Category Archives: Guatemala

COFFEE MEETS WATER SPOTLIGHT: LA Coffee Club

We’re so excited to have several coffee companies partner with us for Coffee Meets Water! We’ll be highlighting one each week during the campaign, so stay tuned to see what they have to say about coffee, water, and life!

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First up is LA Coffee Club! Founded in 2011 by Adam Scott Paul and Antone Hall, the goal of LA Coffee Club is to introduce a wider audience to local roasters in Los Angeles by offering an affordable monthly coffee subscription. We got Adam to answer a few of our questions – even though he’s currently on a trip in Amsterdam! Read below to see what he had to say!

Adam @ TEDxUSC - photo by Rios Enriquez via lacoffeeclub.com

Adam @ TEDxUSC – photo by Rios Enriquez via lacoffeeclub.com

Q: Hi Adam! Tell us a little bit about LA Coffee Club.

A: LA Coffee Club is a subscription service that delivers unbelievably fresh, locally roasted coffee – directly to your door. Every week, we feature a different local roaster – highlighting the best brews LA has to offer.

Q: How do you choose the coffee roasters you work with?

A: Since January 2012, we’ve been rotating through a list of about 40 roasters and have been letting each roaster pick the coffee they like most to feature, though that’s all about to change. I’m happy to announce a new program we are rolling out this fall called Roaster In Residence, along with our brand new space in Culver City called The Subscription Room – it’s pretty much a members only Club House!

We will be hosting quarterly reviews of all our roasters offerings and cupping each coffee out in order to find only the best of the best coffees & roasters.

Photo via lacoffeeclub.c

Photo via lacoffeeclub.com

Q: Have you done any coffee- specific travel? If so, what are some of your favorite destinations and why? 

A: I’ve yet to travel to origin, but I’ve gone on a few adventures across the US and abroad in search of other local roasters. At the time of this writing, I’m in Amsterdam – which is going through a similar transformation around specialty coffee. Coffee shops all around the city are either buying or have bought roasters and have begun roasting their own coffee – it’s really an exciting time to be a coffee lover!!

Q: What’s your favorite type of coffee?

A: Freshly roasted coffee is my favorite. The flavor begins to dissipate after about 2 weeks and all that goodness fades away. I’m usually a fan of Naturally processed Ethiopian Coffee – they are fruit forward and quite unique.

Q: How important is access to clean water in regards to coffee?

A: It is said that coffee passes through the hands of about 32 people before arriving at your door or in your cup. Every one of those people along the supply chain rely on access to clean water in order to survive.

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Q: Why did you decide to partner with us for Coffee Meets Water (for 2 years in a row!)?

A: Providing access to clean water in coffee producing countries won’t just help improve the quality of their coffee – it will provide opportunities for those people to grow and thrive. And that feels pretty great! We feel so honored to be even just a small part of such a driven organization!

Thanks so much Adam! Learn more about LA Coffee Club here and Coffee Meets Water here

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COFFEE MEETS WATER: Guatemala

We so excited to launch Coffee Meets Water for the second year in a row! Last year we fixed broken water wells in Ethiopia; this year we’re focusing on another coffee-producing community… in Guatemala!

The majority of homes and schools in the coffee-producing community of Acatenango lack clean and safe drinking water. We all know how important water is for great tasting coffee and for LIFE, so our goal for this year is to provide clean drinking water in Acatenango, starting with 7 schools that educate over 1,700 students (the children of the hardworking coffee farmers!).

We’re kicking things off with our own take on Shark Tank — with younger, cuter judges! Watch below to see what the judges of Guppy Tank think about how to get clean water!

So, what can YOU do?

  • Read all about our campaign on Indiegogo, then share! Use #CoffeeMeetsWater and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
  • Donate! Just $5 covers the cost of clean water for one child – YES, you read that right. Then refer 3 friends and we’ll add a surprise perk for you as a thank you!

So, you heard it: the guppies are all in! Are YOU?  Let’s get clean water flowing. 

