Fighting Hunger with Travel and Books

Hey, don't forget us turkeys

Hey, don't forget us turkeys

Destination: Guatemala

Sponsor: Heifer International

Books: See List Below

Today I would like to issue a challenge. But first, a little explanation.

My favorite charity, Heifer International, fights hunger around the world by providing goats, sheep, chickens, honey bees, and, yes, heifers, to farmers so that they can begin to be self-sufficient and feed their families. Besides training people to provide for their own families, Heifer sponsors Study Tours to many of the 59 countries they work in.

I talked to Sara Drew, Program Coordinator to find out more about the Study Tours.

Of course the Traveler’s Library wanted to know, “Do you give travelers a list of books to read about the country they visit?”

“Yes,” she said, and she provided me with the list for their tour to Guatemala.

Groups, limited to 8-16 people are housed in the best accommodations available in the country. An employee of Heifer who is a native of the country accompanies the group, and in addition to seeing Heifer at work, travelers visit tourism spots, like Tikal in Guatemala. Although they are not asked to roll up their sleeves and work during the trip, Heifer asks that they share their new-found knowledge when they get home by telling friends, speaking to groups, or working with their local Heifer organization. (Check with your accountant, but the trips are at least partially tax deductible.)

Besides articles, the reading list for Guatemala includes regular guidebooks, a bird watching book, an ethnography of the Mayan people, and four examples of travel literature: a memoir, two histories and a book of local literature.

I, Rigoberta Menchu, by Rigoberta Menchu, tells the story of a Guatemalan woman and leader, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize.

Lost Cities of the Maya by Claude Baudez, tells the history of the discovery and restoration of Mayan Temples by European and American explorers.

Unfinished Conquest: The Guatemalan Tragedy by Victor Perera. More recent history of human rights struggles and revolutionary movements.

Clamor of Innocence: Central American Short Stories, edited by Barbara Paschke

Sara wanted me to be sure to tell you that, besides Guatemala, you can still sign up for several trips in 2009: The Baltics: Estaonia and Latvia; Carpathian Mountains, Tanzania, Armenia and Georgia, Ecuador, Nepal, Vietnam and the United States.You can find more information at Heifer International Study Tours.

So here’s the challenge: Go to Heifer International’s web site and browse around a bit to see how your donation can help send farm animals and training to families that need help.

Find the place where you can donate, and send Heifer the price of the last book you bought for yourself. My most recent purchase, Blue Highways, cost $9.10, so I’m going to round up to $10.00. That’s a very small amount, but it can mean a lot to a hungry family.

How much do you think that the readers of A Traveler’s Library can raise for Heifer International? Please come back and tell us if you have decided to take a Study Tour, or make a donation to Heifer. And THANK YOU!!

Photograph courtesy of Heifer International


Vera Marie Badertscher

Travel and lifestyle writer, wife, mother and grandmother. Publisher of A Traveler’s Library and Ancestors in Aprons>. Also co-authored a biography of Navajo artist Quincy Tahoma.

Vera Marie Badertscher – who has written posts on A Traveler's Library.


8 thoughts on “Fighting Hunger with Travel and Books

  1. I love Heifer International and think the more publicity they get the better. Our CSA has donated more than $10,000 in the last three years to them. Maybe when my son is older, we’ll do one of the tours.

  2. A great article highlighting a great cause. It’s a great thing that these types of tours (I like to call them ‘Lend-a-Hand holidays’) are becoming more commonplace. It really builds awareness and gives us a chance to contribute…. while on holiday!

  3. Vera Marie — Thanks for the reminder that doing something you love — like traveling or reading — can be combined with doing something worthwhile for others. Very thoughtful, valuable post.

  4. Hi Jennifer. I replied directly, but just wanted to encourage you to check out Heifer. They are very active in Africa and really do wonderful work.

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