Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carmen's Trip to Tierra Linda.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

          Tierra Linda
We arrived in Panajachel on Saturday and soon it started to rain.  It rained all day Sunday and when we woke up on Monday we saw that it was cloudy once again.  It was an inconvenience for us, only because we would need to wear our raincoats and the kids were not going to be able to use the hotel pool.  What I did not imagine was the misery it really brings to some people here.

I met some employees from Mayan Families early on Monday morning and we left Panajachel to deliver food and supplies to the preschools that Mayan Families runs in San Jorge, El Barranco and Tierra Linda. On the way to San Jorge we saw that there had been a huge mudslide earlier in the day and huge boulders were blocking one lane.  Some municipals workers were trying to clear the road but it was obvious it would take a long time and  more equipment to move all those huge rocks.  Buses were not allowed on the road, only smaller vehicles.  I am sure that affected a lot of people that were counting on the buses to transport them.

When we arrived in Tierra Linda we delivered the supplies and then left to visit some families, guided by the preschool teacher.  She brought us to the most remote homes in the village.  The road was blocked by a fallen tree and we had to walk.  It was extremely muddy but it got worse once we took the small pathways and it started to rain.  We first visited the home of Rolando, a sponsored student by Mayan Families.  He was taking a bath next to a tank where they collect water.  It was cold and he was trying to do it quickly.  We visited his home and I was shocked to see the state of the walls.  They were made of mud bricks and there were cracks all over.  The floor was made of dirt and it was starting to get get.  I am sure it would soon turn to mud. It was a very small room. There were two small beds and only one had a thin mattress.  They showed us another room where the grandmother and the two smaller kids slept.  It was just wooden boards on top of some blocks and it did not have a mattress. They only had a couple of blankets.

We visited other homes nearby and they seemed to be even worse.  I have been to Guatemala 4 times but these were the worst living conditions I had ever seen.  The houses were made of mud brick that was falling apart.  The walls had pieces of mud missing in some places and the owners had put plastic to try to cover the holes but you could still see light coming through them. These homes seemed like they could fall down any minute.  Some of them were right on the edge of the clif and they were in danger of falling down all the way to the bottom of the mountain. There rooms were very dark and some homes did not have electricity connected so they would stay that way day and night. Some had Onil stoves donated by Mayan Families and their supporters and thankfully, there was no smoke in the rooms. There was mud everywhere and most of the kids were barefoot. I felt like crying and I was mad.  I could not believe those were their homes and they had to be there every day.

I thought I had seen the worst and then we got to the home of Rudy, Yesica and Josue, also sponsored to attend school. The mother was boiling some water and there was smoke all over the room they use as kitchen. They showed us the rest of the house, a room with space for a small cot and a small bed. The cot did not have a mattress and a very thin blanket of top. You could feel the wires and I could not imagine having to sleep on top of that. The other bed did not have a mattress either. The walls were covered with plastic in some places to cover the holes on the mud brick. It looked like it could fall any minute. The mother told us the husband had left 3 weeks before and she did not have any money to buy food for her children. She had only been able to get a couple of jobs cleaning onions but it was very difficult to find jobs. There was no food at the home and I mean nothing, not one potato or beans, or corn. I felt so powerless. I looked in my pockets and I only had 25 quetzals to give her. I had forgotten to exchange money and I had nothing else to give her. She was very grateful and said she would buy corn flour to make tortillas for her children. It was raining very heavy, the closest store was in the center of town which meant she either had to leave the kids home alone while she tried to walk in the mud and rain or one of children would have to make the trip to buy the flour.
We had to leave but promised to try to do something for her. She was crying saying she was desperate, that she wished she could take poison to end it all. It broke my heart to hear her say that because her children where right there. All the way down the mountain I was mad and I stayed mad all day. Life is so unfair to some people. I don't understand why and it makes me mad. I just hope I will stay mad long enough to do something for her and the other families.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nuestros Ninos and their donate to dunk fun!