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#GuatSquad & Ladrillos: My Week in Guatemala

Last month, we sent a group of high school volunteers to Guatemala to support Project Cookstoves,  an initiative that builds new, energy-efficient cookstoves for families and allows us to promote education, health, and environmental protection! Read below for Joy’s account on this amazing, eye-opening trip. 

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By Joy Gursky

A couple weeks ago, I found myself in Guatemala City with a group of twelve other volunteers from different high schools scattered throughout the United States. Waiting for our ride to the hotel from the airport, all of us were exhausted and hoping we had made the right decision in deciding to travel to a foreign country with a group of people we had never met before. We were strangers with one common goal: we wanted to improve the lives of the less fortunate, and we were going to accomplish this by building energy-efficient cookstoves for families in rural Guatemalan villages with Good Neighbors. So, after resting in the hotel, we were off to our first volunteer site. The drive to Patzicía was long (a few hours!), and we were all excited, nervous, and unsure of what to expect.

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Building stoves is, as one might imagine, very difficult work, and there are many preliminary steps. First, all the bricks (or “ladrillos” as they’re called in Spanish) need to be soaked in water for at least a minute to ensure that they don’t just break apart when you lay them down. Dirt, water, and cement need to be mixed separately to put in between the bricks and ensure everything sticks together and the smoke and flames won’t escape. The terrain where the stove will reside needs to be evened out; in some cases the stoves were built in the kitchen, but in others they were built outside under some sort of pavilion.

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Once all these steps have been taken, it is finally time to start laying down the bricks: cinder blocks at the bottom, and the traditional red bricks at the top. After laying them down, the chimney (a cylindrical, hollow, and very, very heavy block made out of cement) needs to be installed. Thankfully, since our team was so large, we were each able to work on the different steps simultaneously to make sure that everything was completed on time.

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Constructing the stoves wasn’t the most fun part of the trip, though. The best part was getting to know the native Guatemalans and the rest of the high school group (we eventually very cleverly named ourselves the “#GuatSquad). The families in the homes we visited didn’t speak any English, but on that first day, all of us so desperately wanted to interact with them that we were willing to walk right up to them and introduce ourselves in the bits and pieces of Spanish that we had learned  forgotten in school years before… even if our American accents were awful. Nevertheless, we tried our best, and by the end of each day we had learned the names of the family, their ages, and where they had been born – all while working together to build the cookstoves. And by the end of the trip, we were having basic conversations with local families and children.

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One thing that I’ve taken away from our journey is that at home, we really have it easy. In the U.S, we’re fortunate to have microwaves and ovens that heat up our food, pipes that deliver hot water straight into our sinks and bathtubs, and heaters installed into our homes to keep us warm in the winter. For many people in the U.S, it’s difficult to even comprehend not having any of that, since it’s literally in every home; but for people in developing countries it’s a reality. Many Guatemalans who don’t live in the city rely on fire for everything from heating their bath water to cooking their food. This dependency doesn’t come without consequences. Smoke inhaled by families who use fire as a means to survive regularly leads to several health risks including emphysema, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer–and claims 4 million lives each year, according to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

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If you’re considering volunteering abroad but are having qualms about doing so, my advice to you would be to just do it. Volunteering in a foreign country is a life-changing experience, and your perspective on just about everything will be altered forever. Take some time to read up on the country and culture you’re visiting before you leave. Bring your own hygienic products because you never know when you’ll need them. And most importantly, have fun!       

Thanks for joining our summer volunteer  trip to Guatemala, Joy! Learn more about our Project Cookstoves here, and how to volunteer with us here

 

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WHY I GIVE: Meet Nelson

We’re so excited to share our new blog series with you, WHY I GIVE! In these blog entries, you will meet donors and volunteers who support our projects, and learn what inspired them! 

First up, meet Nelson, an avid runner who has been supporting Good Neighbors projects since 2013.

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Running for Team Good Neighbors at the 2014 LA Marathon

“It’s good to help out. And it’s even better when you help out without expecting anything in return.”

