Farming In Atitlan

All smiles at the end of the work week; transformation of the plot of land was worth the hard work!

Written By Catie & Andie

This week we stayed at the wonderful Bambu Guest House in Tzununá. Although we missed our homestay families from last week in San Juan, everyone was very happy to once again be sleeping under the same roof. We have a gorgeous view of Lake Atitlan and the mountain ranges surrounding us. On clear nights, we have even gotten to see El Fuego volcano erupting in the distance across the lake!

Tzununá is a mostly quiet town except for fireworks that the locals insist on setting off at 5 AM. If we are lucky enough to sleep through the loud explosions, we wake up at 7:30 AM to chow down on the delicious breakfast that the staff at the Bambu prepares for us. Then, we usually make the dreaded uphill trek on the gravel road to our host’s farm, Atitlan Organics.

On the farm, we have worked hard moving rocks and digging trenches to form two ponds and planting native species, all while jamming out to good music. Between working the land and learning about the basic permaculture principles with Shad, we also have had the opportunity to learn about plants and compost at another nearby farm called Granja Tz’ikin.

While most of our time here was spent working hard and having fun, some of us went through the difficult but perspective changing experience of harvesting (killing) chickens guided by Shad. We also had fun in the water when we went kayaking on the lake and went on a short hike to a nearby waterfall. Our stay here was completed with a fun karaoke night where we all got to perform our favorite songs.

We look forward to bringing home our newfound knowledge of permaculture in order to create a more sustainable and healthy world. Our group will check in next week after completing our second week of Spanish classes. Until then, much love from this week’s leaders, Catie & Andie.

Chicken harvest was a hands on way to become more connected to the food we eat.
Serena and Grace harvesting greens during an afternoon working on a community garden project.
Maya impressed the group by her amazing work ethic and willingness to get full on dirty in the mud.
Alissa, Catie and Matt worked together to dig out and build a swale to help slow down and distribute water on the farm project.
Community garden power pose. The garden was weeded, mulched and a few new seeds planted for one of 40 families participating in the community project.