Greetings!

Guatemala has been hit hard by Hurricane Eta, which made landfall on Monday, November 2nd and has brought heavy, driving rains, especially to Central Guatemala. 

The U.S. Department of State issued a statement today:
A State of Calamity is currently in effect in the departments of Huehuetenango, Petén, Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Chiquimula, Zacapa, Jutiapa, El Progreso, and Santa Rosa. Evacuations are underway for communities in Huehuetenango, Petén, Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Zacapa, and El Progreso.
This is a map of the affected areas, as of Thursday, November 5th:

As you can see, a large portion of the country is affected.

Right in the middle of the country is Chajmaic (within the Department of Alta Verapaz), where Sowing Opportunities has delivered food for three months during the global pandemic. This is where we are planning to work with the people in the development of greenhouse sustainability:
In Chajmaic, the river has swelled, spilling over onto the dirt roads along which people have their homes, pushing against the wooden boards that they have for outer walls, flooding the dirt floors. Further details
The inhabitants have had to evacuate their homes. The Guatemalan government has set up displaced persons camps, but the hundreds of remote villages are not included in the evacuation effort – at least not at this time. The government doesn’t have the resources. The mayor of the municipality visited Chajmaic on Friday and offered nothing to the people or the COCODE (village leaders).

For this reason, the abandoned schoolhouse in Chajmaic has become a makeshift camp. As you can see, it is on higher ground. It has a kitchen, but the people are without food. At this moment, 2,250 people are sheltering there, but, as there are 3,000 inhabitants of the village, this number may increase.  
Here is our plan:
As previously reported, several people in the village have emerged as leaders. These people, with our help, will be gathering food for those who are taking shelter in the schoolhouse.
 
Sowing Opportunities has set up a rescue effort in which we will identify a source of corn, salt, and oil to feed the 2,250 people sheltering in the schoolhouse – the number of which will likely grow as others learn of the relief effort. Two of the village leaders will travel to the closest town Fray Bartolomé de las Casas to buy the corn, salt, and oil and deliver it to the schoolhouse, where they will recruit the assistance of several others to cook the corn into tortillas for everyone.

The cost of corn is $0.26/lb.  If we purchase 1 lb. for each person, the cost is $585. If we buy 5 lbs. per person, the cost is $2,925. For comparison, when we were giving groceries, we gave 50 lbs. for 5-6 people for 2 weeks.

Our goal is to send $3,000 tonight so that Ricardo can arrange for the identified leaders, Lety and Wendy, to buy groceries in Fray Bartolomé and work all day on Monday to prepare tortillas to feed them all. 

The home of Sowing Opportunities’ leaders in the village, Alfonso and Lety Gómez, is completely flooded.
We are seeking your help. No donation is too small. Every donation helps to make this effort a reality. We are truly grateful for your partnership for the people of Chajmaic, Guatemala.

It is a miracle that we have this connection with Chajmaic because in fact more people might not have survived this crisis without your and our help. We look forward to the time when the people will have their greenhouses and be able to sustain themselves.

If you would like to donate, you can do so through www.sowingops.org . You can contact us at info@sowingops.org .

Love,
Fern and Ginny

*Full quote: In every crisis, doubt or confusion, take the higher path - the path of compassion, courage, understanding and love.”― Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power
Sowing Opportunities, Inc.
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Malden, MA 02148