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Friends of Guatemala to host The Great Plains for fundraiser

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

A couple of women in Toj Alic show off some of the produce they were able to grow through the Friends of Guatemala’s food security project in the community. A new food security project is beginning in another Guatemalan community, with funds from The Great Plains concert going towards that project. (Photo supplied)

A couple of women in Toj Alic show off some of the produce they were able to grow through the Friends of Guatemala’s food security project in the community. A new food security project is beginning in another Guatemalan community, with funds from The Great Plains concert going towards that project. (Photo supplied)

Folk and traditional country music will fill the the rafters of St. Andrew’s United Church March 24 in support of a good cause.

The Friends of Guatemala (FroG) will host singer-songwriter duo Saskia and Darrel Delaronde, also known as The Great Plains, during a fundraiser for their food security project in the Central American country.

“The Great Plains are a couple - he is metis and she’s from Holland,” said Geke Bruning, one of the members of FroG. “They sing nice, grassroots, celtic songs. They’re real nice to listen to.”

The duo, who have been performing together for about the last 16 years, travel across both Europe and Canada performing wherever a fundraiser is in need of their musical stylings. As per their own mandate, a portion of ticket sales are left behind as a way to boost each cause.

This time, those proceeds will aid FroG in creating food security and sustainability in a San Martin Guatemalan municipality - just the latest in a series of projects in the country.

FroG, an organization affiliated with the United Church, has long existed in Lacombe. For the last 10-15 years, they’ve had a working relationship with a group of Mayan women known as the Fraternidad de Presbiteriales Mayas. In earlier years of their partnership, FroG worked to provide basic skills to the people, such as sewing, to help them earn income and be able to provide for themselves and those around them. Eventually, projects shifted to address a need for a lack of nutritious food.

Recently, they completed a project in a village called Toj Alic, where they provided agricultural training, as well as seeds, chickens, pens and other supplies to teach them how to grow their own food.

“Most of the time, we support one project for three years, because after that they can continue with it,” said Bruning. “They’re very eager to learn - teach them how to fish and they’ll fish, as they say.”

Their new project, in a different community, is similar, with the goal to not only provide food security, but better nutrition for younger generations.o

“For young children, the bones have to grow, the body has to develop,” said Bruning. “They have good but there are still people in poverty because of civil war. It’s hard...they need help to get on their feet and grow better food.”

Bob Settle, another member of FroG, said the projects were crucial to the people that live there.

“It’s the difference between having a lot of children in the community malnourished to having them grow up nourished. It’s the difference between a poor life and poor growth,” he said. “We’re trying to improve the long-term health and outlook for whole communities.”

Groups of FroG members routinely visit the projects in Guatemala, but each member pays their own way to do so, meaning all proceeds go directly towards benefitting the projects themselves.

FroG hopes to organize a visit to Guatemala later this year, not only to check on the progress of the projects, but to learn about the country. Interested parties are asked to contact St. Andrew’s United Church.

Support doesn’t have to wait until a trip there, however, with The Great Plains concert just a couple weeks away at 7 p.m. at the church.

Tickets are $20 each for adults, while children 10 and under get in free. They can be purchased Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at St. Andrew’s United Church, or by phoning Geke Bruning at (403)885-4915.

 



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