|At right: Xela AID Director, Guatemala, Luis Enrique de Leon inspects garden containing medicinal herbs and traditional condiments.
There is a long tradition of the use of medicinal herbs in Guatemala. In 1993, Xela AID purchased land and brought together midwives to share their knowledge and plant specimens. In 1996, Xela AID collaborated with the Spanish Red Cross to build on Xela AID property an impressive green house for the production of medicinal herbs. As a result, Xela AID empowered a group of local midwives to use the herbs to fabricate medicated creams, cough drops and shampoos, which continued until 2000.
Today, the greenhouse is used by "Las Hermosas," a group of especially economically disadvantaged women who use it to grow chile pimiento and tomatoes, which they use to supplement their families diets and income, by selling locally. In return, group members assist with daily chores at Xela AID's June Russel-Glennon Clinic, or with one of Xela AID's other projects.
In the future, Xela AID will assist Las Hermosas and other groups to launch and expand their small businesses through providing training in small business management, best agricultural practices, and other related themes.