My name is Nelson, and I am from El Salvador. I’m an assistant manager at an oil change shop, where I have been for the past 9 years. I first heard about Good Neighbors through my cousin, who was working at a cafe in the same building as the organization. She saw a flyer advertising that Good Neighbors was running the LA Marathon, and told me about it, so I contacted them. I was really excited for the opportunity to run it because I had been wanting to run a marathon for a couple years but still hadn’t had the chance. I quickly joined their 2014 team to support their Project Cookstoves. In 2015, Good Neighbors was running the LA Big 5K, so I joined that team as well, in support of Project Good Sisters!

Through running with Team Good Neighbors, I soon learned about their Child Sponsorship program. I was very interested, and I’m so happy that I now sponsor Juan!

Juan Pedro, the child Nelson sponsors

The Child Sponsorship program interested me because I was raised by a single mom, and she always taught me to be generous with other people. My mom is an amazing example, because she has been sponsoring my nephew for quite some time, and the help that she has provided has helped him to be the boy that he is now. I want to be an example for Juan, just like my mom is for my nephew.

Since I’m on my own, I thought I might as well do something good. If you’re able to help out anyone else less fortunate than you, then you have to. I believe in helping your brothers and sisters; and they don’t have to be blood-related. I like to help by giving with the little bit that I have.  It’s not a sacrifice, nothing mandatory, it’s just from my heart. I feel good doing it and I’m blessed.

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Nelson and his family

People ask, “why do you do it?” Well, because  it’s good to help out. And it’s even better when you help out without expecting anything in return. Also, knowing that you’ve actually made a difference in someone else’s life is amazing, because hopefully that person will grow up and think, “I had help once.” And later on, since he had help once, he may be able to help somebody else.

My favorite part of sponsoring Juan is when I receive his photos and letters.  He seems really happy, and that makes me happy.  You never know where he was before being sponsored, how he was living, or whether he had something to eat. It makes me happy to know he now gets food everyday, and goes to school.  It feels amazing to help other people, especially someone that you know can never repay you. But as long as you know they’re having a good life for themselves, you feel happy.

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I would totally recommend the Child Sponsorship program to my friends. I really value what I am doing for Juan’s future.

Thank you, Nelson, we know Juan appreciates you too and because of you, he will get a childhood full of education and happiness! Are YOU interested in learning more about our Child Sponsorship program? Visit our website here

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Meet Sweet Paty

In our new Child Sponsorship series, we will be introducing you to the children around the world in our Child Sponsorship Program who have amazing sponsors to help them with education, food, medicine, and more! First, we’d like to introduce you to Paty from Guatemala!

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Hi! My name is Juana Patricia Miculax Martin, but I like to be called “Paty.” I am 9 years old and I live with my parents and 7 siblings. We live in the village of Caman, which is located in the community of Patzicia, Guatemala.  Here are a some pictures of my community that I’d like to share with you!

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A beautiful view of Patzicia

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Patzicia Daily Market

In my free time, I like playing with my toy dishes, listening to music, reading stories, and painting. I also love helping my mom at home. When I grow up, I want to become an Elementary school teacher. I want to teach other children that dreams do come true.

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Patty soccer

The Good Neighbors Sponsorship program has been an awesome opportunity that I love being a part of. It has tremendously helped my family and me by providing everything I need to fulfill my education. For example, Good Neighbors provides me with school supplies, food, shoes and clothing, among many other things. With the help of my sponsor, I have realized that my dreams can come true! I’m really thankful to have a sponsor that cares for my education.

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I just wrote this letter to my sponsor!

Hello Friend,

How are you? I am very happy.

I would like to let you know that I would like to meet you very soon. I would love to go out, play, walk, and have fun with you until we get tired.

I say goodbye with infinite thanks to you for all the love and support that you have given me.

Thank you and never forget that I love you so much. Kisses!

Sincerely yours,
Juana Patricia Miculax Martin “Paty”

What a sweet letter from Paty to her sponsor! If YOU are interested in being  a part of the life of a child like her, visit us here to get more information!

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