Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Give a Young Girl Options

PLEASE! PLEASE! Consider sponsoring a girl in Junior High, High School, or even University in 2011!

Today's newspaper in Guatemala printed these statistics: Prensa Libre (

Sexually Active Youth:
The numbers of adolescents having sexual relations and the consequences are very alarming!

The following statistics have been registered just in 2010:
The young giving birth:
- 3,926 new mothers who gave birth this year were just 19 years old.
- 2,876 new mothers who gave birth this year were just  17 years old.
- 2,811 new mothers who gave birth this year were just 18 years old.
- 2,019  new mothers who gave birth this year were just 16 years old.

- 1,057  new mothers who gave birth this year were just  15 years old.

Pregnancies among children:  In the first 8 months of this year, 2010, there have been 680 pregnancies among girls 10 to 14 years old.  It is important to highlight that it is presumed that at least half of these pregnancies were the results of a rape.

▪ Premature Unions: Half of young women start a formal or consensual sexual relationship before their 20 years.
Alert!  Adolescents and young people (13-20) make up 69% of the population of Guatemala.

Narco News: Central American Immigrants: Between Survival and Torture

Narco News: Central American Immigrants: Between Survival and Torture

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beds and Water filters to Panabaj and Chuk Muk.

Mayan Families delivering mattresses and water filters to Panabaj and Chuk Muk.
Louise who is a long time supporter of Mayan Families had purchased these items to deliver herself but her elderly father had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital for surgery. Louise had to leave very quickly to be there for her family and Mayan Families delivered all the goods that she had purchased for her sponsored families. Louise, we wish your father all the best and hope he has a very speedy recovery.

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Walter turns 13!

Walter had a huge surprise for his birthday. His sponsor sent him a huge birthday cake to eat with the family.
This is the first birthday cake that Walter has ever had. He was just thrilled!
Walter's father died in 2008 and his mother has struggled to keep them going with just the little money that she earns backstrap weaving. Sometimes it is only $4 US per week.
When we started sponsoring Walter he had been diagnosed as malnourished which was no surprise as $4 us a week provides very little to eat.
Now that he has a sponsor Walter really enjoys going to school. He is only in 4th grade as his family could not afford to send him to school when he was younger but Walter is determined to keep on studying.

Walter also dances in our Folkloric troupe in El Barranco. He really enjoys it.

If you would like to sponsor a child and make a difference in their lives please go to our website ...
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Gifts of food!

Some of our families receiving a very wonderful gift of food this week. These gifts are so appreciated by these families. Many families are finding it very hard to have enough food for their families. There is little work, very little tourism and the prices of food are rising daily.

If you would like to give a gift of food to a family in need, please go to our website and click on donate .
Any amount is greatly appreciated!

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Elderly Feeding Program in Guatemala.

We have three wonderful volunteers, Ronnie, Stephanie and Jessica who are here with us for 6 weeks. They have been very busy working with several projects but the Elderly Feeding Program has been benefitting from their attention.

Ronnie has been visiting them daily, finding out the needs and providing medications .
Dona Lencha has broken a hip and is having a lot of pain and trouble walking. We have provided her with medication and a new walker to help her get around.

Dona Fransisca is deaf and does not speak much but she has a beautiful smile!
She is in need of adult diapers and thanks to the donations that we have received she is able to have them.
Her grandson, Jose David is a special needs young man and he also needs adult diapers.

Ronnie has been bringing a lot of joy to the Elderly during her visits. We are very grateful for all the work that she, Jessica and Stephanie are doing. The Elderly are in need of more support, we need medications and support for them. If you would like to sponsor an elderly person for a meal a day, it is just $3 US per day to provide a nourishing meal. Sometimes this is the only meal that they get all day.
To donate ...please go to our website, www.mayanfamilies and click on donate.
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Mayan Families is NGO of the month!

 Mayan Families is nominated as NGO of the month by Guatemalan NGO Network.

Thank you Guatemalan NGO network!

Tropical Storm Matthew.

This storm is looming over Guatemala now!

La Depresión Tropical 15 se ha fortalecido y se convirtió en la Tormenta Tropical Matthew, ubicándose a 700 kilómetros de Puerto Cabezas en Nicaragua con vientos máximos sostenidos de 65 kilómetros por hora, moviéndose en dirección Oeste, indica el Centro Nacional de Huracanes de Estados Unidos –CNH-.

De acuerdo con la información del CNH, en las próximas 48 horas se espera que continúe con la trayectoria y Matthew se localizará entre la frontera de Nicaragua y Honduras la tarde del viernes 24 de septiembre del presente año o en las primeras horas del próximo sábado 25 de los presentes.

Matthew continúa moviéndose hacia el Oeste. Fuente CNH

También se informa que se espera un fortalecimiento de la Tormenta durante las próximas 48 horas y podría llegar a convertirse en Huracán para el día sábado. Los vientos se extienden hacia fuera hasta 55 kilómetros desde el Centro.

