Thursday, July 29, 2010

Climate Extremes fuels hunger in Guatemala.

This is a very interesting article.
Climate extremes fuels hunger in Guatemala.
Click here:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Food to Guatemala!

Thanks to Lisa Crawford, American Airlines, Miracles in Action , Juan Carlos Cheves from the Rotary Club Sur in Guatemala City, 19,000 meals were delivered to Mayan Families to distribute in Guatemala to families in need.
We gave 11,000 meals out in Maria Tecun, an area of Pixabaj, badly affected by the mudslides on Friday.
Lisa who had spent two days in the city with Dwight from Mayan Families and Juan Carlos Cheves arranging to have the food released from Customs was so happy to see the food go into the hands of the people who needed it. Thank you Lisa for all your hard work and thank you to everyone who made this possible.
We also gave out a lot of clothes, shoes and blankets. To see more photos please go to this link.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Claudia!

Today we had a very busy day giving out food and clothes in Pixabaj. An area very badly devastated by Tropical Storm Agatha. Coming back to the office we had the fun of celebrating Claudia's 12 th birthday with her. Claudia was thrilled that her sponsor, Lisa Crawford who had arranged this wonderful delivery of dried food for us, was here to celebrate her birthday.
Ely, Dwight, Aleeya and I accompanied Claudia, her grandmother and Lisa to dinner at Guayimbo's .
Claudia and her grandmother had the largest portion of chicken I have ever seen. They couldn't eat it all and have taken the rest home to eat for the next few was enormous.! Claudia and her grandmother often do not have anything to eat so this was a huge treat for them. Lisa had arranged a birthday cake and Chris, the musician played the piano and sang Happy Birthday to Claudia.
Claudia was overcome with joy and had happy tears streaming down her face. ( either that or she was so embarrassed that we had done this to her!!!)
Claudia is an orphan whose mother committed suicide and her father abandoned her. Her grandmother makes bananas filled with beans to sell ......this is a very tiny amount of money that she makes and this is all that they have to live on. The staff at Mayan Families bought Claudia this traditional blouse for her birthday. She is a very special little girl and we are really happy to have shared this special day with her.
This was a very magical day for Claudia, cake, presents, her Madrina, Lisa here . She is photographed here with her grandmother, my daughter, Aleeya, myself and Lisa, her sponsor. Lisa and I were both weary from being in Pixabaj but the happiness Claudia had was so contagious! Thank you Lisa for making this such a special day for Claudia.
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More landslides, more volcano problems!

More rain, more landslides.
Click here:

Volcano danger.
Click here too:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A father's letter to his son..a Guatemalan tragedy.

This beautiful, heartbreaking letter was written by our friend, Tom Heaton to his son, Jose . It was read at his memorial service. Tom's son, Jose, 19yrs old was shot to death in a robbery in Guatemala city 9 days ago. A senseless shooting that took away another young life.

Dear José,

It has been just over a week since I received the news of your death. I played back the message on my answering machine three times to make sure I heard everything correctly. I could not believe the words of George, a pastor in the neighborhood where you lived when I heard them. Jose is dead. It was the call I had dreaded would come for months. I shared the news with Manuel who immediately broke into tears.

There is so much that was left unsaid between us. I am certain I will continue to search for answers until my dying days. I was glad we were able to talk briefly on the phone just a few days earlier and both say, “I love you.”

Your life, especially your early years, was filled with such tragedy, and you had so many questions of your own that were never answered.

I am sure you must have wondered many times why you had to go live in the orphanage while your younger sister, Bea, got to live with family members. Although you were loved and cared for at Hogar Miguel Magone, it still isn’t the same as being loved and cared for by a family. I looked the other day at the picture of your birth mother holding you when you were around two years old. I too wonder why you ended up in the orphanage. I wonder why your birthfather never claimed you or Bea to be his children. I am sure it hurt you deeply that your aunt and grandmother cared for your sister while you lived away from them. I am also sure that you went to the orphanage because they loved you and wanted to make sure you were cared for… and you were.

