Saturday, January 29, 2011

Very successful spay and neuter clinic in Panajachel, Guatemala

Hi Everyone!  Quick update from the field.

Today we are having our monthly Hope for the Animals sterilization clinic. We had to stop accepting animals at 10:30 am, because we have so many. Today we have a grand total of 54 dogs and cats! So many that we have decided to have another clinic next week, where we will probably have another 40!!

We have a number of students working with us today: Omi 1662, his brother Heriberto 1663, Juan Jose 740, Felix 901. It is a pleasure to be working with them! They are all hard at work and are enjoying what they are doing. This is a great experience and gives them a view of what an education can provide.

Best wishes,


Four children and their grandmother in need.

Hi Everyone,

Limnie, Thayli, Kensy and Dexwell And Blanca Need Help.
Their Family Aid # is FA100.

Many of us know this family well and remember the night that Mayan Families 1st met them. Their story was heartwrenching.

Once again these children and their Grandmother Blanca need our help.

To read their story or or to help them, please visit,


Andrea lives with her grandparents.

  Andrea's mother abandoned her when she was only two months old, and her grandmother was too poor to buy her milk, Andrea grew up drinking coffee and sugar rather than anything with the vital nutrients the body and brain require to grow and develop properly. Today Andrea is the size of a girl around 6 or 7 years old even though in 2011 she will turn 15. Andrea is often very weak, and as is common in drastically undernourished children she is not doing well at school. She has been drastically malnourished her whole life, and to this day her diet is very lacking in nutrition.

Andrea and her grandparents lost their home to Hurrican Stan in 2005, but were fortunate to receive government housing to replace the house they lost - although it took until 2009 before it was actually complete and they could move in.

To read Andrea's story or to help her and her grandparents, please visit:




Spay and/or neuter animals in Guatemala!

Today Mayan Families is holding our regular monthly clinic to spay and neuter as many dogs and cats as possible.    Please bring along your dog , your cat, your neighbors dog or cat....any dog or cat you can find!  
Please help us reduce the amount of unwanted animals who are left to suffer and die on the streets every day. 
We do not charge but we do appreciate a donation to help with the costs.
If you would like to donate to spay or neuter an is only $20 US to help the animals here.

Thomas Russell....killed in plane crash in Guatemala.

Tom Russell was a very enthusiastic supporter of Mayan Families. He sponsored many children to go to school.   He had just renewed his sponsorship for these children again this year.
He was killed in a light plane crash in Santiago, Atitlan earlier this month.  Tom was a lovely man.  He was described below as the "most intelligent and kindest man" and that was my experience in my interactions with him.
I am very saddened by Tom's death ...he will be very much missed.
He definitely did make the world a better place.

