Combating the Western Diet
As it is increasingly difficult to keep kids in school in Espumpuja, AMA has seen that one problem may be linked to food. When teachers at the elementary school of Espumpuja are asked what their biggest challenges are as educators, most note that it is more difficult than ever to keep students focused in class. There are also many cases where teachers have 12 year-olds in their 1st grade classrooms because the students can not advance to the next level. Medical mission groups that have served with HSP’s Partners in Service program in Guatemala say that this is due in part to the malnutrition in the Highlands of Guatemala. Experts say that there is at least a 70% malnutrition rate in these areas. Children are not consuming enough calories, and the little sustenance they get is from eating processed, imported food. It is cheap, very accessible, and easy to prepare. However, it results in a growing number of children who are unable to focus, who fall asleep in class, and who have learning disabilities.
Therefore, AMA has collaborated with the Women’s Circle of Espumpuja to give nutrition and cooking workshops to parents in the community, utilizing the new kitchen space. The workshops will be given once a week by AMA staff members and will hopefully show them the importance of a balanced diet, especially for growing kids. They will also learn new recipes and cooking techniques, emphasizing proper nutrition and taking advantage of locally-produced ingredients.