Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Finally, my computer and internet are talking to each other again!!
We have been really busy unpacking all the amazing and wonderful things in these boxes.
So many great things!!! I just cannot tell you how precious these donations are.
We have several volunteers here right now unpacking all the boxes, sorting the shoes into boys, girls, men and women and as soon as it stops raining we will be able to start giving them out.
We gave out a pair of gym shoes to all the children in the Pana pre-school because they are starting to play soccer and they needed tennis the shoes arrived just in time!
We sent Leonardo's box over to him the same day we unpacked it but we didn't find all of the boxes till later. So he has more to go.
Juan went to deliver building materials to Ana Culan"s family and to Leonel Culan's family and then to deliver food to a family in Patulul....he was waiting in the pick up with Fernando - many of you know Fernando ...the driver who often works for Mayan Families and his blue pick up. ....anyway they were waiting to cross the road which was already a little flooded but cars were still passing, they were next to go when a huge surge in the river came and the car in front of them was stranded in a very fast flowing river. All the people had to be pulled out by rope, the car eventually got out of the river, but Juan and Fernando were stranded . They spent the night in a village and waited till the river receded the next day.

It has been raining here heavily for the past few days. Last night it was torrential rain. Everyone is looking nervouosly at the already rising river. The huge mounds of dirt and rocks that the govt. had pushed up against the river beds has already been eaten away and we have heard that the river is eating away at the foundations of our house again. We haven't seen it yet but I am sure that it is probably happening. The tuk tuk bridge fell away again and people are looking apprehensively at the newly repaired bridge.

We have a family here who is volunteering to paint the pre-school tomorrow. They are an Australian family who will be here for a few days. The mother is an we feel very lucky to have her start this project.

In the meantime , though we are so grateful for every single item in these boxes. They are going to make a great many people happy!
Thank you for all the hard work that you went to shopping, packing, shipping and paying for all this.
It is very, very much appreciated! !

Please help the San Antonio school.

All of you may remember that Sharon talked about the need for rebuilding the San Antonio school that was wiped out by mudslides during Agatha. Miracles in Action, a group that has worked with Mayan Families before, has agreed to give the money to Mayan Families to monitor the rebuilding of the school if they win a grant from Chase Community Giving. To win, they need the most votes and this is where we can help! Its very easy to vote - you just need a Facebook page and you can access the voting by going to this page: http://apps. facebook. com/chasecommuni tygiving/ charities/ 731728299- miracles- in-action- inc?src=charity- details-wall- post-self&ref=mf Just follow the directions for voting - there is no malicious issues behind "liking" a group on Facebook (which is the principle idea of voting - you are "liking" the Chase Community Giving FB page).. One charity will receive $250k, 4 runners-up will receive $100k, 195 others will receive $20k. As many people as we have on here, and if we forward to people we know, we can win this and get the school built for the kids in San Antonio! Every vote will count....please help the children of San Antonio Palopo.

Some very happy students !

These are some of the very happy faces who received gifts from their sponsors this week!
Please go to the link to see the rest of the photos...
And also this link as well...more photos

Thank you to all the sponsors who were able to send gifts to their students. After all the difficulties that people have been through this month with Tropical Storm Agatha, these gifts were a big bright spot in their lives!

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Happiness is a dry diaper!

This single mother is living in an emergency shelter after the house she and her extended family were renting. She was so happy to receive some clean diapers for her baby. She has nowhere to wash diapers and with the rain, even if she did, they probably wouldn't dry.
Thank you to the people who were able to send down so many diapers, both disposable and cloth....they are so, so appreciated!!!!
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Good News!

Hi friends,
I thought it was about time for some good news!
This is something that we have been working on for some time but we didn't want to announce it until we knew for sure that we would be able to go ahead with it.....and then with everything that has happened here for the past few weeks, it took a back seat.