Friends, family celebrate judge's life

Comments 1
The Telegraph
JERSEYVILLE — The Jersey County Circuit courtroom of former Jersey County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Russell was filled to capacity Friday afternoon for a celebration of life for the late jurist who died in a plane crash in Guatemala earlier this month.
Guatemalan authorities said that Russell, who retired from the bench early to serve the people of Guatemala, died when the plane he was piloting crashed in a mountainous region.
The news of the death of the 62-year-old was universally received with sadness and shock by all who had known him.
Friday’s celebration was coordinated by Alton attorney Lee Barron and Jersey County 7th Judicial Court Judge Eric Pistorious. The officiant was John Williams, a Principia College professor who was a friend, fellow member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, and former campaign manager for Russell’s first bid for the office in 1990, which Russell won.
Russell, who was raised in California, was a graduate of Stanford University and received his law degree from McGeorge School of Law of the University of the Pacific. He was awarded a graduate diploma in comparative law from the Center of International Studies of Salzburg University.
Russell moved to the Jersey County area in 1978 when his then wife got a job with Principia College. He got his Illinois law degree and spent five years as a practicing attorney with the law firm of Moore and Goetten where he made partner in 1981, then was appointed associate judge for the 7th Judicial Circuit in 1983.
According to his biography, Russell was recognized for his commitment to ethics, integrity and civility. He was respected by the bench and the bar and on at least two occasions the State Supreme Court appointed him to hear particularly sensitive cases. And prior to his appointment to the bench, he was also a part-time assistant Jersey County State’s Attorney.
Russell actively supported the Jerseyville community; was a member of the Jerseyville Rotary Club, co-chair of the Jersey County United Way campaign in 1982, a member of the Regional Planning Committee of the state’s Department of Children and Family Services, served on the Board of Directors for the Great Rivers Land Trust, and volunteered with the Piasa Bird Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and supported the Oasis Women’s Center in Alton.
After his retirement from the bench, Russell continued a full range of activities in his home communities in Colorado and Guatemala.
Friday the courtroom was full of area attorneys, judges, friends, former co-workers, college friends, and community members whose lives were touched by Russell, as well as by his two sons and brother.
"He was the most intelligent person and kindest person I have ever met in my life," Pistorious said of Russell in his remarks Friday.
Russell’s younger and only brother, James "Jimmy" Russell, of Clovis, Ca., said he and his brother never had one moment of sibling rivalry, and always supported each other in their respective goals, even though "Tommy" was, as Judge Pistorious said, "scary smart."
"Dad always said Tommy dwelled in the metaphysical world while the rest of us dwelled on earth," James Russell said. "We had the sweetest and dearest friendship. But I am so mad at my brother for bailing out on me, but he died doing what he loved to do."
James Russell said while their father is deceased, their mother, who is 87, and has been ill since Tom Russell’s birth, for the first time in that James Russell could recall, cried when he told her of Tom Russell’s death.
"I loved my brother and had the greatest brother in the world," he said. "I really wanted to be with him until his teeth fell out."
"Tom wanted to make the world a better place and he did that for us; he made our world a better place," Margarette Trushel, of Oasis Women’s Center said.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Building a much needed house in Guatemala!

Here is a link for more photos!

Louise from Canada, one of our amazing supporters is visiting. She has been sponsoring a child in this family for several years now and has watched their home is in terrible shape.  She finally received help from friends to be able to fund a new house for this family.  As you can see from the photos the house is falling down, they are stuffing clothes in the holes in the bricks to try to keep the wind out....but the house is ready to fall down.
Louise's husband, Jim is coming down next week to lead a group who will begin work on this project.  The family is so happy, they cannot believe their luck!
Thank you Louise and Jim for all you are doing for this family and for so many other students!
To see more photos please go to the link above.
If you would like to help build a home for a needy family, please contact us...we have plenty of families who are living in terrible conditions.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Elvia in Guatemala

Elvia is 20yrs old. She suffers from epileptic convulsions. Her medicine costs approx. $25 US for 50 tablets. She takes 3 tablets a day. She cannot always afford her medication. When she cannot afford it , she goes without the medication. She had a convulsion and fell into an open fire. Her face is badly burned.
Please help Elvia, she needs a sponsor to help her pay for her medication. This young woman has suffered enough. If you would like to help Elvia, please send a donation to
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Louise visits Guatemala.

Louise from Canada who does a fabulous job supporting 80 students came to visit some of her sponsored families.
She was thrilled to see that the baby goat that she had given to one family was now very big and healthy.

She also visited the family of one of her sponsored students who are living in terrible conditions. Their house is falling down.....but fortunately, Louise and her husband, Jim have raised the money to be able to build this family a new home

Louise was able to show her friend Kathy, and her two daughters around Panabaj and Chuk Muk.

Jim is even taking two weeks of his holidays to come down and help do the building.

Thank you Louise and Jim for all that you do.

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Malnutrition in Guatemala.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Family in urgent need of a house.
This family has only two weeks to be able to move out of where they are now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January-14-2011 in Guatemala Slideshow

Hi everyone,
Here is a large slideshow of some of the kids that are going to school this year thanks to you! Click here to see the list of Students that still need sponsorship:

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Panajachel pre-school gets a facelift!

This is the Panajachel pre-school. This large area was all dirt, rocks and a very uneven space. We decided to cement the area over the school holidays....and we also painted the remaining unpainted faded walls.
The beautiful Murals that volunteers have completed are untouched.

It is going to make such a difference that the children are not kicking up sand and rocks, and that in the wet season is not a big puddle.
The classrooms have been painted and the kitchen is being moved so that the larger room , which was the kitchen can now be turned into a classroom. We are moving the kitchen into a smaller space.

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The end of a long day.

