FALL 2009 NEWSLETTER
Incredible and exciting to realize that this is our 5th year for Feed the Dream!! Thank you all for your loyal and enthusiastic support. You have made so much good happen in Guatemala, a small country with one of the world’s most malnourished populations. After years of involvement in medical missions as a non-medical volunteer, and after the adoption of Sarita, our Guatemalan granddaughter, I founded Feed the Dream in November, 2004, a 501(c) 3 non-profit charity that works in partnership with the indigenous. This year, more than any other, I remain happily stunned at the dramatic turn-around of our villages. The improved health, vibrancy and self-esteem are almost tangible. This only happened because of YOU—your donations, time and belief in our program. My gratitude, as well as that of 1000 indigenous in 14 villages in The Highlands of Guatemala, is beyond words. “Matiox”……“Gracias” in Kaqchikel
Sandy Haggart, Founder
WHEN MAGIC HAPPENS If you encounter another people on their terms, open to the reality that their knowledge is as deep as your own, their insights as precise, their hopes and prayers as profound, then magic happens. — Wade Davis, anthropologist
The above sums up Feed the Dream and its approach to the indigenous in Guatemala. Some of our current villages are: Cambalcol, Choabajito Alto, Cruz Nueva, Pacoxpon, Tzununá, Chuitzanchaj and Chuisac Varituc. Each is a small community with perhaps 25 families. This year, more than any other, I was amazed by the dramatic transformation of these caserios. Now there is an energy in the people, and a sense of self-confidence that is obvious and significant. Here are some of the highlights.
photo: Irene Powers
5 YEARS LATER
2009 HIGHLIGHTS • Reaching out to 1000 daily • Tzununá—our newest village • Corn grinder in Tzanjomel • Establishing and overseeing 8 Strong Family Centers in mountain communities • Providing 430 Christmas Tamale Baskets • Being featured in the Sheridan Road Magazine, July issue (visit www.feedthedream.org, click the Events tab to view images).
• Improved health of the children and bigger babies born • Nutritious meals learned and an understanding of their importance
• Women recognized their value and that of each family member
• Hygiene • Socialization of the mothers while learning and at the same time early childhood stimulation • Investment in their children with the value of girls and boys with school attendance for both • Learned ways to supplement their income by selling bread, woven pieces, eggs, etc. The Guatemalan villagers now have a sense of power for having a better life and removing themselves from such intense poverty. Can you imagine how this must feel? This only happens because of your support!
Tzununá, our newest village, means “hummingbird” in Kaqchikel. Oddly enough, in Jan., 2004, I visited there on the shores of Lake Atitlan with thoughts of its becoming our first Feed the Dream village! It has become one since there now exists proper supervision and accountability. Once again our indigenous miracle-worker, Micaela, is working her magic with the village women. In March we visited this site, and a resident anthropologist graciously donated a piece of property for the women. Immediately the land was cleared and a bodega (shelter) was built so our nutrition program could begin!
The women meet 3 times each week for education on nutrition, meal preparation with a diversity of nutrients, hygiene, importance of school for both boys and girls and time for childhood stimulation for the younger children. There is also room for a garden, which they cleared and planted immediately. Almost 80 women and young children are the grateful participants.
Up the steep mountainside above Tzununá is impoverished Tzanjomel's one Tzanjomel, an isolated collection of 25 families of 100 people. desperate wish was to We are not able to establish a have a corn grinder. program there because there is no level land. Their one desperate wish was to have their own corn grinder. This Molino would save them a 1-hour walk down a steep mountainside at 4 a.m. in the dark to have their corn ground in another town and then another hour return hike to make the tortillas in time for their family to work or go to school. This momentous occasion of the Molino installation was like something out of a movie. The setting was breathtaking with the volcanoes and lake—as was the edge of a steep mountain drop off, where we stood and shared in a ceremony with ribbon-cutting and watermelon. The thrill of starting the grinder was awesome as was the dramatic impact it was to make in their lives. They each signed their names with a pen or thumbprint to take shared ownership and maintenance. Their gratitude for their good fortune was made very clear to us.