This is the group, Nuestros ninos and their fundraising efforts and fun to raise money for their upcoming trip to Mayan Families in July. It looks like they had a lot of fun and raised a lot of money!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Angelica Can't Find Work And Struggles To Feed Her Family of Four (FA151)

Angelica hasn't been able to find a job. She lost her job stocking for Frito-Lays four months ago due to health problems. She suffers from fainting spells, as well as anxiety. She traveled around the country looking for a job, but hasn't found anything.

Angelica is severely depressed. There are days where she can't feed her family, her daughter doesn't have shoes, and their house is currently without electricity. All this stress has only made her more depressed, more anxious, and more unstable.

She is supporting her three children, 10-year old Daniela Maria, 15-year old Luz Abigail, and 18-year old Jakelin Fernanda, as well as her mother Maria Esperanza. She has no support from her husband, and must act as both the mother and father to her three children. This is becoming increasingly difficult, as she can't even afford to buy food for the family.

At this moment, the family is in great need of money for food, clothes, shoes, electricity, and gas. To provide this family with food for a month, the cost is U$150. To provide this family with a new tank of gas, the cost is U$23.

for more details of how to help Angelica and her family, please visit:

Thank you!

Widowed Maria and Children Kicked Out of Home (FA155)

Maria and her daughter Lucinda Maribel came to us recently to ask for help with their living situation. Maria cannot find work and her son, who has been shoveling sand out of the river, was laid off as the rainy season has just begun. They were unable to pay the rent and were thrown out of their house.

Maria is a single mother. Her husband died over 10 years ago, and she has been supporting her two children, 13-year old Lucinda Maribel and 18-year old Jose Alfredo, ever since. Lucinda Maribel is the only one in the family that can read and write. Maria is very proud of her daughter and really wants her to succeed. However, with the family's current situation, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Lucinda to stay focused in school when the family doesn't have a home or enough food to eat.

To help Maria with rent, the total cost is $50 a month. A food basket cost: $35, 100lbs of corn costs: $35, food for the month costs $150. Any amount will go a long way.

For details to assist this family in any way, please go to:


Thank you so much!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maria's Family Could Be Torn Apart (FA154)

Maria is the sole financial provider for her three children, 8-year old Alejandro, 11-year old Gladys, and 12-year old Luis. Her husband is an alcoholic and doesn't support the family at all. Maria doesn't have a job, often only washing clothes a couple times a week. She continues to look for steady job, but has had no luck.

Her three children are all sponsored and in school. However, her oldest son, Luis, has expressed interest in dropping out of school in order to find work. Maria has discouraged her son from doing so, as she acknowledges that it is very important that he continue studying, but as the family's situation gets worst, their options are running out.

Maria wants to send her children to the coast to live with her parents, but the children do not want to leave their mother. Maria would like to keep her children with her, but if she is unable to pay the rent this month, they will have no place to live and she will be forced to send them away.

The family's most urgent needs right now are food and help with the rent. It costs U$150 to provide food for this family for one month. To help Maria pay the rent, the cost is U$80 per month.

If you would like to help keep this family together, please visit:

Any help for them is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anibal's Family is in Great Need of Food, Milk, Medical, Clothes, Bed (FA144)

Hi Everyone,

Anibal and his family are in great need of support. They came to us recently in need of food, as well as medical attention. Baby Edgar is in great risk of malnutrition and Anibal needs medical treatment so he can continue to work and support his family.

The family consists of 22-year old Anibal, his 17-year old wife Juana, and their 1-year old baby Edgar. Their house has only one room where they sleep and cook. They have no furniture, the family eats and sleeps on the floor. They family survives off of tortillas with salt and because of this diet, the mother is malnourished and isn't producing enough milk to feed the baby.

Anibal works in the fields washing coffee, but the money he earns is not enough for all of their expenses. It is barely enough to buy food. He works really hard, but a year ago he developed gastritis. Since he didn't have enough money, it was never treated and he is still suffers from pain in his stomach. He doesn't have money to go see a doctor or buy medicine.

The family's most urgent needs right now are food, milk for the baby, and medical attention for Anibal. They are also in need of a bed with a mattress, blankets, a stove, and clothes. It costs U$150 to provide food for this family for one month. It will cost U$50 for Anibal to visit a good doctor. One month of milk for the baby costs U$30. To help the family with food or medical care, please go to Donate Now and enter "FA144" in the details box, along with the purpose of the donation (medical care, food, milk, etc).

