Manna Project International

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Charitable Organization
Sololá
, Sololá
July 14, 2013 - 9:35pm
Guatemala
Lake Atitlan + Chimaltenango
Dana Zichlin
01150249048002
5 - 10
Business / Fair Trade, Education / Schools, Economic Development
Description:

MPI serves the aldea of Chaquijyá, which consists of four neighborhoods called Central, Cooperativa, Yaxon, and Xilbalbay. Approximately 130 kilometers from Guatemala City, the community lies within the department of Sololá, the 5th poorest in the country. Of the 6,000 inhabitants in Chaquijyá, seventy-seven percent of the community lives in poverty, and thirty-four percent lives in extreme poverty earning less than US$1 per day. The life expectancy is about 64 years.

Since it was formed, Chaquijyá has been an agricultural community. Their primary cash crop is corn, but many residents also grow herbs and spices. According to local tradition, a father divides his land between his sons, and so farmland becomes smaller and smaller with each generation. Alternative means of income frequently become necessary, but are difficult to come by.

Our work currently focuses on the neighborhood of Central. We've just finished a summer program for 120 kids and we teach English alongside the local teachers to 4th - 6th grades. Soon we'll begin programs working in environmental cleanup and recycling, developing a women's cooperative, and assisting the community health workers.

Our mission is to foster communities of young adults and encourage them to use their passions and education in service to communities in need.

Our vision is to establish a global network of Manna Project communities where young adults live and work alongside one another in underserved communities to initiate positive change.

Our three organizational pillars are a holistic approach, a community focus, and volunteer development.

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The Blog: Updates from Manna Project International
5/27/14

Nutrition in Guatemala: Access vs. Resources

Guatemala is so beautiful - from the rolling hills and lakes, to the vibrant colored, diverse crops sold in the markets. The country seems to have it all. This reminds me how the majority of issues in Guatemala can be due to lack of access, not necessarily resources. 

For example, when I walk through the market, here in Solola, I am amazed at all of the fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, beans, spices, etc that are sold. They are grown here and sold here. So how can Guatemala have such high rates of malnutrition? And this is where I believe the lack of access versus the lack of resources idea comes into play.

It's not that the people lack fruits and vegetables, or other foods that provide necessary nutrients, but instead the people, especially the indigenous people, choose to sell those nutritious crops for more money, instead of keeping them for their own famliies. Nutritionally, fruits and vegetables are not as sustaining as items such as corn and beans. Therefore, families have historically made meals based on more filling foods that lack the nutrients they need. And this has become a part of their culture in the kitchen.

This can be seen in both the meal we had with the family in Tecpan, as well as with the cooking class meal we had in Panajachel last week. Both meals involved a "tamalito" or corn-based dough item. (I found this to be extremely filling.) It is also very typical to have multiple corn tortillas with every meal. Additionally, we had a corn-based soup at our traditional meal in Panajachel. Also typical is Atole, a corn-based hot drink, often served with cookies.

Keeping cultural sensitivity in mind, we must put ourselves in their shoes. Instead of blaming them for choosing unhealthy options, one must consider how tradition has shaped their decisions in the kitchen as well as how the market and poverty continues to shape their choices today.

Vegetables for sale at the Sololá market - Blair, Visage Student

4/11/12

Tortilla Nation

4/8/12

Sunday Snapshot: Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to those near and far! We're all excited to get back to work this week!

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4/4/12

Spotlight on Aid & Global Poverty

Happy Semana Santa! We may be on vacation, but if you're still fiending for some development talk, let me recommend to you the following podcast discussion:

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4/1/12

Sunday Snapshot

Happy Semana Santa to you all! This weekend the whole MPIG family left for their respective adventures in Costa Rica and Belize!

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3/28/12

Spring Break Wrap-Up

I speak on behalf of the whole MPIGuatemala team when I say SPRING BREAK 2012 RULED. This month, we had theopportunity to work with five different universities and a total of 41 studentson 4 different projects in Chaquijyá.

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3/25/12

Sunday Snapshot

Paige and Marissa of University of Alabama at Birmingham administering fluoride to over 300 children and teachers in Chaquijyá!

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3/21/12

Peace Corps Guatemala

I am a great Peace Corps groupie, possibly the best. I use the lingo, I complain about the rules, I go on most of the group excursions, I've called David to let him know I'd be sleeping out of site, and I'm pretty sure there are at least 10 PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) that think I'm one myself.

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3/18/12

Sunday Snapshot

Tulane & Emory putting the finishing touches on their mural in Chaquijyá! For more project updates visit our Spring break tabs by college above!

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3/11/12

Sunday Snapshot

Team Vandy Spring break 2012!

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3/8/12

International Women's Day

“You think we’re victims, because we cover our hair and wear modest clothing.

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3/4/12

Sunday Snapshot

Test time in Beginner's English in Cooperativa

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