I am also sure that the tragic murder of your mother affected you far deeper than I could ever know.
Still, I will never forget the first day we met at Fundaninos orphanage. You had no idea what was going on, but the smile on your face charmed me right away. I know after we left, Vilma told you that I wanted to adopt you. After spending some more time together while we were in Guatemala, I am so glad you said yes. I think we still have the fastest Guatemala adoption on record. It was 45 days from the time my paperwork entered the system until the signature went on the paper making you Jose Luis Heaton. You told me that you never dreamed anyone would want to adopt a 12 year old boy.

Our family did not turn out how I had dreamed. Your life did not become what I had hoped it would be. But nonetheless, we were still a family. I am grateful that I was able to provide for you experiences and opportunities you would not have had otherwise.

I remember the fast friendship you formed with Aaron Shaffer when you first arrived in Nashville, Indiana. You both remained close to each other’s hearts even at great distances. Friends like Aaron are a blessing.

I remember the fears you had spending the first night in your new bedroom. It never occurred to me that you had never slept in a room by yourself before.

I remember the first time you met my father, your grandpa, and the love you had for him… and how angry you got at me when I got frustrated at him.

I remember the joy on your face and the hours upon hours you and Manuel played together in your first snowfall.

I remember our first Christmas and the joy on your face and your amazement at how well I had hidden the gifts… especially your bicycle. You told me you were certain, since nothing was under the tree, that Santa wasn’t coming that Christmas.

I remember the joy on your face when I arrived to pick you up at school and had Dawn, our first dog, in the car. She slept right beside your bed every night and loved to run with you as you rode your bicycle. I saw her the other day. She is very old now, but doing okay.

Family vacations will never be the same. I will always remember the fun at the beach and the skim boards on the sand. And, your amazement, that you were actually seeing space shuttles and rocket ships when we visited Kennedy Space Center. And even the joy and laughter visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

I loved to watch you skateboard and how quickly you took to it. I still wish you would have worn a helmet.

Cheering for you as you wrestled for Brown County and Tompkins was so much fun.

I remember the pain in your face when you told me the phone call from your aunt in Guatemala, that came to the Old North Parsonage, was news of your older brother Johnny’s murder. How we struggled to get you a ticket for the next morning so you could fly down to be there for the funeral.

But watching you play soccer was probably my greatest joy. I remember how frustrated you were in the early recreation leagues in Brown County and Columbus. The other kids were so busy watching their feet and would never look up to see you open and pass you the ball. Remember that fantastic corner kick that went right in the goal when you were in middle school and we played against Mt. Vernon? I am pretty convinced that the opportunity to play soccer was the only thing that kept you passing classes the first two years of high school.

In high school, when you would disappear days at a time, I would sleep with the phone by head each night in hopes that you might call and ask me to come and get you.

Through all of this we were family and I loved you.

I want you to know that I will never forget what you said when we traveled back to Guatemala about two years after the adoption. As the plane flew over Guatemala City and began to land at the airport, you looked at me and said, “We are home.” I realized then that you were a young man torn between two worlds.

When it became painfully obvious to me that you were not going to graduate high school and that you were constantly in and out of trouble, I knew something had to happen. I still laugh when I think of how you tried to convince me that you were doing your best… yet still managed to fail Spanish 1. Deciding to have you return to Guatemala to live was one of the most painful moments in my life. Yet, you were pulled between two worlds. I cried silently for days. You seemed to know that it was your best option. And because of your fluency in English you were able to make a living and live independently… which is what you longed for since you were 15.

I do not know the circumstances around what happened on that bus that caused you to get shot. I do not know if you were in a gang and it was gang related. I do not know if you provoked someone in some way. I do not know if you were just an innocent bystander. Your friend Hector called me the other night in tears about your death. I hope to see him when I return to Guatemala City to learn if he can tell me more. Until I can learn something more, I think I will always wonder. I also hope to see your sister, Bea, too. Yes, I will take the shoes for her that you asked me to buy. Black All Stars size 6.

Jose, I also want you to know that so many of your characteristics, which caused you so much trouble, I also appreciated. You never failed to speak your mind… especially when you thought someone was stupid. There are many people who have crossed my path in life that I wish I could have kindly told them exactly what I thought. I know it always puzzled you that I didn’t.

You had an enthusiasm for life and lived each day to its fullest. I told someone one time that everything about you seemed to be loud and energetic. People definitely knew when you entered the room.