"STATE OF PUBLIC CALAMITY" Is how Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom describes the situation in his country with regards to the current malnutrition and critical food shortage. I have never seen such a deluge of articles chronicling this crucial situation in Guatemala. Read some of the following excerpts: Juan Rodolfo Aguilar, Guatemalan Secretary of Health, Food and Nutrition, described the situation in Guatemala “precarious, very unstable with tendency to deteriorate in the coming months.” Prensa Libre, 8/17/09
do eat, but their diet is low quality and carb-heavy, mostly tortillas and pasta. So the children look short rather than wasted. Beans have become too expensive for daily consumption, and farmers have to sell off their vegetables and eggs rather than serving them to their kids...their nutritional deficits take a devastating toll—hindering brain development, among other disabling effects.
The country’s stark income inequality means that rural areas suffer from Thousands of people across a lack of basic infrastructure. Guatemala could face starvation In some regions of the Clean water and electricity are due to a drop in food grain almost nonexistent in many production this year, a report said. country, malnutrition villages. Education, too, is Since May, the number of people levels top 90 percent, scarce. Less than 40 percent of under the high-risk category has among the very highest indigenous women in Guatemala increased 114 percent, a report rates in the world. are literate, compared with an released Monday by the Secretariat overall rate of 85 percent for Latin of Food and Nutritional Security America. Worst hit by the chronic said. The Prensa Libre newspaper hunger are the country’s Mayans said there has been 60 and 80 and other indigenous peoples—most of them rural percent drop in corn and beans harvests, respectively, farmers—who make up about half of the population. this year. The report said hike in food In some regions of the country, malnutrition levels prices has threatened children with malnutrition. Prensa top 90 percent, among the very highest rates in the Libre 8/18/09 world. S. Loewenberg, The Atlantic, 8/26/09. One reason the country’s elite seem blind to the massive hunger problem is that those affected show few physical Visit our website to view documentary video, symptoms. Guatemala’s chronically malnourished infants www.FeedTheDream.org
IT’S NOT JUST TORTILLAS The tortilla is a staple in the diet of our indigenous. With beans it becomes their “survival diet”. When we hear the “pat-pat-pat” in their An average woman making, much more is involved than meets the eye. The woman is the one who plants makes 170 tortillas the corn and later harvests it and dries the each day for her cobs. She shells the corn and soaks the family, at least 20 kernels overnight so they’ll be soft enough to be ground at a mill, if she is lucky; otherwise for each member. to be ground by hand at home to make the masa for the tortillas. An average woman makes 170 tortillas each day for her family, at least 20 for each member. It is not as easy as it appears, as many of us know firsthand! It is a timeless tradition of making perfect circles of even thickness with no cracks before placing it on the comal to cook. All her chores are completed with a child on her back and most likely being pregnant with another. The strength of these women is phenomenal and necessary.
Our guatemalaN T he precious smiles on the faces of the Guatemalan children and those proud looks of the Mothers with their babies are expressions that have left a permanent image in my mind. They have such pride and self-esteem and are so grateful that after all these years someone has finally taken the time to show they care. Mothers are congregating and socializing for the first time in their lives. They are opening up to each other and learning about nutrition, and just being women, under the teaching of Micaela. She is teaching that it
dren” il h c h it g fun w n i v a h ia “ Marc
knew I would be stretched on this trip, but I was surprised that my emotions were in a constant state of spilling over. I was tugged by each and every experience I had. …My delight in the beauty of their dark eyes, tan skin, black hair, slender wrists, soft voices, and their bright hand-made clothing ...My acute awareness of their authenticity, vulnerability and gratitude ...My sense of wonder that these women are so strong that they could exist in such tough circumstances ...My feeling of oneness with the women...that we share a pride and joy in being friends, mothers, and students to better ourselves, no matter where we are on the ladder of life skills or circumstances. —Marcia Wharton, Harrisburg, PA
is just as important for girls to attend school as boys. When you teach a girl, you teach a family. The dedication of the corn grinder was a definite highlight. Watching the proud men and the grateful women take ownership of something so simple as a corn grinder tugged at your heart strings. Yes, Feed the Dream is a true example of helping a group of people to help themselves...a case of hand up, not hand out. —Pat Gillis, Northbrook, IL
a jomel” “ Dean in P
will say that one of the things that impressed me the most was the ability and tremendous personal qualities of the people you are collaborating with to help you accomplish your dream in the villages that you serve. The outstanding quality of these people is a testimony to the high standard you set for Feed The Dream, and I congratulate you.
