Aldea Maya: teaching children a new living

Guatemalan program needs your help

Children in Chuk Muk may be desperately poor

Children in Chuk Muk may be desperately poor

Louise Sosa knows a large part of the reason she is able to live a good life in Qualicum Beach is nothing more than an accident of birth, which is one big part of the reason she is organizing a dinner and dance to help people in Guatemala.

“If we are lucky enough to live our lifestyle here, then we really should be helping others, because we are the lucky ones in this world,” she said. “It’s only a luck of birth that makes you different. We aren’t any smarter or prettier or nicer. We’re just lucky to be born here in Canada.”

The people she and her group, Aldea Maya, are trying to help live in Chuk Muk, a new village built by the Guatemalan government to house people made homeless by a disastrous mudslide six years ago.

“It was the biggest natural disaster in Central American history,” she said. “Over 800 people were killed all at once.”

The survivors of that tragedy were left with little more than the clothes on their backs and very little in the way of a future. That’s something she and her group are trying to change — starting with nutrition.

“This area is the fifth worst in the world for chronic malnutrition,” she said. “They have very little land and there is no way for them to earn money, so most people just eat tortillas and salt. I met one family where the mother had collected snails and boiled them up and that’s all they had to eat.”

Sosa said her group presented every child in the school of 500 students with something they could grow and their families could later harvest.

“Every child in Grade 3 received a papaya plant and organic dirt and learned about how to grow it and about nutrition,” she said. “Papayas grow really quickly and are an excellent source for vitamin A and C and the people are really deficient in that. As well, every student in Grade 6 got a citrus plant and learned about folic acid, because there is a lot of spina bifida in the area. We did a cooking class as well and prepared foods with it.”

Every student in Grade 5 meanwhile received a chicken and was taught about how to raise chickens and how to build a chicken coop. The chickens, she noted, were purchased with funds raised by elementary students at French Creek, Errington and Qualicum Beach Elementary schools.

“Every child in Grade 1  received a new pair of shoes, backpack, undies, socks and toothbrush,” she said.  “The students were very happy to receive the shoes as their ones were falling apart.”

The poverty is appalling, but Sosa didn’t find it disheartening, as she felt she and her group were able to make a very real difference.

“It’s not disheartening because you’re doing something,” she said. “It’s disheartening if you are not doing anything.”

Oceanside residents will get another chance to put their shoulders to the development wheel beside Sosa and her crew at the dinner and dance event, slated for May 28 at the Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club. 

Tickets for $18 each can be purchased at Complements in Qualicum Beach, the Elements Gallery in Coombs and Our Glass in Parksville.

For more information call Sosa at 250-752-1309.

 news@pqbnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
Baseball community mourns death of longtime Parksville Royals coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

The Qualicum Beach Fire Department will purchase a new pumper truck. (PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach approves plans to purchase $900K truck for fire department

Current apparatus purchased more than two decades ago

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
RCMP investigation continues into grisly discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs near Whiskey Creek

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read