La Secretaría Ejecutiva de la Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres –SE-CONRED-, en conjunto con el Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología –INSIVUMEH-, monitorean la evolución de la Tormenta Tropical Matthew y su posible trayectoria en el país.

Se recomienda a la población estar atenta a las indicaciones que las autoridades den a conocer a través de los medios de comunicación social y a la información que se traslade por medio de los mismos.


Hello everyone, 
I saw Laura (#1444) today, all smiles.  It's one of the first times I've seen her not in pain and holding her head to one side where her weak eye is.  She is actually not going to school this year (though she is well beyond the age when she should have started), but she needs sponsorship to help support our feeding program this year.  And we can most likely convince her family to put her in school in 2011 if we get a sponsor. 
Laura is so so sweet.  She was on her second helping of food, and another kid came in late.  Laura tried to sneakily give her plate to him, not realizing we still had food left to give him.  It was such a beautiful moment.  She was happy enough to get her plate back, and licked it clean. 
I can't begin to tell you how significant the feeding program is for the people of San Antonio.  The kids are so so hungry and so so grateful.  They do not let any stray noodle or piece of tortilla go to waste.  
This was one of the most satisfying days at the job, just watching these kids eat and eat and eat, slowly, steadily, happily, eating. 
Best wishes,


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Using the volcanoes for green energy!

This is an article about harnessing the energy of the volcanoes!

Calling All Adventuresome Volunteers

Sharon says all our blog readers need to share in a little local drama, so I have to tell you about my day, the day before yesterday. Thankfully, my partner, volunteer Appy, took everything in stride. We went with Juan, the construction manager, to Tierra Linda.

We first stopped by the preschool at Tierra Linda. The kids were working on the letter "O". The assignment that the kids were working on was to fill in a bubble letter "O" that was drawn on a piece of construction paper, using little cut up bits of yarn. They filled the "O" in with one color and outlined it with another.

Most of the kids were done and having some free play time. One little boy however, had covered his entire paper in glue and only glued down a few pieces of yarn. When we looked for this particular little boy, we found him lying down on one of the other tables. I guess daydreaming was more appealing than the letter "O"!

They were so cute and excited that we had stopped by. Two of the boys had these tops that they would wrap up with a string and then release down onto the ground where they would spin and then the kids would all take turns jumping over them.

Then, we went to see the 4th, 5th and 6th graders. I interviewed the teacher and many of the computer class students on their and the community’s reactions to the stolen computers. This robbery has left these students without a computer class, and the whole community further alienated from technology.

The teacher told the story quite dramatically, but the kids and parents had a difficult time expressing themselves, Spanish being their second language. Although their vocabulary was limited to saying how sad, how very sad, how very very sad everyone was-- they made it very clear, having a computer class was synonymous to them to having access to education at all. Without the computers, the students will be unable to pass their grades and in order to move on in school will be forced to make the trip to Solala or Panajachel-- a trip which many of them cannot afford.

Finally, we got the story on videos, including confessions from the boys that the teacher and the girls were actually in tears when they discovered the empty classroom.

Then, it started to rain, and we realized that we had missed most of the traffick of pickup trucks taking goods to the market, which we depended on to get us home. Eventually a neighbor offered to make a special trip just for us. We made it to Solola, where it was still pouring, and changed to a big bus to go to Panajachel.

Mind you -our valiant volunteer, Appy, Juan and I were thinking only of food, since it was almost 3 pm and we hadn’t eaten. The only thing that could and did distract us from food, were the rocks falling down the side of the mountain as we passed over a particularly scary part of road, where half the road has crumbled away and the remainder is literally being held up by wooden beams.

Almost immediately after we passed under the falling rocks, the road was closed for traffic.

But wait, there’s more. We soon heard a horrible sound on the back side of the bus. Everyone was on their feet thinking we were getting hit by a mudslide and asking the driver to keep going before more rocks fell. Turns out,a car had misjudged the curve and ran into the back wheel of our bus, totaling their car. Our bus only slightly skidded out, leaving us about a foot from the cliff's edge.

When we realized it wasn’t a mudslide, we stayed in the bus, out of the pouring rain, until another bus came, and we ran out the backside of one bus and jumped on another - - literally hanging out the door as it pulled away.

We made it home to Panajachel, in time, to wade through streets to the market. In the market, everyone was huddled around the back side of the market to see the back side of a mountain crumbling and sliding down in the rain. The neighborhood behind the market, had already been evacuated.

Appy did this all in flip flops by the way. So, this is a call for all volunteers who want a little adventure in Guatemala. If you're interested, now is the time. . .

Blanca and Ana.....

Yesterday was a very difficult day.
Blanca who is 11 yrs old and Ana who is 5yrs old and their three year old sister who is a special needs child were removed from their home and taken to the Family court. Their mother has been mistreating the little three year old for some time and has started beating her badly. Someone, thankfully, reported her and the children were removed. We did not know that she was beating the little one but we were aware that she did not care for her correctly and we were in the process, with another organization, of trying to find a safe place for the little one to go to. She does not talk and she does not walk. We really don't know the extent of her disabilities because it has been very difficult to have her mother, Isabel bring her regularly to her appointments. We have been supplying Isabel with milk and food for over two years now and she still remains malnourished. The mother sells the food even though we have done our best to make sure that the food gets home and to the children.