Hi everyone,
Today was the end of a very long week for us. We have been distributing school supplies to over 1,600 children....the lawn at the new office will never be the same. It will probably never be able to revive...we have had 1,600 students plus their mothers and siblings there every day. We have been working from till 8p.m.

We have had 5 people trying to update the student blogs . interviewing as many students and their families as they can, translating from Kakchiquel, Tzutihil to Spanish and then to English.

We have had the Tierra Linda Jnr. High school officially open and we are registering students. We had the parent meeting yesterday, 50 parents anxious and hopeful that their children will be able to have an education and a better future than they have ever dreamed of.

We have organized the opening of the new pre-school in San Andres in partnership with Tom Heaton....Mission Guatemala.

We have held teacher meetings about the re-opening of the five Mayan Families pre-school/feeding programs. Panajachel, San Jorge, Tierra Linda, San Antonio and San Andres.

We have negotiated to open the 6th Mayan Families Pre-school/feeding program /community center in El Barranco...this will also be the home to the Folkloric dance troupe and we hope the beginning of many exciting opportunities for this community.

We have organized the opening of the new Elderly Care and Orphan Care center in San Jorge this coming Monday.

This evening at 7.p.m. I was still in the office , trying to get out to join my husband, Dwight and daughter, Zoe at a restaurant for a Friday night pizza. I was feeling pressured and irritable. All I wanted to do was go home and relax.

I came out to the main room and saw Joaquin who was still working and still cheery, even though it was his birthday and he was working late.

He was working with a family who came from Tierra Linda. The mother was painfully thin and carrying a little baby on her side,and had a son who is about 10yrs old, a little girl who is going into our pre-school probably around 4-5yrs old, a little boy around 3yrs old and the baby on the mother side around 1yr old.
It was the little 3yr old who stopped me in my tracks. He was wearing a t.shirt that was full of holes and a pair of pants that were torn. He had no shoes on. It is very cold at this time of the year and the wind is howling. He was pulling at his mother and trying to get her to go to the door. I asked if he was cold and his mother said yes, he is tired , he is asking to go home.

Now to go home, this little boy would have to walk , barefoot for at least 20 mins to get to the now dark mountain path to Tierra Linda. It would then be an hour walk up the mountain to their village and I don't know how much further to their home.

I could see that the little boy was very tired. This is before he starts this mammoth trip home.

I asked the mother when she had last eaten....she said ...."oh we haven't eaten yet"...meaning all day.

I could not help but think how my 6 yr old would be reacting...cold, hungry , barefoot and a good hour an a half walk up a dark, mountain trail.

I had brought a bag of jackets down to the office just in case there were children without jackets in this cold weather. I went and got these children jackets that thankfully you all had donated.

The 3yr old was sitting on a chair when I came back with his jacket. I put the jacket on him and he looked up and gave me the sweetest smile. I felt his feet and they were ice cold and hard from walking barefoot all the time.

I sent for juice and snacks for each child, I arranged for the little boy to pass by my house, Berta would put shoes and socks on his feet and give the family a few bags of incaparina ( a cereal ) sugar so that they had something warm to drink when they got home.

I heard the mother talking to another woman about how some days she doesn't even have corn to make tortillas for the children.

I felt humbled by the life this mother lives. She has four children that I know of.

She sees these children hungry and suffering nearly every day. She walks long distances with them to try and get help. She was not complaining, she was smiling and grateful , thanking me for the help that they were receiving.

Me...who was feeling irritable because my computer connection was slow and I couldn't answer all the waiting emails, pressured because my husband and daughter were waiting to eat pizza with me....tired because I had been working long hours this week could I even compare my life to this woman....who in the face of all that she has to endure , was smiling and gracious, her children were not whining even though they were cold, hungry and had at least an hour and a half walk to go home. This woman and her family renewed my desire to do as much good as we can here in Guatemala. I felt very fortunate that we are able to help her as much as we can. It is not perfect, but at least her children can go to school, two of her children will go to the preschool so for at least 5 days a week they will not go hungry. Tonight they all have jackets and a 3yr old is not walking up the mountain barefoot. If we are lucky, someone will sponsor this family for food.

Thanks to all of you for providing the help for this family and for the families like this in the future.


Some of our Sponsored students in San Jorge la Laguna.

