15 Families in Pasacuach supported by Brandermill Church!
On July 13, our group from Brandermill Church arrived. The group of 14 people worked in Pasacuach, funding and installing 15 stoves for families in the community. Nancy, the leader of the Brandermill group has been coming to our communities in Guatemala since 1996! Michael returned for his fifth year and brought his son Andrew with him for his first time in Guatemala. It is always amazing to see family and friends coming together to reflect and share an experience.
Brandermill brought laughs and smiles to the community of Pasacuach. On our first work day, we piled into the van with our materials and drove 45 minutes from the community center in Santa Catarina into the mountainous terrain. Upon arrival, the group was introduced to the families who would be receiving the stoves and everyone expressed how they were feeling about the project.
This was HSP first time working in Pasacuach. The women of the community expressed their gratitude and some mentioned it was their first time ever meeting someone from another country. They spoke about how the stoves would improve the health of their families and make cooking easier for them. They expressed their emotions as they have been waiting for stoves for 3 years. They spoke of how much effort it took to organize the women to come together and ask for the stoves. They also explained why it was important to the men in their community. Doña Eva, the community leader said she travelled to Paola´s house multiple times on Sunday´s because she knew she would be there to discuss a stove project. Paola is one of our social project promoters. This was strange even to us because many of the women from rural Highland communities rarely travel outside of their village. Doña Eva was dedicated and many of us were inspired by her.
Every work day brought new adventures and friendships. Brandermill was able to meet and work with 15 different families and they were one of the first groups constructing our new stove design! They were able to share stories and work together with the families with the help of some of our talented masons, Don Miguel and José.
Before the closing ceremony, a few members passed around a ball with some school students and played basketball. The kids couldn´t believe Peter could dunk. The closing ceremony with the community brought reflection to the group as well as a wave of happiness and gratitude. Every women of each of the families spoke about the impact the stoves would have and gave each member of Brandermill a hand woven scarf.
Brandermill was grateful for the invitation from the community to come there and work. They felt as though they learned more from the community than they could ever give back. Together, we were able to reflect on the challenges facing indigenous communities in the Highlands. We were able to compare their challenges to the challenges we face at home. We spoke of historical legacies and how they impact modern development and what our role is in this.
We are grateful for Brandermill and their support. They always seem to bring extra smiles and jokes to our communities. We cannot wait to see them next year. Thank you for helping créate agency for our communities and reflecting on the importance of empowering someone to believe they are capable, intelligent and loving and are able to fight historical dependency legacies that have locked many indigenous populations in underdevelopment.
Written by, Adrienne H.