The youngest owner was 15 years old, and he had brought the first mule he’s ever owned—a gift from his father four months prior. He had been introduced to ESAP through the community, attending the training sessions for more than a year in preparation for his first mule. He was committed to learning proper handling techniques.

The second full day in Guatemala was the one that carried an enormous weight in everyone’s hearts. That day, they traveled to communities that were destroyed by Volcan de Fuego in June. You may remember that in the days following the disaster, Brooke USA undertook an emergency fundraising campaign to allow ESAP immediate aid to those in need.

Amanda commented, “The devastation was utterly overwhelming. I was struck by areas that had been wiped out by the flow of lava. Guatemala is a beautifully lush and green country; but these areas were completely blackened, barren and scorched. Huge black gorges just ripped through this beautiful landscape, sometimes right through communities that had clearly been lively and active just hours before the eruption.”

Within one week of the eruption, ESAP was helping to feed and water more than 50,000 animals. The horses, donkeys and mules they kept safe and alive in the aftermath of this tragedy means that, after rebuilding, these families will be able to return to a homestead with healthy working animals that will help them survive. While government help wasn’t available for five weeks after the eruption, ESAP’s quick assistance—which was made possible by Brooke USA donors saved the lives of many equines.

This work wouldn’t be possible without your support. Thank you for making so much change, growth and learning possible for so many people in Guatemala and around the globe.

If you would like to talk to Amanda about the trip, call 574-286-7892 or email her at