TRIP IMPRESSIONS P
erhaps the experience with the greatest impact for me was hearing the message from the residents of Tzanjomel concerning their experience with Feed the Dream. Not only did they express their gratitude and appreciation for drastically improving the day-to-day lives of the village women, they conveyed a message of gratitude for the hope provided by Feed the Dream. They expressed to us, that for the first time in their lives, somebody outside their village had fulfilled a promise to them. Somebody on the outside cared about their welfare and well-being.
am still so struck by the simple lives of these Mayan communities. In many ways their life style is beautiful. In many ways their lives are amazing. Just the thought that they can survive on so little in the way of nutrition, health care and housing is mind boggling. The food supply is minimal. What do they get to nutritionally sustain their bodies if corn and salt are the mainstays of available nutrition? How about the need for community and sharing? Bringing together the young mothers in a community to help educate them in nutrition, health and safety not only improves their lives physically but even more so emotionally. The difference is huge in the women’s self esteem and emotional fortitude in the new Feed The Dream community with the corn grinder compared to the stronger communities involved in the Feed The Dream project for several years. Only the lack of interest and good wishes from the more fortunate in this world keep these possibilities from happening. God placed them in a beautiful corner of the earth. Your help will allow them time and health to enjoy their world rather than continually battle against it. —Anne Gallagher, Glenview, IL
The spectacular effort that Micaela makes every time she walks two to three hours to serve the villages of Pajomel and Chuitzanchaj is unbelievable. Getting to meet and spend a day in the village of Cruz Nueva to witness the preparation of the very tasty and nutritious meal is evidence that your dream
I believe this feeling of hope and caring is even more powerful than the reality of the corn grinder in their lives. I think it is impossible for us to imagine living a life without any hope for help or assistance, even in times of dire need. Feed the Dream provided them that hope —the impact of that alone is immeasurable. —Coleen Reedy, Wilmette, IL
is definitely being fed. But for me, the highlight of the trip was collecting, delivering and personally placing the vitamins into the grateful outstretched hands of the women and children. —Dean Wharton, Harrisburg, PA
HELPING HANDS This past year, in addition to our loyal supporters, others reached out to Feed the Dream in various ways so more Guatemalan children could be served. We are most appreciative of their generous participation and enthusiasm.
—And valued vitamin drives by:
• • • •
Nicole Thomas Photography, Glenview, IL Church of the Holy Comforter, Kenilworth, IL Open Door Living in Anchorage, KY Ellen’s on Elm, Winnetka, IL
• • • • • •
Glenbrook South High School’s Key Club Child Development Classes Local pre-schools Glenview Park District Glenview Methodist Glenview Community Church
13 is our lucky number —again!
Isn’t Feed the Dream fortunate to have another runner as a superb supporter (Julie Crawford last year)! Our Board member Katy Knoer of Kenilworth, IL., (and recently Arizona) on June 7th ran the inaugural Chicago 13.1 half marathon as a way to celebrate her “round” birthday. “To mark this occasion and to express my gratitude for the blessings of good health, I am dedicating this race to the good work of my favorite charity, Feed the Dream...Did you know that The United Nations has made the worldwide improvement of Maternal Health one of its ten Millennium Development Goals? My good friend, Sandy Haggart, founded Feed the Dream to combat the epidemic malnutrition of indigenous Guatemalan women of reproductive age and children under 5 years of age. Her grass roots efforts have led to material improvement in the prenatal nutrition and infant birth weight in 14 mountain villages. She is making a difference in the lives of 1,000 people every day, and I am inspired by the power of one person to change the world.” And speaking about the ‘power of one’, Katy raised $5,000!!
