Working to sponsor 25 kids from San Miguel Milpas Altas for our Spark Hope campaign, it has been great to get to know the community a little better. Below are facts about the town that Erin Treinen collected on recent visits. Click here for a slideshow of snapshots from San Miguel.
10 facts about San Miguel Milpas Altas:
1. There’s an interesting story to how San Miguel Milpas Altas got its name. It was originally named something else, until one day this statue of San Miguel showed up in the woods near the road down to Antigua. A group of people brought it to a church in Santo Tomas Milpas Altas, but it disappeared from the church and was found in the woods again. They brought the statue to a church in Magdalena, and again it disappeared from the church and was found in the woods. Finally, they brought the statue to the church in San Miguel, and the statue stayed put. For the townsfolk, this was a sign that the community should be renamed San Miguel. (Milpas Altas means tall corn, and all of the surrounding villages have milpas altas in their name.)
2. San Miguel Day, the day of their namesake, is on September 29. That is when they celebrate their town with a fair, food, music, and games.
3. The typical food they serve at SMMA activities is pepian.
4. Not many people in SMMA have a high school degree. Most people learn a trade but do not have formal education in that trade. Most people work in agriculture (farming, participating in the cooperative, or cleaning vegetables so they are ready for export), carpentry, or iron work.
5. Families normally grow peaches, snow peas, green beans, black beans, and corn.
6. The community shows incredible hospitality and they share so much with their neighbors. There is solidarity when something happens in town.
7. There are some strong female leaders in the community, though they have yet to join forces, mostly working independently.
8. A municipal challenge for SMMA is the water system. In the past year, access to water has gotten more scarce. The water comes once every 8-10 days and for fewer hours than ever before. Families have to conserve as much water as they can.
9. An educational challenge in the community is the fact that students wanting to continue study in high school have to travel outside town to do so.
10. Four teachers (two elementary and two junior high) grew up in SMMA. Judging by the number of SMMA students interested in the teaching profession, hopefully there will be more of them soon.
To support the community’s efforts to provide education for their children, help us Spark Hope for 25 children by sponsoring a student or spreading the word. Six children have been sponsored during the campaign. 19 to go!