Friday, February 26, 2010

Leonel - a family in great need.

Marly and Marta

Leonel Culan is 37 years old. On December 3rd while he was working as a builders assistant he fell 3 meters off a rock wall.
His life changed forever and he became a parapalegic.
Leonel is in the hospital in Solola.
He is depressed about his own situation and terribly worried about how his family will survive.
He lives in San Lucas Toliman and has seven children.
They are:
Claudia Estela is 14yrs old. She works as a domestic in a private house. She earns $15 US per month. She went to school till 3rd grade.
Vidalia Susana is 13yrs old. She stays at home helping the mother at home. She went to school till 2nd grade.
Mynor Leonel is 12yrs old. He went to school only till 1st grade. He has been working since helping the family. He is working cutting and picking coffee. He earns $5 US per week.
Luis is 11yrs old. He is in first grade.
Mayly is 5yrs old. She is in kindergarten.
Marta Elisa is 4yrs old.
Wilson David is 13 months old.
The mother is Marta Elisa , 33yrs old. She did not have the chance to go to school and does not know how to read or write.
She washes clothes by hand in private houses and earns $8 US per week when she can get the work.
The money that the family is now earning is not enough for them to cover their costs.
Often they have to go into the mountains and find herbs to eat. Their main diet now is tortillas with salt.
They own the house they live in. It is in very bad shape. They have one room made of cement block. They have one dilapidated kitchen made of tin ...photographed above.
They pay $7 US per month for electricity.\
They do not have water connected and have to go to the lake to bring drinking water and wash their clothes.
The lake is now suffering pollution and people are advised not to drink from it but this family cannot afford to buy drinking water.
They do not have an onil stove.
They cook over a wood burning stove.
They have two chairs.
They have one table.
They have two beds but it is a hard plank bed that does not have a mattress. The other bed is a wire base but they do not have any mattress . This is the one the children are sitting on.
The floor is dirt.
They do not have drainage.
They have not been able to afford to connect the water or to buy a pila, which is a 2 sided sink and an essential part of a Guatemalan household.
The father will be released from the hospital shortly and his situation is very desperate.
The family does not have enough to eat. The living conditions are very unsanitary.
They need beds, food, clothing, the floor needs cementing, they need the water connected and they need to have a water filter. The father will need medical support if he is going to be able to survive with the care that he will receive at home.
This family was living very hand to mouth before this accident but now their situation is very, very difficult.
If anyone can help with any of these needs for this family, it would be a huge blessing for them.

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Coffee hit by Global Warming.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fun for the San Jorge Pre-school.!

Today the children from the Mayan Families Pre-school in San Jorge, Guatemala went on a big excursion! We picked them up at and brought them to Panajachel. 26 very excited children and two teachers.

We had permission to use the playground at Casa Contenta which is a government building used for recreation for government employees. We have to make an application to be able to use it and we can have access for approx. 3 hours .

The children of San Jorge had never seen such a wonderful sight!! When they walked into the gardens their faces were just a delight to see. It was like walking into Disneyland for them.

In a flash I had nearly 15 backpacks being thrown at me while they ran off as quickly as they could to climb, swing and jump!

We had a breakfast of fresh bread with beans and juice waiting for them. Before they went home we gave them an oatmeal drink called "mosh" and fruit.

After three hours of almost non stop running and playing it was a very tired and very happy group of children that climbed onto the bus to go back to San Jorge.

We would like to bring the children to the park once a month. It costs us $40 US to rent the bus to bring them down. If anyone would like to sponsor a trip for the children to come down to the would be a great help for us and a real joy for the children.

To see more photos please go to this link :
To see a video of the children having a lot of fun please go to the link below:

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Teachers on Strike in Guatemala.

Teachers have been striking thoughout the country hoping to receive a pay increase.
Main roads have been blocked for several days. See the link below.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Medical clinic, San Jorge la laguna.

Every year the organization , Helps, comes to the University in Solola to do a big medical clinic. They operate and they perform many miracles.
Helps has asked us for the past three years to organize clinics for them in San Jorge.
They like to give the medical team a chance to experience what it is like to be in the rural villages.
We are always happy to accomodate and arrange a clinic for this group.
We had only a few days notice but there were plenty of people who turned up for the clinic.
We even drove twice to San Jorge taking patients from Panajachel who thought that they needed to put on the list for an operation.
This is the first year that all we have done is to take the tables, sheets, chairs, advertise and organize and the clinic . Usually , we staff the clinic all day with Mayan families employees. But this yearGloria and Vicente from Mayan Families stayed half day to make sure all was going well, then they left it in the hands of members of the Womens group. We are very pleased to say that the women from the Womens group were very comfortable translating Kakchiquel to Spanish and were very helpful to the doctors. '
It is really great to know that they have had enough experience now with medical groups that they felt very confident to be able to do it by themselves. It is great to be working ourselves out of a job!

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Babies getting milk.

These young toddlers who both identified as underweight and malnourished.
They have been on the milk program for some time now and both look much better.
Thank you for any donations to the Food and Milk Program.
As you can see they are very gratefully received!
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

School in Tierra Linda, Guatemala

Thanks to funding from Paso por Paso the school in Tierra Linda is getting a much needed retaining wall built. The school was built on a slope and right on the edge of the property.
There was a danger of the land slipping away without a strong retaining wall being built.

