. The only suggestion the doctors have is amputation. Follow up therapy and a prosthesis would be impossible. So she suffers through her life in pain and constant difficulty. Believe with us and pray for a miracle for Gloria. Pray also for Mateo. He needs one more surgery on his eye socket and then should be ready for a prosthesis. Know that your sisters and brothers in Mexico pray for you and so do we.