This is some of the aid that our sponsored students received today.
A pila...a 2 sided sink which is an essential part of Guatemalan life. The sink  "pila" is used to wash clothes, hair, bodies, dishes and whatever is needed.  It is used to store water in the middle sink section and the water is ladled out all day with a plastic bowl called a "palangana".
An energy efficient stove...that will help the will take less wood to cook by, so less time to collect firewood, less heavy loads to carry.  It will also take the smoke out of the house.
Another family receives a brand new bathroom and toilet.
Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors and donors that we have, peoples lives are changed here for the better daily.

Birthday message from Susie at Mayan Families.

This week has been especially tough for our staff. We have been working long hours to provide school supplies to our student. We are also interviewing them for updates to their pages. During this process we have encountered many sick people. For the better part of the morning I have been trying to decide what I would like for my birthday, I have found it!

#1674 Yessica Cux's father, Domingo needs a hernia operation. This will be his second operation. He is in danger of dying if his hernia gets any bigger. We have consulted with our doctor and the price of the operation with discount is $530.00.

But, wait, there is more....

#1674 Yessica is also in need of a sponsor, she is so new she is not on the web, she is picking up her supplies today without a sponsor! That is how much faith we have... we are giving out supplies ahead of sponsorship in special circumstances.

Yessica had to skip school last year because her father was so sick, she worked in the home and with her grandmother to make money for the family. Jessica cried last year because she was not able to go to school. Jessica will be entering High School, so that is a sponsorship of $480. Jessica and her family live in a rented room. They have 1 bed and 4 people sleep in it. Jessica, her mother, Lucia, Carmen and Suliyn, her sisters. Don Domingo works as a night watchman. They use a gas stove top to cook, which is located outside because the room is too small.

So to be truly honest, I do not want a party, what I want is to be able to come up with $1,010.00 so this family can sleep easier. The mother is worried because Yessica does not have a sponsor and that she may loose her husband any day. How can I celebrate something so insignificant as a birthday when so many people here in Guatemala have such great needs.

Thank you for reading this, and for the help you give us daily. The truth, some days are really tough for us. We feel so, so blessed to have such generous donors. When I say, if it was not for you, we would not exist, I mean it!!

Best wishes,


A Photo Slideshow from October-29-2010

Hi everyone,
These photos and slideshow are from October-29-2010. Take a look!

New Photo Album from October-1-2010

Hi everyone,
This is a photo album that was in the wrong account. Now you can see it here for the first time! I also posted it to the Family Aid Blog.

A house that some of our students live in Guatemala.

This is the home of several of our sponsored students. They live in San Jorge la Laguna.
The house has to be terribly cold during this windy, cold season. In fact, it is amazing that the house stands up to the wind at the moment.
If anyone would like to help to give this family a decent home to live in would cost just $4,500 US.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elderly and Orphan Care in San Jorge La Laguna.

Hi, there has been so much happening....I am not sure that I have really announced that we are starting this project next week.
With so much unemployment, the elderly are really suffering and we have decided that there is a very big need amongst the elderly in San Jorge.  We have 60 people who want to come to this program but we have limited to start with 25 Elderly and 14 orphaned children.
These children are not completely orphaned....but it is how they are described in Guatemala....when a mother dies, they are called orphaned .....and quite often that is how it seems.
We have 14 children who have either lost their mother, have no one to make food for them during the day and quite often not at night either.  There is no one to wash their clothes, make sure that they do not have lice in their hair and that they wash their hair, brush their teeth etc.
So we have rented a two room house in San Jorge for $120 US per month.  It has an enclosed patio and we will be opening , hopefully, this coming Monday....we have chosen a recently widowed mother with 6 children who is desperate for a job to be  the cook.    She is also a person who seems to have a lot of compassion for others and that is one of the main requirements that we have.
This woman went to school till 9th grade and can read /write and speak Spanish.