Many of you are aware that we have had a long relationship with the orphanage in San Andres ....Casa Hogar Feliz...which means Happy Home.
This is a small orphanage that was founded about 6 years ago by a Norwegian woman, Un Lisbet. She purchased a home, turned it into an orphanage, married a local Guatemalan man and they have now adopted one child from the orphanage and are in the process of adopting three more.

Earlier this year, she came to us and told us that she wanted to move back to Norway.That she and her husband would be taking their four children as soon as their adoptions were finished. She asked us if Mayan Families would take over running the orphanage.
There are currently 18 children in this orphanage . The ages that the orphanage works with is 3yrs to 15yrs old.
It turned out that if Mayan Families could not take over management of the orphanage then it would have to close down. Most of the children there have lived there for many years now and we didn't want them to lose their home.We have sponsored all the children to go to school for a long time now. Also this area is in great need of an orphanage and this is the only one working in this area now.
So after much deliberation ( mostly on the side of Dwight and Patti - I was ready to go from the moment Lisbet spoke to us!) we decided that we could not let the orphanage close and that we would take over management. It was made much easier because Olga, the social worker who has worked for Mayan Families and has been the Director for Casa Hogar for several years now agreed that she would stay on and be the manager. The "tia"who has worked there has been there for five years and she has also agreed to stay. Lisbet has said that her supporters in Norway have agreed that they will keep supporting the orphanage and that Lisbet herself will try to raise money when she goes back to Norway.
So...the problem that has been most in the heart of Lisbet and Olga is the fact that when the children turn 15 ( particularly the boys , the girls seem to be allowed to stay) is that legally the boys have to leave the orphanage. There are no really good places that we are aware for them to go. This seems like a particularly vulnerable and dangerous time to turn young boys out on the street. There are two boys who have already aged out of the orphanage and the orphanage has rented them rooms and they go to school and then come to the orphanage to eat their meals three times a day.
This is not an ideal situation at all.
So we have been worrying about this situation for some time and how to solve it.
Lisbet had asmall hotel with about 10 rooms. It is not a fancy hotel, more of a hospedaje, but it is very homey and comfortable. Shared bathrooms and a nice outside area.
She wanted to sell it before she went back to Norway. We talked about how we could possibly buy it from her for a home for older boys. Lisbet needed the money from the sale to be able to buy a home when she goes back to Norway.
So as miracles often happen...... .a woman from a trekking company contacted me because she was trying to get in touch with Lisbet. Kids for Trekking organizes treks around the world and they end each trek with going to an orphanage. Each participant raises $1,000 US and they give it to the orphanage. They said there would be 20 participants, that would mean a donation of $20,000 to the orphanage. I explained to her that we needed to buy this hotel for a home for older boys. The sale price is $40,000 US. After many emails back and forth....the organization chose to support our proposal.

Not only that but they have sent a generous donation to be able to equip the home with a new t..v., dvd player, closets, blankets, a ping pong table, several computers... ..we are
very excited about this.

The orphanage license will be in the name of Casa Hogar Feliz. Mayan Families will own the home. Patti,Dwight, myself will be on the board of directors along with a friend that many of you probably know from other is Tom Heaton...from Mission Guatemala.
Tom is a Methodist minister who has been living in Pana for the past year and who we have become very good friends. We all admire the work he has been doing and he is a wonderful person. He is also very excited about this project and we have many plans to be able to have a vocational center for the boys ...who will be aged between 12 and 18yrs old.

Casa Hogar Feliz por Jovenes..... ...youth. ...will be opening next week!

Un Lisbet is happy for us to pay off the rest of the building as we can. It has all come together so well that I am sure that it is a good omen.

When I read the bio's and photos that Un Lisbet sent me of the boys who will be in the boys home, the thing that struck me most was that each boy was very concerned about where they would go when they aged out and they are no so relieved that they have a place to call home where they will receive support. No child should have to worry about where they will go to live.