Thanks to Paso por Paso which is a small but very active Canadian registered charity.
It was founded by retired school teachers who were appalled by the conditions that the teachers here in Guatemala have to work.

Over several years now, working with Mayan Families, Paso por Paso has made huge strides in improving the conditions at the Tierra Linda school.

Thank you Paso por Paso for all you are doing for the children of Tierra Linda.

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More photos from Carnaval in Panajachel, Guatemala!

Here are more photos from Carnaval at the Mayan Families Pre-school in Panajachel.
The children really enjoyed getting dressed up and then having lots of good food to snack on.

If you have old Halloween costumes please think about sending them to us...the children love to use these costumes and as you can see some of the parents use their imagination to make costumes as best they can. Any costumes are really appreciated!

They had a dance contest, a costume contest and then we gave a prize to each child because they all looked so great!

To see more photos please go to this link:

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Families in Guatemala.

This week here are some of the families in Guatmala who received much needed help with food, beds, typewriters for school, medicines, clothing and even birthday cakes!

Many of these families lives have been greatly improved by your generosity.
Thank you so much for reaching out to help.
To see more photos please go to this link below:

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jagni's grandfather passes away.

Jagni's grandfather died this morning. He died at home of cancer. The family could not afford to get medical attention for him. Apart from the family being devastated they are also very worried because they do not have the money to pay for the coffin. It is approx. $200 US to be able to pay for the basic coffin. If anyone would want to help them with even a little money towards this huge cost for them , it would be very gratefully received.

Here are the details of Jagni and her family.
Jagni is 6yrs old. She is in kindergarten. Her birthday is October 29th.
She lives in the coastal town of Patulul. She lives with her mother, Maria, 31yrs old. Maria is a single mother. The father left when Maria was pregnant with Jagni.
Maria works as a domestic in a private house. She earns $2.60 US per day. She does not have work every day. Sometimes it is only 2-3 days a week.
Jagni's grandfather works on a finca. ( a large farm). The finca gives him a house to live in as long as he is working there. Jagni lives there with her mother, grandmother and grandfather.
It is one room made of tin sheeting. The floor is cement.
They have an outside kitchen, half made of tin sheeting and half of bamboo.
The floor is dirt.
They have four beds.
They have water and electricity connected.
They cook over four cement blocks with an open fire.
They have an onil stove.
They have a water filter.
They have a pila but it is broken.
They have two closets. The rest of their clothes they keep in sacks.
They do not have a table or chairs.
Jagni was born one of twins but her sister died when she was two months old. Jagni has very delicate health and is often ill. The family does not have money to take her to a doctor.

Guatemalan President visits U.S.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Children from the orphanage receiving shoes!

The children from the local orphanage are nearly all sponsored by Mayan Families to go to school.
They came down this week to get their shoes to go to school.
They were very excited to have new shoes for school and there were lots of hugs all round!
There are still two children on the website from the orphanage that need sponsoring.
Please go to and click on sponsor a student to see our waiting students.

To see the rest of the happy faces please go to this link:

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Cabinets to San Jorge school, Guatemala!

These cabinets have been made by Wayne from Canada. He has been working very hard here now for over a month teaching several young men from Mayan Families the carpentry and building trade.
He has now supplied these cabinets to many schools and we are so thrilled to be able to put them in classrooms where they have nowhere to store their books and supplies.

It is a wonderful job Wayne is doing giving these to the classrooms but he is teaching these young men a trade that will be able to help them all their lives.
He has taught them a lot about work ethics. These are young men who do not have a father and Wayne has given them a lot of advice and a lot of inspiration.

Wayne has also been joined by another volunteer builder, Michael from Florida and a friend of Wayne's , Graham has joined them for a few days.

These are simple cabinets but they mean so much to the teachers who are receiving them. They have had nowhere to store their books, papers etc.

Thank you so much to Wayne, Michael and Graham!

To see more photos please go to this link :
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Women eke out a living in an informal economy.

Once again, this article shows how important it is for young girls to be receiving an education.
We still have many children waiting for school sponsorship....if you would like to sponsor a child please go to our

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waynes donation of an Ultrasound machine

This is Wayne from Canada and three of his sons in the background dropping off a donated Ultra Sound machine that they brought with them all the way from Canada, to the Centro Salud in Panajachel, Guatemala . Mayan Families and the whole community wish to Thank Wayne, his family and friends who worked so hard to bring all of these wonderful donations down from Calgary, plus all of the work here and in the surrounding villages he has done! Wayne is just amazing!
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Crossing the Guatemalan Border with the Donated Ambulance, Wayne and the Canadians

These are the photos of Mayan Families personal, Dwight and Julio along with two Bomberos Paramedic - Firefighters going to the Mexican - Guatemalan Border.
This is were we met Wayne and his three sons.
They drove down from Canada an Ambulance with very low kilometers - mileage on it, a 20ft trailer full of gear, full of donated goods and his Mazda pickup with a Camper shell loaded up with donated goods also. We needed the Bomberos Voluntarios - Volunteer Fire Department - Paramedics - First

Responders to assist with
the paperwork.