Wells and cook-stoves for Guatemalan villages

BANCROFT – Lush valleys. Banana trees pregnant with fruit. Blue skies. Golden sunsets. Guatemala at its best.

Area Realtor Emma Kearns stepped out of her comfort zone recently, embarking on her second expedition to Guatemala with the non-profit Wells of Hope International group. The team travelled to Jalapa and, from there, travelled into the mountains on a mission, offering assistance to the indigenous people of Guatemala, in hopes of improving their lives.

Jalapa (pronounced ‘halapa’), is a small city in the Central American country of Guatemala, with a population of 176,000.

The trek in and out of Jalapa is a stunning one. Verdant gorges choked with banana trees are offset with fog-enveloped valleys. Average daily temperatures range between 13 and 28 Celsius, with the temperature rarely falling below 10 degrees. It certainly sounds like paradise.

Located between El Salvador and Mexico, Guatemala is the largest country in Central America. Primarily an agriculture based economy, the country exports sugar, coffee, bananas and vegetables, as well as ethanol and other non-traditional agricultural products to other countries.

However, according to the World Bank, 54 percent of the general population of Guatemala lives below the poverty line, with 23 percent living in extreme poverty. The indigenous population is disproportionately affected by poverty, with a rate of 40 percent living in extreme poverty.

For the full story, pick up a copy of the March 20, 2019 Valley Gazette or subscribe online.