March 17, 2014

Guatemala and the Mayan Eco Homestead


Some of you may remember that I spent some time in Guatemala last April. A couple of years ago I started to research locations for my family to go for a month or two during my slow season in the winter. I stumbled across the Dennings and their travel blog  Discover, Share, Inspire. We became online friends and subsequently I traveled to meet them and interview them for a video project I was working on. We had an incredible visit with them. The Dennings introduced us to the Jensens who were living near them in Panajachel, Guatemala at the time. We have all kept in touch and I have become increasingly interested in both Guatemala and the humanitarian efforts both the Dennings and the Jensens founded and have had success with. It is titled Mayan Eco Homestead.

At its heart the Mayan Eco Homestead is an onsite school where people can come and learn and earn various methods of agriculture to bring a wider variety of foods into their diet. Currently corn is king especially in the rural areas where malnutrition is very prevalent. Even though there are other fruits and vegetables at the market, most of it is out of reach financially for many rural people. Meat is rarely eaten. Still 40% of Guatemala is Mayan and Guatemala is the 4th most malnourished country in the world and this causes problems from infant death to stunted growth to just plain not being able to concentrate in school because of hunger. The homestead is located in the 2nd most malnourished area in Guatemala. Here is an interested article about this issue.

Mayan Eco Homestead is in its infancy but for one man so far he is now feeding his family of 7 more food than ever and has increased his income nearly seven times. His 1/5th of an acre went from corn to now having chickens for meat and laying eggs, a pig, a tilapia pond and various plants for vegetables. He is now sharing what he has learned about self sufficiency with a local orphanage. The homestead is now a place where anyone can come learn while they earn essentially a start up kit that can be used on their own property. These people are eager to learn and work hard and this is going to grow quickly with more people taking interest.

Take some time to browse their Facebook page and see it in action. My wife and I stayed there for three days last week and we could see how very few dollars can impact entire families in dramatic ways. Currently, a family of 5 who lives in a small tin house the size of half my bedroom with floors made of dirt, is building a sweet little home with donations from America. You can see the progress on the Facebook page. They are at a stand still waiting for more funding so I am putting it out there that even a few bucks can make a huge difference. For those that wish to donate you can do so here. If nothing else please take time to like their page on Facebook. Thanks!


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Greg and Lucy Jensen and their family operate the Mayan Eco Homestead. Josh is their oldest. I made him pose with his new machete he bought across where us boys all went and got our hair cut super short for $1. Best hair cut ever!

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Greg does running tours in the mountains of Guatemala and on old dormant volcanoes. His running business is here if you have any interest in a running tour of the area. The mountains are incredible!

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Me and Melanie down the lane. Short haircut! Love it!cmp_4140 cmp_4154

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This is Zeke. He guided us down a steep, steep mountain to a little city on the lake. He is part of the family building a new house. He is a very hard worker and strong as two or three of me.




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