Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mayan Families Elderly Care Program: Polimena Cun Palax

Mayan Families Elderly Care Program: Polimena Cun Palax: "Polimena and her grown son, Felipe, lives in a little shack with no water, stove, electricity, or toilet. Felipe has some developmental disa..."

Mayan Families Elderly Care Program: Cayetana, Maria Anacleta and Guadalupe

Mayan Families Elderly Care Program: Cayetana, Maria Anacleta and Guadalupe: "Cayetana Cayetana is 89 years old. She shares her bed and her one roomed house with one of her daughters, Guadalupe. Another daughter, Mar..."

Mayan Families Elderly Care Program: Andrea Buch lives with her grandchild Claudia. Cla...

Mayan Families Elderly Care Program: Andrea Buch lives with her grandchild Claudia. Cla...: "Andrea Buch lives with her grandchild Claudia. Claudia's mother committed suicide when Claudia was three years old, and Andrea has..."

Mayan Families San Antonio Pre-school

 The children at the San Antonio Pre-school /After school feeding program were really happy to get new furniture today. This furniture was made in the Mayan Families wood work shop supervised by our wonderful volunteer, Michael. There is now a place for each child to put their work and a hope chest to store lots of toys! There are still children waiting to be sponsored to go to the feeding center...if you would like to sponsor a child for only $180 US per year...please write to and we will be happy to send you a photo and bio of a waiting child. To see more photos from today please go to this link

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don Alejandro...89yrs old and still smiling.

Alejandro Samines Saput

Alejandro Samines Saput is 89 years old and lives alone following the death of his wife two years ago. He lives in a one room, dirt, floor house owned by his daughter.  Though Alejandro doesn't cook, the soot from the open fire he uses to heat his coffee each day has blackened the walls and ceiling of the house.

Alejandro can not work because he has trouble moving the right side of his body, and must always rely heavily on his cane to get around. Alejandro's health problems unfortunately do not end there--he can barely hear, and is plagued by painful cramps in his leg, which is badly scarred from a fall several years ago (he could not remember the exact date). 

He is lucky to have a daughter that can provide some support, though it isn't much.  She brings him a small amount of food weekly, which is all she can spare, as she is a widow who supports herself, her son, and her blind mother-in-law on the small salary she earns washing clothes in Panajachel.  Alejandro's only guaranteed meal is the lunch that is provided by the Mayan Families facility in San Jorge. Despite all the hardship in his life, Alejandro still has a wonderful upbeat personality. When asked (via his grandson, who shouted into his ear in Kaqchiquel) if he needed a mattress for his bed, he grinned and laughed, and pantomimed falling backwards and being swallowed up by his bed.  He doesn't like the sinking feeling of a soft mattress, so he's content with the grass mats on his bed, though he did admit, shyly, that he would like more blankets to ward off the mountain air at night.
A heavy wool blanket to keep Alejandro warmer at night can be bought for $20. We would also as like to provide him with pain medicine, which costs $8 per month.

 Alejandro also does not have a water filter.  A filter can be purchased for $50, which includes the filter and two filter cartridges that will provide him with clean water for between one and two years.

If you would like to provide Don Alejandro with some of these basic comforts, you can do so at Donate Now, by entering the amount of your donation in the "Other" box, and "A33" under "Details."

Alberta of the Elderly from San Jorge .

Alberta Quijeu needs a bed

Alberta Quijeu is 70 years old.  She lives with her grown son, who is an alcoholic.  The one-room house they share has very little besides a bed, a few chairs, and a water filter.  Unfortunately for Alberta, she is forced by her son to sleep on the ground with nothing but a reed mat for padding, while he sleeps in the bed.  When her son is sober enough to work, he might bring home a bit food for the two of them.  When he isn't--which is frequently--the lunch provided by Mayan Families is Alberta's only source of nourishment. 

Walking is also a problem for Alberta because her feet are always sore.  A nurse volunteering with Mayan Families gave her some acetaminophen, which she says helped significantly, but she does not have the money to keep buying the pills, so she must rely only on what is donated to Mayan Families. 

The chairs, which she brought out for us,
cover the cement floor where she sleeps.
With your help Mayan Families would like to provide Alberta with a bed and mattress of her own, and a steady supply of painkillers for what is most likely arthritis in her feet.  A single bed and mattress cost $75, and a month's supply of acetaminophen costs just $8.  To help Alberta with either of these basic comforts, or to give her the gift of you can go to Donate Now (for one time donations) or Donate Monthly (to set up an automatic monthly payment), and enter A49 as the "Family Name".  Thank you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy to get a water filter!

This family was very thrilled to receive a water filter. These filters will give clean drinking water for one whole year. If you would like to give the gift of clean drinking water it is $50 US to give the gift of clean, safe , drinking water for one year to a family. Please go to our website

Global Health Missions and the Panajachel Pre-school.

