Mangloris de León – Family Gardens Project

Mangloris lives with her husband Usbaldo, and their five children, Mariela (15), Osbin (13), Yohanely (10) Ilsa (7) and Abraham (4) in the community of El Canaque, San Marcos, at the skirts of Volcano Tajamulco. Usbaldo works in agriculture, while Mangloris takes care of the children. Mangloris is very involved in the communal garden and is on the local Health Committee.

It is not an easy road to get to Canaque, but as soon as you enter it, you can notice the warmth of the people and the shy smiles of the children watching you.

Mangloris is part of Habitat Guatemala’s Family Gardens Project that started in 2014. Six years later, she proudly walks us through the community garden, which is filled with a variety of different vegetables. Mangloris shares how their lives have changed and their nutrition has improved.

“Since we started our family my husband and I have enjoyed taking care of our own garden. Before the project we harvested a small piece of land. When this project started, we joined in! Now, our garden has improved tremendously,” says Mangloris.

“Through the support of the organizations and our own means, we have learned and improved as a family and team.  We have harvested big crops of carrots, onions and trees to sell abroad.” Mangloris continues, “We started working on our own, and bought news seeds and other items to keep on growing and growing. The main goal of the project was to teach us how to work on our own, and now we are ready.”

By changing their eating habits and diversifying their diets, Mangloris explains that their quality of life has improved. “We learned to use every part of the vegetables that we grow by cooking them in different recipes for our children. We also use the seeds from the vegetables for future harvests.” She continues, “It has been a great experience, because we have learned, grown and worked together! It has not been an easy road. But we continue moving forward. My dream is that one day, we will be selling all of our products in different towns.”

When asked about her personal experience with the volunteer teams that were in the community, Mangloris explains, “Every time that we go out and see our gardens, we remember all of the volunteers.  We are moving forward and will continue to keep working with our gardens.”

“My dream is to keep working as a team. We need to work together as a community to continue improving. And I am hoping to keep working with Habitat Guatemala and America Solidaria too. I want to keep on dreaming and dreaming big! I have always enjoyed working with communities, motivating my team and showing them how to keep on dreaming to expand and grow.”

When asked about the seeds received from Rotarians Against Hunger, she shares, “The radishes grew really big! I prepared them in different dishes for my children and they loved it! We learned how to take full advantage of everything here, and now, all of the products are growing properly.”

To the volunteers and staff that have worked with the community for the past six years, Mangloris says, “Thank you. We love and miss you all! We did a great job all together. Thank you for picking our community to work it and for teaching us. Canaque is a kind community that has welcomed all. May God bless you!”

To the seeds donors, Mangloris would like to express, “We are very grateful for the seeds! They have been of great use to all of us. We have harvested and eaten them already. Thank you and may God bless you.”