I was hoping that somehow I could help prevent your life from ending so tragically like your mother’s life and your older brother Johnny’s life. Again, another hope bubble has burst.

The reality is beginning to set in that I will never see your huge smile and hear your laugh again… that I will not be there when you are married and get to hold your first child… my grandchild. That we will not take some of the trips together that we dreamed about. You know walking the streets of Panajachel again will be very painful, because I see faces like yours almost every day.

I do pray that Heaven is what you thought it would be. I pray that your mother was there to greet you with a huge warm embrace. I pray that the mother’s love that you so longed for but never had was fulfilled on that day. I hope that you and Johnny are now laughing together… and you finally got to teach him how to ride a skateboard. I hope that you are getting to make that huge vertical drop on your skateboard that you always feared. I hope and pray that one day we will meet again in Heaven, and you will greet me with a loving embrace and all the unanswered questions will be answered.

I remember one time, in a fit of frustration; I looked at you and said that I was certain God had a special place for me in Heaven because I had been your father. I regretted it the moment it left my lips. But you smiled and laughed and looked at me and said, “you are probably right again dad.”

I know that our lives together were complicated. I want you to know that I apologize for the mistakes I made and where I failed you. But I did the best I could. What a blessing from God it was for me to be your father. I am so grateful that God’s hand brought us together. Jose, I love you without question and I know you know that. I will never forget when you told me that I was probably the only person who ever really loved you. I am grateful that one small gift I could give you was that of a father’s unconditional love.

If I can find a way to keep in touch with them, I want to promise you that I will do whatever I can to make sure your sister Bea and your friend Hector have their basic needs met. I do not have all the money that you seemed to think I do, but I will do the best I can.

There is so much more I want to say to you. But there will always be things left unsaid. When you died… a piece of me died as well. I know that life will go on. That I will laugh again. But it will never be the same without you here. I know I will think of you every day.

Jose, “Te quiero mucho. Gracias por ser mi hijo.” “I love you very much. Thank you for being my son.

Donations in honor of Jose can be made to the Mayan Families/ Casa Hogar Feliz, " Casa de Jovenes".. a new home that we have opened for boys from the age of 12 -18yrs old.

High Schoolers Build School Infrastructure with Recycled Trash

Thanks to Mayan Families Donors for making it possible for these high school students to give back to their own community.
The ICI High school students wrote us this thank you note:

Hello from the High School students from the Institute of Computers and Information. We are sending you these photos of our project in which we placed the eco-blocks (of recycled material) and then stuccoed the walls for a school store in Panajachel. We are very appreciative of all your help, as well as with Edy (the health project coordinator) and you for receiving all the messages and also for all the staff at Mayan Families for connecting us with the foreign visitors, who came to see our project.
We were so happy your work allowed us to communicate with them despite the language barrier. Please let them know we are so thankful from the bottom of our hearts. And God bless them. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Mayan families donors donated some of the construction material, and the elementary students filled thousands of plastic bottles with plastic trash, packed full. Then they coordinated and built the school store with these eco-blocks, and stuccoed on top. This building will serve over 500 students who attend this public school in Pana for years to come. Great teamwork!

Book Fair to help Children in Guatemala.!

Daphne, a long time supporter of Mayan Families is doing a book drive to benefit the children of Guatemala. This can also benefit your own children or grandchildren.....please look at the books you can buy and by buying a gift for your children, this gift will give twice. Please help us bring books to the children in the Highlands of Guatemala.....please spread the word so others can help as well.
Here is Daphne's letter below:

I have created an Usborne Book Fair to benefit Mayan Families.

Please go to the link below, and click on "Mayan Families" under Active e-Fairs.
There is a Spanish book wish list, which I believe have the better content, and
quality, and value. However, if you see a Spanish book not on the Wish List,
you may choose it too. Once you get to the check-out, choose "Ship to
Organization – Mayan Families", and the shipping will be free. There is also no
sales tax.

If you would like to shop for your family, while benefiting this Book Fair, just
click on "Mayan Families" under Active e-Fairs and begin your shopping. You
will choose shipping to your home. There are many great books to choose from.
My suggestion is type "Combined Volume" in the search bar and see what gets
pulled up. Those books are more bang for your buck, because they have three or
more stories in one book… saving you up to 50%. Also, the new "Kid Kits" are
fun. They have a book and activity set in each kit.

