I love this picture – a one-year-old boy, carrying a tree to be planted in a village of Guatemala.
This picture is an example of coming full circle for me. As a 25-year old biologist, I wanted to work with rural communities by planting trees, cleaning rivers, recovering ecosystems.
However, when I started working with community leaders this is what they said to me: “We can’t take care of the Earth if we cannot take care of our families first”.
It felt like these words from community leaders put on hold my passion for the Earth. It is then that I understood that to take care of the Earth, people need a mean to sustain themselves first. We all do.
I decided then that the first thing I had to do was to find markets for their products.
It’s been 30 years since those days. In these years we learned how to connect rural communities to markets, we learned how to incubate businesses with women that have big dreams but had no opportunities, we learned how to work with women and their families so that their income would allow them to fulfill their dreams – dreams of their children being healthy, going to school, for these people incredible dreams of college for their children, dreams of a beautiful home where their families could thrive. Dreams that echo with everyone that has the means to achieve them.
We learned how products that come from these communities are messengers, ambassadors and how they become connectors between the people who produce them and the people who buy them. We saw how when these connections happen, everybody is transformed in the process. This is what we love.
It was because of these experiences that we started talking about collective dreams.
And once again, the people from the communities proved themselves right. Once they could start taking care of their families, they would also start to take care of the Earth.
This picture was taken during an XGuate (For Guate) event in a village in San Cristobal Totonicapán. XGuate is a movement for Guatemalans and people who love Guatemala to give thanks for this country and for the people of this country and friends of this country making a difference.
The Wakami women in this community decided that the way to give thanks to Guatemala would be to give thanks to the Earth for sustaining them. They would plant trees along a river to start recovering the ecosystem. And they would not do it alone. They would invite their families and the local authorities.
This one-year-old child carrying a tree takes me full circle.
DREAMING OF TREES, OF WOMEN, OF MARKETS OF INCOME AND OF HEALTHY CHILDREN – WITH TREES!
This is my dream coming true.
There is a big difference in this complete circle now though. Thirty years ago I felt like I was alone. Not any more. Now, I am part of a global community and this gives me hope.
Hope is a force that makes us want to live! Life is good. Happy holidays!
If you are interested in discovering how it all started we invite you to read the post: The Power of Markets