Yesterday , the social worker from Casa Hogar Feliz ( which is now managed jointly by Mayan Families and Tom Heaton from Mission Guatemala ) called to tell us that the family was in the court and that they needed somewhere to send the children. Casa Hogar Feliz does not have any more room until October 1st and so I agreed to have the two older children come to my home. The littlest one was already being sent to an orphanage for special needs children in Guatemala City. ( Casa Hogar Feliz - is not licensed to have special needs children in their care.)

I was willing to take the two girls but I called Gloria from Mayan Families and asked her to quickly go and see the children's grandmother who I knew was very attached to the children and is their main care giver. The grandparents went to the court and were awarded temporary custody until the following week.

The grandparents came to visit us later and they are so devastated. They are very worried about the littlest one going to the city.The grandmother was crying and shaking. The grandfather was very serious and humble. He said that he would work as much as he could for as long as he could. They don't know where she is and if they can even visit her. They probably have never been to the city and it is a huge expense and a very scary trip for them.

Their main concern is to not lose Blanca and Ana. We have arranged for Olga , the social worker to have an interview with them today at and she will be working with them to help them retain custody. The girls are scared and sad. They miss their little sister. They want to stay with the grandparents. The grandparents are in their early 60's. The grandfather works collecting trash . He doesn't earn enough money to be able to really support the family. The court will be looking at this. The grandparents were begging us to help them yesterday, they need help to be able to maintain the two girls. Both girls are sponsored , thank goodness!

Ana and Blanca are having a very hard time, they are scared about being removed from their grandparents. They wouldn't come with their grandparents because they were too scared that they would not be allowed to go home.
We are going to do all that we can to try and help the grandparents keep the children at home.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

After floods and eruption in Guatemala, thousands need food aid – UN

After floods and eruption in Guatemala, thousands need food aid – UN

Food aid arriving in southern Guatemala for victims of the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Agatha

21 September 2010 – Some 330,000 Guatemalans will need food aid over the coming months, just to be able to subsist, according to a new United Nations study.

“It is a challenge for the country and the international community that we must confront,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) representative Willem van Milink said yesterday of the small Central American nation, which has recently been swept by torrential rains, floods, deadly landslides and a volcanic eruption.

The study, carried out in August by the WFP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with Government and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners, found that 235,000 people need emergency food aid and a further 95,000, who are engaged in subsistence agriculture, require supplementary food aid.

Earlier this year Tropical Storm Agatha left a swath of destruction across the country, particularly in road communications, infrastructure, food security and livelihoods. The crisis was compounded by the eruption of Pacaya volcano.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Guatemala: UN agency hands out food to victims of landslides and floods

Terrible year for border crossings.

I understand the desperation of people from Guatemala who are trying to make a better life for their children.

After floods and eruption in Guatemala, thousands need food aid – UN

After floods and eruption in Guatemala, thousands need food aid – UN

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Independence Day Celebrations in Guatemala!

Independence Day was full of lots of music, explosions, marching and good spirits!
These are some of the parades that were held. Parades were held in every little town in Guatemala. It was a big day for many school students.
Usually, you can only participate in the band if you have good it is in an honor to be able to be asked to be in the band.
There will be a link below and you can check there to see lots of our sponsored students in these photos.

Vicente, one of our sponsored students who works at Mayan Families before school and during the vacations was so happy to have a musical instrument to play. He had been practicing for several weeks but did not know if he would get his own instrument. He was very proud to have this instrument.

Jaimie and Jonathon, two sponsored students who also work at Mayan Families, before school and on vacations were very happy to be in the parades . They both looked very handsome!

Lots of great costumes and bands!
comentarios para hi5
comentarios para hi5
comentarios para hi5
to see lots more here.
and this other link .
click here for the next link. which has a lot of the younger children in their parades.

This album has some real cute little ones in it. click here.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Buy a t.shirt and help Guatemala!

Hi, The link is now fixed. Please click here.

Happy Independence Day Guatemala!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shoes....lots of great shoes in Guatemala!

One of the results of the flooding and mudslides is that everyone's shoes are in bad shape. Many people only have one pair of shoes and the terrain here is rough enough of shoes but when there is a lot of mud and rain, the shoes just rot.
We want to thank everyone who has sent us shoes. As you can see from these smiles, everyone is very grateful to have new shoes. We were also able to provide new shoes for many of the children who had to go in parades this week. They needed black school shoes for boys and just black shoes for girls and many of the children were able to get the shoes that they needed.
To see more photos and hopefully to see your shoes being received, please go to this link
To make a donation to help families in need please go to

Floods spark Guatemala food crisis

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photos San Antonio Landslides