During their post-earthquake experiences, our volunteers observed first-hand the sickness and malnutrition among the people. Our earliest efforts to deal with these problems involved offering direct primary healthcare and training village health promoters. As a part of these programs we fed soymilk to the children who were brought to us for care. The beneficial effects on these malnourished kids were unmistakable. Many of the Indian mothers observed that our own children remained healthy on a soy-based diet. The Mayans began to ask us about this bean they had no experience with. They wanted to try it.
In 1978, agronomist Darryl Jordan began testing the feasibility of growing soybeans in the highland area. The results were good, and Suzi Viavant started demonstrating how to make soymilk and tofu in some of the local homes. As interest in soybeans grew Laurie and Alan Praskin came down to help expand the project. During the next two years, their efforts produced a three-phase program of soy introduction that aimed to improve the lives of Guatemalan Indians.