We are so grateful to Global Health Missions for spending time today at the Mayan Families Pre-school in Panajachel today. They checked all the childrens' lungs, hearts, ears, throats etc..... and gave each child anti parasite and deworming medicine. This will make a big difference to their health for the next 6 months! Thank you once again to Ingrid and Ben for all their hard work today! Carlos, once again, did a great job translating!
To see more great photos please go to this link.

Global Health Missions in Guatemala

Global Health Missions have been busy today. They visited the Elderly Care program in San Jorge la Laguna. Distributing medications and looking after the needs of the Elderly. The women there were very grateful to have this attention. Thank you Ingrid and Ben for all your hard work. To see more photos please go to this link.

Marcela, 87, Sleeping on the Floor

Marcela Coh Samines is 87 years old.  She lives alone in a house owned by her only surviving child.  This little home consists of two small rooms--one a kitchen, and the other what passes for a bedroom.  Sadly, this second room contains no bed.  Instead, Marcela sleeps on a thin grass mat on the floor.  Until we gave her two more blankets that had been donated, she had only two blankets to keep her warm and cushion her from the hard ground. 

Though she suffers from asthma, she usually can't afford to buy the medication that she needs, which costs $23 per month, and she often suffers from a cough or wheezing.  She has electricity, but she doesn't have water connected, so she must carry her water from the communal water source in the center of town.

The bare ground where Marcela sleeps.
Though her life is full of hardships, the one she most wants help with is hunger.  The lunch she gets from Mayan Families is her only steady source of food, and breakfast and dinner are luxuries she often can't afford.

Marcela's life could be made a lot more comfortable with a few simple changes.  A bed and mattress to get her off of the floor would cost just $160.  A contribution towards her asthma medicine would make the simple act of breathing easier.  And a little bit of help, especially monthly help, to buy some staple foods would help make sure that she doesn't pass the entire time between lunches without eating.  If you would like to make a one-time contribution to help Marcela, you can do so at Donate Now.  Enter your donation in the "Other" box, and enter "A36" in the details (The 'A' stands for 'anciano', or elderly person).  To give Marcela the stability of a monthly donation for food or asthma medication, go to Donate Monthly, and enter A36 and your donation in the 'other' section. Thank you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Family of 6 in need of help.

Family of 6 Need Help Overcoming Hardship

Marta, who can walk now with the crutches
borrowed from Mayan Families.
8 months ago, about the same time that 40 year old Marta gave birth to her fourth child, she discovered a lump growing close to her left knee. She and her husband, Jose, struggle to support their family on the small salary Jose earns working in the fields as a day laborer.  He earns about $4.50 per day, but can only find work about once a week in their rural town in Chimaltenango.  Because it is a constant struggle simply to buy the most basic necessities, Marta went several months without medical care, even though the lump became painful, and continued to grow. The pain got stronger and stronger, until some days she was unable to walk. When she couldn't put off seeing a doctor any longer, Marta came to Mayan Families for help.  We sent her to a doctor who determined that it would take an operation to remove the lump in her knee, at a cost of $300.  Because Marta had such pain and trouble walking and Marta and Jose would have to make the several-hour trip home in the back of a pickup truck, we couldn't send them home to wait for donations to cover the operation, and the doctor removed the lump right away. Thankfully, biopsies determined that the lump was benign, so Marta's knee problems should be over.

Marta and Jose
The cost of transportation for Marta and her husband, as well as food and lodging for the time that they had to stay in Pana because Marta was unable to travel back to Chimaltenango, totaled $270, which Marta and Jose will not be able to pay.  The surgery and follow up care have cost Jose precious days of work, because for a while Marta was not able to walk unassisted, much less care for the baby or her other children without his help.  The family, which never had enough to eat before, is now in an even more desperate situation.  Until this point, they have managed to keep their oldest three children in elementary school, but their school costs are an even bigger burden during this difficult time, and even before this incident Marta and Jose didn't know how they would pay for middle school, which has a tuition in addition to books, uniforms, and fees.  At this point it is clear that the kids will need sponsors to continue their educations.

If you are interested in helping the children--10 year old Ashley Mishel, who is in 4th grade, Alan Manuel, who is in 2nd grade, or Maykeline Celeste, who is in preschool--continue in school, you can email christine[at]mayanfamilies[dot]org for more information about sponsorship.

The family's most urgent need right now, though, is help with food and the costs of transportation for follow up appointments and lodging in Panajachel, because they live too far away to make the round trip in one day.  Teresa and Jose have told us that they would like to come and live in Pana, because there just isn't enough work for Jose in the tiny village where they live.  He would like the opportunity to provide for his family rather than rely on outside help, but they simply don't have the capital to move out of their two room house (1 bedroom and a small kitchen) in Chimaltenango and come to Pana.  To make a donation to help Teresa, Jose and their kids, please go to Donate Now, and designate your gift for FA122.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tragedy in Patanatic, Guatemala.

