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."

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