5TH ANNUAL GOLF & LUNCHEON EVENT Our 5th sell-out of our annual fundraiser was held on August 3rd! 198 ladies joined us for golf, lunch, raffles and silent auction. They enthusiastically made the outing our most successful day ever—a 45% net increase from the year before—$88,000! Everyone is thrilled and grateful for such results during these challenging economic times. This confidence and belief in Feed the Dream makes possible the gift of health for many. For pictures of attendees taken by Sheridan Road Magazine please visit www. feedthedream.org. Our 6th Annual Event will be Monday, August 2, 2010.
TAMALE BASKET SENSATION! For the first time last year there was an opportunity to donate a Christmas Tamale Basket to a destitute family on Christmas Eve. It became an instant success with 430 families receiving one—not just in our lake village but nearby when our help was requested. A basket feeds up to 12 family members and provides them with the makings for the traditional meal: oil, 15 lbs. of rice, a block of drinking chocolate, bread, leaves to make the tamales, a chicken, raisins, a bunch of red grapes, sugar, salt, coffee, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. Weeks before, our indigenous Micaela taught them how to make tamales, something they had never done before since they couldn’t afford the ingredients. Then, much to their great surprise and happiness, a holiday piñata party was held for the women and baskets were distributed. One needs to remember that most have finished only 2nd grade and never had a childhood and certainly never have had anything given to them!
LUNCHEON REUNION for local traveling companions to Guatemala Left to right: S. Haggart, S. Ephraim, D. McKay, C. Reedy, A. Gallagher, M. Rabjohns Front row: P. Pollina, P. Gillis, M. Geraldson. Not pictured: I. Powers, P. Tilghman
photo: Jeanne Mendez
The baskets weigh almost 45 lbs., and it’s not unusual for them to walk several hours in the mountains for theirs. The picture below shows their pure joy. Wouldn’t you love to have been there! There is a way you can be there in spirit. Won’t you consider donating baskets at $50 each? Feed the Dream gift cards can be sent to those people in whose honor you have donated. They can be for holiday gifts, thank yous, teacher presents, friends, special events or simply because you care about someone who is much less fortunate and in need.
With the current crisis of malnutrition and critical food shortage—We need you now, more than ever.
7 year old
Sandy Neville Haggart grew up in La Jolla, Ca. She received both her B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern University. She and her husband Gil raised their family in Glenview, Il, where they have resided for 44 years.
Yes, these are difficult economic times for everyone, but we can help in a way that is crucial for the indigenous but not life-changing for us. We know that you have a choice among charities, and we will be grateful if you choose Feed the Dream.
$10,000 establishes a nutrition program center
$5,000 establishes and
maintains 7 village gardens for one year
$2,500 Six month’s salary
for our indigenous nutritionist and educator
provides 111 women with folic acid and health care
Offers one pregnant woman a healthy pregnancy with food and vitamins
Our mission is to establish and oversee nutrition programs that provide food, vitamins, health education, hygiene and enrichment to children under 5 years of age and women of reproductive age in impoverished rural Guatemala. We work in partnership with the indigenous. BOARD OF DIRECTORS • Sandy Haggart, Founder, Glenview, IL • Justine Cody, Winnetka, IL • Julie Crawford, Winnetka, IL • Susie Ephraim, Wilmette, IL • • • • •
$100 Provides an enclosed stove
to prevent open-fire burns and respiratory illness or two Christmas Tamale Baskets
$250 Feeds one child with food and vitamins for one year
Gil Haggart, Glenview, IL Katy D. Knoer, Paradise Valley, AZ Donna McKay, Winnetka, IL Coleen Reedy, Wilmette, IL Patty Tilghman, Glenview, IL
ADVISORY BOARD • Frank B. Chauner, Northbrook, IL • Holly Clark, Louisville, Ky. • Wendy H. Ferguson, Winnetka, IL • Dr. Wilson H. Hartz III, Chicago, IL • Sue Patterson, Antigua, Guatemala • Scott W. Petersen, Chicago, IL
Donations may be mailed to:
YOUR THOUGHTFUL GENEROSITY IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! There are several ways to give: monetary donations, stocks or in-kind contributions.
Feed the Dream P.O. Box 2642, Glenview, IL 60025 or donate online at www.feedthedream.org All donations are tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, #30-0536205 email: firstname.lastname@example.org