The Book Fair will be open until July 28th. Then the books will make it to the
Boston mini-shipment the first week of August, and on their way to Guatemala.

Remember, $200-$499 in total sales receive an additional 25% in free books.
$500+ will be an additional 50% in free books. I will keep everyone updated on
our progress. Please pass the link along to those you think might be

Thank you for considering supporting this Book Fair. I have seen first hand (as
many of you have) the JOY of handing a book to a child in need, and the JOY of
the receiving school. It opens an entire new world to them.
UPDATE: Total sales as of 7/22, $166.54

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dental Clinic in Panajachel.

On friday we were very grateful to the Salud y Paz team of dentists who came to work with us. They were able to see over 60 patients. They were also able to do fillings as well as extractions and that was just fantastic.
Thank you to the great team of Salud y Paz. We look forward to working with you again.

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Our winning team!

Our pre-school team of basketball players came in third place in the sports tournament that was held last week in Panajachel. The team is photographed with their teacher , Luki and our daughter, Zoe who is an assistant coach. The children's team are part of the Mayan Families Kids and Teens Sports Program and are having classes every Wednesday morning with a coach and are hoping next tournament to bring home the cup!
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Water filters in Guatemala.

Distributing water filters in El Barranco, Guatemala. These water filters were donated by the Huehuetango Rotary Club. We received 293 water filters to give out to people who are desperate to have clean drinking water.
Thanks to George Lewis from the Florence Rotary Club, thousands of water filters have been distributed here in Guatemala.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

water filters in El Barranco, Guatemala.

Today we delivered nearly 200 water filters to El Barranco, Solola.
These water filters will provide clean drinking water. The women were so grateful to have clean drinking water for their families.

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San Antonio Palopo....will get a new school!

Thank you is not enough to say to everyone who worked so hard on the Chase Community Giving Fundraiser through Facebook........but thanks to you, Miracles in Action was able to gain 84th place!!!! This was made possible by so many people working together and a small band of people who worked long hours contacting as many people as they could begging them to cast a vote that would enable Miracles in Action to win the $20,000 US gift. Miracles in Action also had a very wonderful donor who offered to match this grant if they won the first $20,000.US. So now, there is $40,000 US to help the children of Guatemala. Thank you to all of you who voted, who asked others to vote, who posted on your facebook, emailed, twittered and pushed this very worthy cause.
Mayan Families is honored to be able to partner with Miracles in Action on this project. This is a wonderful example of how everyone working together can make a difference!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

San Antonio Palopo Pre-school Guatemala.

Yesterday there was a mother's meeting at the pre-school/afterschool program in San Antonio Palopo. We asked the mothers if they were happy with the pre-school, if they approved of the teacher and if they liked the food that the cook was making for the children. It was an opportunity for the mother's to express their ideas and desires for their children.
We were delighted to hear that the women were very happy with everything that was happening at the center and that they were very appreciative of the help that they were receiving for their children.
After the meeting all the children lined up for shoes and clothing. Many of these children had lost everything in the mud slides. Two of the mothers had lost two children each , their bodies have not been found.
Several volunteers went out to the center to help distribute the shoes and clothing. Carmen, who has been volunteering for Mayan Families since we began was there sorting shoes.
To see more photos please go to this link.
click here

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Emergency food being distributed in Guatemala.

We are very grateful that we were able to distribute food to the people who need it most.
Thanks to your donations , these families and many, many more like them are able to have a meal. The situation in Guatemala is not getting better. There is more need than ever for food. Prices are rising, jobs are scarce and people are suffering after all the problems Guatemala has been experiencing. We need your help more than ever to be able to help ....if you would like to feed a family, please go to our website at

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San Antonio Pre-school in Guatemala.

The San Antonio Palopo pre-school is in full swing. The children enjoyed lots of visitors yesterday, crafts, good food and fruits. We are also lucky to have Stephanie, a RN Pediatric nurse and her husband, Mike. They have been going to the pre-schools and doing a health check on the children. Taking weights, heights ,checking throats, ears etc.
We have found a few children who need medical attention and are very grateful to Stephanie and Mike for their help.

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