SHARE tourists visit the Chirijuyu community
On Wednesday November 18, 2015, the SHARE Tours team organized an activity where they received the visit of several Tour operators who came from different parts of the United States. They came to our country to experience, participate and learn more about the different activities that take place during the solidarity tours that SHARE Tours offers in Guatemala.
The activity began in the early hours of the day as the visitors and the SHARE Tours team traveled to one of the SHARE agencies located in Tecpan, Chimaltenango.
When the visitors arrived at the agency, the local people gave them a warm welcome and gave them a presentation about the process the entrepreneurs take in order to obtain their micro credit and also explain how their work is done in the community. The presentation was given in Kakchiquel, Spanish and English.
During this activity, the team explained that they work in "solidarity groups" in order to provide the people with an amount of capital for their productive goals. They also commented that there are three different ways that they work which are:
Solidarity groups (for people who already have an established business)
Community banks (for people seeking to start some type of business)
Individual loans (for people who are looking to expand their business and need a larger amount of money)
It was also highlighted that SHARE supports the entrepreneurs who seek to start their own business and most of them, are dedicated to the tomato plantation, flower plantation, drugstores, convenience stores and manufacture of textiles and handicrafts.
At 10 am, the staff and tourists moved to a community called Chirijuyu, where they visited the house of Ana Lucrecia Salomon Lopez, one of the entrepreneurs benefited by SHARE Guatemala. The visitors interacted with her and then she taught all of the visitors how to make tortillas.
The visiting Tour operators learned that there are 16 solidarity groups in the village of Chirijuyu and that within the group of enterprising women of the community, the oldest one is 64 years old while the youngest is only 22. They also learned of a variety of products, such as lettuce, broccoli, beet, celery and cauliflower that are also part of what the community plant with the loan and training received.
At 11 in the morning, all the visitors went to a school in the community where the locals received the tourist with much appreciation. The children of the community prepared a special welcoming presentation where they performed a dance. Then, the leaders of the community gave historical overview of the village.
The leaders of the community said that Chirijuyu means "behind the hill" in Mayan dialect. They commented that at the village’s foundation, there were only 3 families, but today, there are about 500 families in Chirijuyu. In addition, they also said that they considered themselves as a farming community and they produce different types of vegetables. They also took the opportunity to thank SHARE for the support that has been given to them, because some entrepreneurs have been able to overcome in life and obtain an academic title.
At the end of the historical overview, the visitors and the children of the community played a soccer game. Then, the visitors gave away toothbrushes and toothpaste to the people of the community. They also explained the importance of the oral health and how to brush properly.
The women of the community cooked for everyone the typical food of the place which is "Stew with rice and salad".
After lunch, the visitors met another beneficiary who is dedicates her efforts to the plantation of strawberries. She explained the process of plantation and said that it takes 2 months for the fruit to grow. She later explained that she fill boxes with strawberries, which weigh approximately 38 pounds each and that they are sold at a price of Q90.00.
At 4 p.m., all the activities concluded. The tour operators were able to experience and see the benefits that the people from Chirijuyu village receive. This is an example of the changes being made by SHARE and SHARE Tours in Guatemalan communities.