Unique Batik Blog

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The Humble Soybean

Tofu, that easy target for humor and deprecation to many in the US, has been popular for thousands of years in Asia, but you might not expect to find it in the highlands of Guatemala. The story of how it got there is an inspiring look at one community reaching out to help another with a simple solution to a terrible problem.

When carpenters travelled from the Farm Community, an intentional community in southern Tennessee, in 1976 to respond to a devastating earthquake in Guatemala, they encountered more than buildings in need of repair. Many children had been left orphaned and were desperately in need of care. More volunteers were recruited from the Farm, and six women went to Guatemala to help set up an orphanage, providing care for 37 children and preparing daily meals for over 90 people. The children themselves were severely malnourished, a condition not limited to those who had been orphaned; in fact, most children in the area suffered from malnourishment. Continue reading

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Nutrition: Vital Support

nutritionAmong the many challenges faced by disadvantaged populations in Guatemala is that of providing adequate nutrition for themselves and their families. Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. The mainstay of the typical diet is based on corn (in the form of tortillas) and beans, and also includes sugar, cheese, eggs, meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. Although many Guatemalans enjoy the exceptional coffee grown in their country, it is typical a much weaker brew than that preferred in America and is usually served with plenty of sugar. The most impoverished people in Guatemala often subsist on a diet of just corn, beans, and fruit, which provides inadequate amounts of many nutrients, including amino acids and fat. Continue reading