Maria Surec, a CFCA social worker in Guatemala, walks around the area where small tree seedlings have started to take root. She lifts her hand to shade her eyes from the bright sun.
She turns, allowing the sun to cast her shadow over the vast, lush land before her.
“We have mountains, valleys and far in the distance, three volcanoes,” she says as she points out the landmarks. “What can I say? It is beautiful.”
Maria works with parents of children waiting for sponsorship on a reforestation project to help replenish the area’s trees.
“This group is really special because they volunteered to do this,” Maria said, “and more amazing is that their children are not even sponsored yet. These children are on the waiting list for a sponsor. The parents’ good hearts and their enthusiasm are incredible.”
Much of the area was cleared of trees and natural brush by farmers growing crops. Water scarcity has also become an issue.
To address this situation, mothers began collecting tree seeds in November and December. Next, they started clearing an area to prepare the seeds for planting.
Once the seeds were planted, the mothers cared for the seedlings every day until the baby trees were ready to be transplanted to a larger piece of land.
Each sponsored child in the community is expected to receive and care for two baby trees this year.
“I was happy to take this project as a personal challenge because I wanted to learn the process of planting trees, and because I want to help my community,” said Rosa, the mother of Angela, a child waiting for sponsorship in the CFCA program.
“I am 54 years old and I have never planted a tree. Now, CFCA has brought this opportunity and it brings joy to my heart because it was about time I planted a tree, right?” Rosa said as she laughed.
The goal of the reforestation project is to not only plant trees, but also ensure the future of the environment.
“This is how we teach our children to take care of the trees that we have and show them how to plant new ones for their children,” Rosa said. “I do not want the children of my community to become environmentally conscious at 54 years old, like me. I want the children to be happy and build a connection with their trees.
“To the sponsors, we may get old, but the seeds that you are planting today will grow to provide for generations after us.”