The Velasquez family together with another 59 families from Masagua, received food assistance in the modality “food-for-asset creation” directed by the WFP. The management with the local and central government has made it possible to amplify the assistance. The beneficiary families started doing organic fertilizer and finally family orchards that allowed them to diversify their diet.
These are the children of Miguel and Josephina Velazquez, two young farmers from the south coast of Guatemala. In red, Miguel, is the oldest of the Velasquez brothers. Next is Reginaldo, 8 years old, is in yellow. Next to him is Ismael who is 5 years old holding the youngest, Juan de Dios who is 2 years old. Up front is David 4 years old.
Miguel Velasquez explains, from his orchard, how it arrived to them the news of the malnutrition diagnosis of their two younger sons: ”When I took them to the health centres I was told that the young boys were undernourished… Due to a lack of work and money we could not feed our children correctly and the smallest didn’t even want to eat.” Miguel is an farmer and works half of the year in the sugar cane fields, during the second half he must improvise in order to obtain resources to maintain his family.
David Velasquez was born on 2008 in Masagua, Escuintla on the southern border of Guatemala. It is the room of the five brothers. His look turns sad for a moment, it becomes tired quickly and his body fights day to day against under nutrition.
"The family orchards are a form of assuring food for the family. Before we only ate corn, beans and some lizards my husband used to hunt, now we have sorts of herbs like chipilin and quilete, we have tomatoes and cucumbers," says Josefina, the mother of the 5 brothers. The products they harvest in their family orchard diversifies the benefited family diets. The herbs, fruits and vegetables that consume now, provide the macro and micro nutrients needed for a healthy complete meal.
Josefina Chitay shows pride of the products from her orchard. “Soon after separating the food for the family, we can sell the rest to the neighbors,” she assures. The money of the sale they use to purchase shoes for the children and any other costs needed that they before could not endure.
22 August 2014 Guatemala: A Story of Resilience