Yesterday afternoon, tragedy struck in Patanatic. A very large family that we have several children sponsored in, including 6 children who are orphaned being raised by their aunt...had very little to eat. They were very happy to have a woman pass by selling herbs .....they grandmother bought them for the children for lunch. The grandmother left the herbs with her daughter in law to prepare, she went off work washing clothes in a private house.
Her daughter washed the green herbs and prepared a soup with the herbs. At 3pm all the children had a soup of the herbs.

Around 4.30pm. the daughter in law said her little one, Mayda 3yrs and 2 months old, who has been in our milk program for 2 years, started crying and complaining of a stomach ache. She started having convulsions, foaming at the mouth, her mother picked her up , running for help....but the baby died in her arms. When the mother realized that the baby had died, she rushed back to see the other children, she got back to the house to find her son, Oliver 8yrs , doubled over with pain, he also started convulsing and foaming at the mouth, the mother picked him up and he also died in her arms.

Just by chance the mother of another child in the family arrived home to find the horrific scene, her daughter, Karen, also in our milk program was turning purple and started foaming at the mouth, the mother picked up , the child did not make a sound and passed away in her mother's arms.

The rest of the children started complaining of stomach pains, the ambulance rushed them to the hospital and they all had their stomachs pumped and were released last night.

These photos are of the staff at Mayan Families delivering food to the is a very remote house and was quite a walk for them to get there.

In one of the very poignant moments, we realized that the shoes we had given Oliver just 15 days ago were placed underneath his coffin. He was so excited to receive these shoes when he came to Mayan Families.
The children had been at our office just 15 days ago receiving milk.
The family is in shock. We can only assume that the herbs had been sprayed with pesticide but we have no proof of this. The poor grandmother is distraught with guilt.

If you would like to help this family with food or the costs of the burials ....please go to our website to make a donation
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Students in Guatemala!

These two boys were lucky to be sponsored recently. As you can tell from their big smiles they are very happy to have new shoes to go to school and all their supplies!
We have many children waiting to be sponsored. If you would like to sponsor a child and brighten their lives like is just $180 US per year to send a child to elementary school, $380 for jnr. high and $480 for High school.

Please go to our website

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Little Lisbeth needs a sponsor to go to pre-school in Tierra Linda.

Lisbeth Isabel needs a sponsor to go to pre-school/feeding program in Tierra Linda.  It is $180 US to send Lisbeth to school this year and to make sure that for five mornings a week she has a hot meal, brushes her teeth, takes a vitamin tablet and gets a head start to go to school.

Lisbeth was born on May 17th, 2008.
She attending the Mayan Families Pre-School in Tierra Linda in 2011.

Lisbeth lives in Tierra Linda with her father Jorge, born on Oct. 11th, 1979, and her mother Berta, born on July 4th, 1982.

Lisbeth has 1 brother and 1 sister.  They are:

Magda Roxana, born on November 20th, 2002, is in 1st grade.
Nestor Martin born on October 28th, 2005.
Berta, the mother is 6 months pregnant (March 2011).

His father works as a day laborer and makes $5 USD per day.  The mother works cleaning onions and cleaning the fields and makes 2 USD per day.

They own the house they live in.

They have 3 rooms made of cement block and tin sheeting.

They have a kitchen made of tin sheeting and dirt floor.

They do not have an Onil stove.  The mother cooks over an open fire on the floor.
They have a water filter, they need replacement filters.
They have one armoire.
They have 2 beds, they do not have mattresses.
They have a pila
They have tables and chairs.
They have water connected.
They have electricity connected and pay $6 USD per month.

Student photos (when available)
March 2011.

Chicken Day at Mayan Families!!

Yesterday was chicken day at Mayan Families!
Many sponsors have sent chickens to their sponsored students and their families.
These chickens are already laying eggs, usually we have a few left a the office while the chickens are waiting to go to their new homes.

Each family also receives a big bag of chicken food to help them get a head start.

We also give instructions to the family as to how to care for the chickens .

The families were thrilled to receive these chickens.... they should be able to have fresh eggs this morning!

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Chabeli ....

Hi, I think that many of you will remember Chabeli. 
She lives in Tierra Linda and she sells fruit and vegetables in the market.  She was very ill after a hysterectomy and we had to rush her to Antigua several years ago for treatment.

Chabeli had a micro loan that she took out nearly a year ago and has only managed to make 3 payments on it.
Yesterday we called her in to talk about this and when she would be able to make more payments.

