Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peace Corps Volunteers Continue Spirit of Service through Farmer to Farmer

Students in El Cerron learn about seeds, soil, and environmental protection
This past month Partners’ Farmer to Farmer Program had the opportunity to send certified forester Glen Juergens and his wife Patricia Juergens, in collaboration with the Sustainable Harvest International and their local counterpart FUCOHSO (Fundación Cosecha Sostenible Honduras), to Honduras to work with local communities and families to provide assistance in reforestation, nutrition education, and environmental education.

 The Juergens have been to Honduras multiple times over the years, beginning with the first time they met during their Peace Corps service in the country in the 1970s.

“We thoroughly enjoyed working with individuals, families, and FUCOHSO employees which reminded us of the time when we were PCVs. The highlight of the trip for us was being able to take a few days after the work was completed with FUCOHSO and travel to some of the communities we worked at as PCVs. We were delighted to find that all of the individuals we visited remembered us and many were still actively growing crops and practicing soil conservation techniques they learned when we first began working with them.”

Patricia discusses health and hygiene with women
During their two-week assignment with Farmer to Farmer, Glen and Patricia worked with over 6 communities and collaborated with current Peace Corps Volunteers in Honduras. Glen’s activities focused on advising reforestation projects, including developing ideas for bringing water to seedlings and crop, assisting with developing a seedling nursery, collecting soil and seeds, and teaching children how important it is to preserve the forest around the community. Patricia spent her time alongside the women in the communities and in orphanages, showing different ways to prepare different products, collecting recipes, discuss upcoming activities, health and hygiene, and more.

Mr. and Mrs. Juergens recommend continuing workshops on tree inspection; reforestation and watershed protection; and health, hygiene, and recipes in order to improve livelihoods and help the families move closer to becoming independent small businesses who work closely together. They commented that “During the two weeks we worked in the communities with the families who work with FUCOHSO we found families highly motivated to learn how to improve their health and living conditions and increase their incomes by using best agricultural practices learned from the FUCOHSO technicians and staff.”

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