We are excited about these new projects and hope that you will also be pleased.
We of course, welcome any visits that you would like to make and as always your very valued input and support.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Culan Family...home is growing!

Ana Culan and her family are so thrilled about their new home! It will be a house that will keep out the rain and the wind. The children will be safe and warm , they will not be lying on wire frames huddled under wet blankets because all the rain is flooding into the shambles of a shelter they lived in before. Thanks to the very generous donations we received this family will be soon living in a decent home. It is going to totally change their lives!
They are currently sleeping on the floor of the mother's house while they wait for their house to be finished.
Their situation would have been so miserable this wet season if they had not received this incredible gift.
It is only two small cement block rooms but to them it is a palace!

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Cultural traditions strong even after death.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Maria Tecun ,Guatemala.

Mayan Families giving out food in an area of Solola called Maria Tecun. In this area 383 families lost their homes.
This is the line for men who were receiving clothes. Thanks to donations we have received we were able to give out shoes, socks, pants ,t.shirts and shirts.
There was a lot of demand for food in this area and they keep asking us if we can bring more food to them.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Road to San Andres...from Panajachel, Guatemala.

Many of you who have visited have experienced the stomach churning fear of passing over the San Andres Bridge ....well, it no longer exists. It was washed away in a torrent of water, mud and rocks. This is what it now looks like.
Three Mayan Families staff members cross this bridge twice a day. They take a pick up to where the road is blocked, cross over this huge mess and then take a pick up on the other side down to Panajachel. The three of them go through this trek every day to get to work and the amazing thing is that they are always punctual!

They are always concerned when it rains as they fear a mudslide or the dirt below them just falling away as they cross it.

Mayan Families staff members, Susie and Roberto went with volunteer,Thomas to welcome the "Trekking for Kids" group to the Hogar "Casa Feliz".

We are hoping that the govt. will be able to repair this road and bridge for the people of San Andres and Panajachel.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Families receiving food in Guatemala today.

These are some of the families that sponsors sent food.
To see more photos please click on this link!

Also this link will take you to more photos and there are some photos of the children receiving gifts from their sponsors and report cards being brought in.
Please Click Here! for the link.

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Dona Serapia

Dona Serapia is 80 yrs old. Her husband, Gustavo is 90 yrs old. Dona Serapia fell and has injured her elbow. Her husband fell a week later and is in the hospital with a hip broken in three places. He has also suffered a stroke. They cannot operate because of his age. Dona Serapia has five daughters who are all widows. They are all in their late 50's till mid 60's. They are not able to help her very much financially because they also are in very difficult financial situation. Dona Serapia needs help to have sufficient food to eat. She can still cook at home and likes to do her own cooking but she needs help to be able to buy her food. If anyone would like to help her, please make a donation for Dona Serapia by going to our website.. or click on the link below.
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San Antonio Pre-school Guatemala.

These are some of the children who have been going to the San Antonio Palopo pre-school and feeding program.
We have found a new location that will be a lot better and will have it for the next four months. In the meantime we will be looking for another permanent location.
The children are learning to brush their teeth. A first for many of them.
These children need a little fun after all the trauma that they have gone through.
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Destruction from Agatha in San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala!

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More rain and flooding in Guatemala.
Last night we were sandbagging again in our street to stop the flooding.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our New Offices in Panajachel!

We have been moving, painting, packing, unpacking and sorting for days. We have moved into our new offices . We have rented half of a private school that is in a very old house that was part of an original finca home in Panajachel. It is an old style Guatemalan home with lots of rooms. We have 7 of the rooms and we are told that in October the school will be moving out of the other half and we will be able to take over the whole location.
There is more space for everyone and one of the benefits is that we even have a basketball court...this is going to be great for the Mayan Families Kids and Teen's Sports Program. ....also the staff are thinking it is going to be good for lunchtime breaks.

Our phone number is the same.....(502) 7762 2490

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