The importance of this new project was brought home to us when over the Christmas period, two of our little students, Carmensita and her brother, Tigre....well that is his nickname ....were thrown out into the street by their drunken father.  You may remember that Carmensita and Tigre lost their mother last year.
We had been helping keep the family together with food and they had recently received beds for the children....thank you Bonnie.
But there is not much we can do with a father who is an abusive when he is drunk.  When he was sober he was very concerned with the children.
We spent days trying to find out where the children went because nobody in the family had them and did not know where they were.
We could not get an answer from the father because he was still drunk and he was beligerent.
We eventually tracked the story of where the children were. It appears that an elder brother came from the city and picked the children up  and took them back to the city with him.  We are trying to contact him so that he knows we will continue to sponsor the children to go to school. I know it will be difficult for him to be able to send them to school.  We are also going to try and remove the beds from the father and give them to the brother so that the children have somewhere to sleep...but we have to wait till he sobers up.
We feel that with this center for the children and the elderly that we will be able to keep a closer eye on the needs of the "orphaned" children and make life a little easier for them.
Thanks for all the support that makes projects like this possible.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back to school in Guatemala 2011!

There is plenty of action at our new offices! The first of the parents and children coming to bring their list of school supplies, get shoes , photos taken, register, sign contracts...yes...we have a contract...that states the parent's support their child to go to school by getting them their on time, helping with homework or at least asking about their homework , bringing in report cards etc ....children's responsibility to study hard , pay attention at school and to get their on time....Mayan Families responsibility to support the child as best we can, give school supplies, shoes etc so that the child has what he/she needs to be able to go to school.

It is a really busy time...we just moved into our offices last is a great location, the best part , in the children's minds is the much used and loved tire swing!!!

We also have taken a few of the tricycles that we have received in the shipments ....( thank you so much for these!!!!) to the new garden and the children love them.....they are having a great time!

The staff are working long hours, starting an hour earlier and finishing an hour later trying to get all the supplies into back packs , the student then has to be photographed, receive a new I.D. card if they don't have one, sign a contract and we have about 5 people working revising the student blogs so that some of the data will be updated and new information added. It is very time consuming...interviewing each family can take at least half an hour and there are over 1,500 students. Please have patience with us as we try to do our best!
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored a student and to everyone who has posted about students needing sponsoring onto their social networks. It has made a huge difference!!!!

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Visit with sponsored family.

Yesterday, Kimberly, Robin and daughter, Zoe visited their sponsored family in Chaquiya.
They are part of several sponsors who are helping this family.
The family was thrilled to have them come back for a visit.
Zoe played happily with all the children!
Kimberly told me that she was very happy to see the chickens that they had donated to the family. They had eaten only one chicken and had sold others to buy two turkey chicks that they were breeding and a pig.

The children were excited to see photos that had been brought down.

Kimberly greeting the family.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 to Bring a Hungrier Latin America

2011 to Bring a Hungrier Latin America
Last year was a hard year for Guatemala....there are so many people who do not have enough to eat ...this article does not seem like it will improve this year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

San Andres Semebetaj Pre-school

Mayan Families will be partnering with Mission Guatemala to open a pre-school/after school program in San Andres.
These are some of the children who are looking for sponsorship to be able to attend the school.
They will receive breakfast, learn to brush their teeth, take a vitamin tablet, have a healthy snack before they go home at midday.
They will get a head start on learning to know their letters and colors etc before they go to school.
But most of all they will get healthy, regular meals and they will get medical attention. They will receive clothes, shoes and their lives will improve greatly.
It costs only $180 US to sponsor a child to go to the pre-school.
If you would like to help a child ...please write to us at and we will be happy to assign a student to you.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The family Xinico Tol

The Xinico Tol Family live in San Andres lost their home because they could not pay the rent the week before Christmas.
The mother was crying in the street with all the children and all their possessions when a neighbor came by. He told them that he had land that he was selling and in the meantime, if they found tin sheeting, they could build a room to live in.
The father somehow borrowed and found rusty tin sheeting and they built a room.
They built the kitchen out of cane and plastic sheeting. As you can see from the photo , the plastic roof of the kitchen is burnt away.

The children want to go to school. The eldest boy left school a year ago in 4th grade. He passed his grade and wanted to go back to school but his family could not afford it. So his father took him to work in the fields with him.

He is very excited, as are the other children , at the possibility of going back to school.

When the Mayan Families Staff visited the house today there was no food in the house.
There are three beds for all of them and they have very few blankets.
The mother said it is very cold there at night .

This family can buy this piece of land for $4,600 US.....and they would have a secure place to live.

Only $180 US per year will send one of these children to school. If you would like to help, please contact us,
If you would like to help them with food or blankets....please let us know.

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