It was a very interesting meeting.
We found out that she does not know how to count and add up....she only know that if someone buys 10lb of tomatoes at Q2 ea that it is Q20...she has simple things like this memorized.
But we found out that she often buys fruit, such as a watermelon for Q16 and then re-sells it at the same price.
She has a lot of customers from restaurants coming to buy from her because she is the cheapest .....but she doesn't allow for a mark up on all of her vegs. and fruit.  
Often at the end of the day, she has not much stock left and not much money to replace it.

Chabeli did not go to school, she does not know how to read or write, she can barely speak Spanish. Gloria, who works with Mayan Families says that she has often seen people take advantage of Chabeli at the market.

We were also very dismayed to find out that she had taken out a loan at a bank.....some of these micro loans  that say they are here to help people are just making peoples lives so much harder....she obviously did not understand the interest rates and for nearly a year she has been paying nearly $80 a month interest on a $400 US loan.  She is still in debt with this loan. 

We have arranged that Chabeli will come to Mayan Families every morning at and she will have a half an hour class with Rodolfo ( a Mayan Families employee who is also a qualified teacher and speaks Kakchiquel ).  She will learn how to count, how to do simple additions and we will show her how to use a calculator.   After she has a handle on this, Fredy who handles the micro loans is going to talk to her about how to manage a small business.

We hope that this will be a big help for her.

best wishes,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Semana Santa Food Basket from Mayan Families!

El Barranco pre-school feeding program students.

The El Barranco Pre-school and feeding program is getting ready to open its doors.
We have a wonderful location and we have all these beautiful kids wanting to attend.
We need sponsorship for them and if you know someone who would like to sponsor a child for the small amount of $180 US per year, which will entitle them to come to the pre-school five days a week, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, have a vitamin tablet and have a healthy snack...while at the same time being given a head start from a qualified teacher....please have them contact us. We need sponsors to help these children.

We have 30 children who are registered to attend...these are children from very poor families, many of them sleeping on straw mats on dirt floors, their mothers cooking over open fires on the ground.
These children know what it is like to go to bed hungry........ it is just a small amount of money that will greatly improve their health and their well being for years to come.

To sponsor a child...go to our website at or write to

This pre-school in El Barranco is being put together with the help of several people who love this rural community but we need your help to keep on going with it.

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Semana Santa Food Baskets for Guatemalan families in need.

Sponsored Student
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Semana Santa Food Basket
Dear friends,
Malnutrition and hunger are huge problems for indigenous Mayan communities.
Student Sponsorship program

The families that we work with do not have enough for even the most basic foods, much less the traditional foods that are eaten during Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week-long springtime celebration that corresponds with Easter.

Semana Santa is a time of sharing in Guatemala -- Please consider giving a food basket to a hungry family to share for  Semana Santa. 

This basket will include:
-Traditional fragrant sweetbreads
-A block of drinking chocolate (It is traditional to have the sweet bread with hot chocolate)
-A chicken
-Incaparina - a fortified cereal
These items (some of which might be substituted depending on availability) will come in a large, reusable plastic basket that has many uses in a Guatemalan household.
Family Aid Program
Your food basket donation can make the difference between another week of hunger, and the joyous celebration of an important holiday.  Any donation you can send will help to relieve the crushing poverty that these children and families endure.
If you would like to give a basket of food to  your sponsored student, or any needy family, please send a donation of $35 to the Community Aid Project at Mayan Families.
You can make a difference now!
To make a contribution for the Easter-Semana Santa Tamale Food baskets please go to our website
 and go the Community Aid Donation section to send a donation. If you would like to designate a special family or a sponsored student to receive your basket please send us their student number, family aid number, or full name by e-mail to
If you would like to pay by check please send your donation made out to Mayan Families to:
Mayan Families
P.O. Box 52
Claremont, N.C. 28610
If you would like to give this gift in Honor of someone special, please send us an email to:
Thank you for your support. 
Sponsored Student

If you would like to help Mayan Families gain more support, please consider forwarding this e-mail to your friends, family, and colleagues. You can do a Facebook or Twitter posting, put up posters, shout from mountain tops -- get creative! Spreading the word is free, and lets the world know you think Mayan Families is doing a good job and deserves their support. It is a huge help to us and introduces our programs to people who would never hear about them otherwise.
Mayan Families is a small non-profit group working in the Highlands of
Guatemala. We are a registered 501(c)(3) Non Profit Charity of the Internal Revenue Code. .
Your donation is tax deductible.
P.S. Please help spread the word by forwarding this e-mail to your community or posting it on your personal blog, web page and your social networks such as Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, Twitter, Hi5, Blogs and any others that are appropriate.
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Thank you once again for supporting Mayan Families!
Sharon Smart-Poage
Mayan Families
Tel: 619-550-2608
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