The Fruits (and Vegetables) of their Labor
The small towns of Sacha Sacha and Parco Kocha sit in the mountains of central Bolivia. The people in both of these remote, high-altitude communities have had to work hard to farm their rugged land, and often with limited success.
Given the natural geography of these towns, the weather can be cold, and water isn’t always plentiful. Because of this, they find it difficult to grow a wide range of vegetables, relying primarily on carbohydrates from a limited variety of plants, like potatoes, for their steady supply of calories. This didn’t provide optimal nutrition, especially for the children.
The Community Comes Together
The Outreach-facilitated community group in Sacha Sacha gathered together and identified this as an issue they would prioritize and try to solve. To this point, if they wanted a variety of vegetables, they had to drive at least an hour to the market. And even then, the produce they were able to purchase was often of low quality and would not stay fresh for very long. Using the PHD process, the group members created a solution – vegetable seedling distribution.
They mobilized to build greenhouses, 22 of them, which Outreach supporters helped to fund back in 2018. These greenhouses have been giving them the opportunity to provide themselves with a steady supply of fresh and nutritious vegetables, improving their diets and delighting their palates. Their efforts have been so successful, in fact, that they’re able to sell surplus vegetables for income.
More Challenges Arise
This success led to its own set of challenges – finding the vegetable seeds and seedlings to put these greenhouses to proper use. They wrote and presented a proposal to Global Humanitaria, an organization focused on organic gardening, and when it got accepted, they accessed 3,328 vegetable seedlings during the first part of 2021. Later in the year, they accessed approximately 3,000 more. Over 200 people are now benefiting from their hard work, brilliant problem-solving and perseverance.
Sacha Sacha is just one of eight Outreach-facilitated communities in Bolivia that submitted proposals for and received vegetable seedlings in 2021. In the nearby community of Parco Kocha, a newer Outreach-facilitated community group is also accessing vegetable seedlings to plant in outdoor gardens. Even these introductory efforts, without the benefit of greenhouses yet, are seeing great success. They accessed 1,500 vegetable seedlings in 2021, and are growing weather-appropriate vegetables to the benefit of 97 people.
Now, because of the success of the vegetable seedling distribution, both of these communities are growing their own vegetables locally. The families there are benefitting from all the extra calories and nutrition, especially the children. Everyone knows that kids need to eat their vegetables! Community members are saving money and time by not having to travel to the far-away market for inferior food. Also, the additional income is surely leading to even more improvements.
“Here, due to the lack of water and the cold, we do not grow vegetables to eat. But now we have obtained and planted, and we are eating. How different it is! Soft and fresh and the taste is different – it is richer than when we buy.” – Marcelina, 40-year-old mother of three
Better nutrition, variety, and additional income. Richer, indeed. And all made possible because of people who share their prosperity through donation. People just like you.