After raising almost $2,000 from the charity dinner “Noche Luminoche” presented by Chef Diego Telles and Chef Pablo Soto at the Flor de Lis restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala, we decided to invite them to the community of Luminoche to show them what the event is accomplishing.
The journey started this past Monday at 6 a.m., as the chefs and I hopped into a van for a six-hour road trip into the highlands of western Guatemala to the village of Luminoche. It was the first time Chef Soto had visited a community in Guatemala.
We arrived in Huehuetenango at 1 p.m., ate a quick lunch and went to Food for the Hungry’s (FH) office where Baldomero Caal, FH’s regional office coordinator, received us with a big smile. He was excited to show us the big impact from our raised funds.
He said thanks to the charity dinner, 50 percent of the families are going to have their own backyard garden. This was going to provide a stable supply of nutritious food to combat the high malnutrition rate in the community.
The chefs, who love to feed people, were amazed that one charity dinner could change the lives of 54 families in Luminoche. Baldomero also explained that these gardens were unique and innovative to overcome the extremely dry soil of the area.
In the past, families avoided gardening because crops would not grow or die before yielding produce. FH’s expert agricultural staff created keyhole gardens. These gardens hold onto moisture and nutrients thanks to an active compost pile placed in the center of the garden. In this “keyhole” the growing conditions are excellent in any climate.
Then … Baldomero said that he had a big surprise for us.
“Get ready to get your hands dirty because you are going to build a keyhole garden,” said Baldomero.
The chefs and I accepted the challenge. We started to construct the exterior wall with rocks and built the center hole for the compost. We filled the garden with cans to improve the drainage, and then filled it with soil and compost.
We didn’t finish the garden, because we have to wait a week before planting seeds. It was an amazing experience, and we learned a lot about how keyhole gardens benefit families by providing food and income.
The chefs were overwhelmed with emotion because the experience changed their lives. After seeing what one charity dinner accomplished for the community of Luminoche, they knew this wasn’t a once in a lifetime experience—it was an experience they wanted to live over and over again. Because the goal didn’t stop with those 54 families – the goal is that all of the families in Luminoche have a garden, clean water, good schools and stable income to end poverty in their lives.
You can also be a part of this great work by hosting your own charity event or joining FH in our work through child sponsorship or find other ways to inspire hope and end poverty in impoverished communities all over the world.