The idea of organizing a local tour with this theme came from casual conversations with the local partners where we learned about their interest in permaculture. After exploring some options, we discovered IMAP, an institute that specializes in permaculture techniques along with the ancestral and traditional knowledge. This approach reconciles quite well with the interests of our participants.
The Mennonite Central Committee of Guatemala and El Salvador supports such exchanges between people in the communities where it works through the Connecting Peoples Program. Likewise, this program also organizes International Exchanges, usually between people of El Salvador, Guatemala and North America to share experiences together, build connections, and learn about their contexts and the social problems that plague these countries. The Learning Tours from North to South allow internal initiatives such as this one to be posible thanks to fact that a portion of their funds is intended to sponsor these activities.
After the workshop, participants thanked the IMAP and MCC for the gained knowledge and very specific ideas of things they could implement within their own communities. An example of this is Maria Bernal, part of the Youth Network Chemol Txumbal in Nebaj, whom after participating in these workshops shared the experience with other farmer girls in her village. Together, they designed the plot of Teresa Matom with a series of terraces shaped as a mandala. This soil conservation work will greatly assist Teresa in the production of vegetables, flowers and other crops that she sells at the local farmer's market. The 4 girls are involved in a project that stimulates the recovery of peasant agriculture among the Ixil youth.
Similar is the case of Juan Carlos Terraza who also took part in the workshop and developed a new design in his plot in order to participate in a contest for young farmers in the indigenous Ixil area.
Learning new techniques such as the permaculture organic agriculture creates pride among the young Ixil farmers.
To learn more: IMAP: http://imapermaculture.wordpress.com/
On the pictures: After participating in an exchange Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute , Juan Carlos participates with his design on a local contest for young farmers.