For more information, please visit:


Any support is greatly appreciated!

Please spread the word to find help for this family.

Thank you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Three Children Abandoned by Their Mother (FA150)

Hi Everyone,
The 3 Abandoned Children now have a Family Aid # (FA150)
This is a very sad story.

Mikala, Claudia, and Leonel were found on the doorstep of their neighbor's house early Wednesday morning. This was not the first time they had been abandoned by their mother. Ever since their father, who at 65, passed away last year, their mother had been seeing a new man and leaving the children at the homes of neighbors and friends for days, even weeks, on end. On Wednesday, she decided to leave her children on the doorstep of neighbor Doña Ramona and run off with her boyfriend and one-year old daughter. They have no plans of returning.

Doña Ramona brought the children to us yesterday, all malnourished with parasites. The littlest one, Mikala, was severely dehydrated and exhausted. She was void of all emotion. We have since sent them to a doctor and they are all currently on anti-parasite medicine. During the checkup, we noticed bruises on 2-year old Mikala. Leonel told us that she was suffering physical abuse from an uncle.

While the uncle and grandmother of the three children have offered to take them in, from what we gathered from the children and the neighbors, they are the two family members that have been abusing them. Neighbor Doña Ramona is very worried about the children and more than happy to take them in, but with six of her own-including one daughter in a wheelchair-she simply does not have enough financial resources to care for three more children. She came to us here at Mayan Families seeking help.

We would like to keep these three siblings together at Doña Ramona's house, however, if we do not have enough financial support, we might be forced to separate them.

It will cost U$150 to feed this family for one month. As well as food, all children are in need of milk. The cost to sponsor one child with a supply of milk is U$30 a month.

These three children are in desperate need of stability at this chaotic time in their young lives.
If you have any questions, please send an email to

If you would like to help provide Claudia, Leonel, and Mikala with a more stable future, for more information, please visit:


Thank you so much for you continued support!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update on FA 90 - Mario and Marta Still Need Medicine!

Hi Everyone,
In March we posted about FA90 Mario and Marta Can't treat their diabetes alone.
They still need assistance with medicine.

Here is an update:
This lovely couple is still struggling to buy their medicine.
All the money they earn goes towards feeding their family and paying off all the medical expenses that have piled up over the past couple of years.

If you would like to this family, Mario is in great need of medicine for his diabetes and Marta needs a new pair of glasses. She has been without a proper pair of glasses for a couple of months. The cost of Mario's medications and treatment each month is $180. The cost of a new pair of glasses for Marta is U$100.

Any donation, large or small, would make a wonderful difference to this lovely family who constantly have to choose between buying food and buying medication.

To read their complete story or for more information on how to help them, please visit:


Thank you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Several Family Aid Students are still in need of Student Sponsorship

Hi Everyone,
Here is a list of Family Aid Students that I know of who are still
hoping for Student Sponsorship. There may be others not yet blogged about.

Juan #1768 Family Aid Student FA105

Jose Ricardo #1916 - Family Aid Student FA142 - Also Needs Medical Care

Sandra #1919 Family Aid Student FA143

Maynor #1920 Family Aid Student FA143

Ana #1922 - Family Aid Student FA145

Jenifer #1923 - Family Aid Student FA145

Maribel #1924 Family Aid Student FA146
You can find their Family Aid stories by searching their FA# at the following web link and clicking on their direct link.

Some of these Students are also listed on the Students Needing Sponsorship public webpage at:

If you would like to sponsor any of these Family Aid Students to go to school or know someone who may, please share this information with them.
The more we rally for these children the better chance they will have for a brighter future.

Please also invite your friends or those you know who are interested in helping Mayan Families to help the people in need to join Mayan Families Connection at

so that they can follow along and become active in helping to rally for all in need and also help us spread the word.
The more people we can get involved, the better chance we have at helping as many people as possible.
Thank yo to all who are making a difference in the lives in those hoping for a brighter future.

Jorge and Ana Maria Must See a Doctor

Jorge and Ana Maria came to us last week. Currently, neither of them are working due to medical reasons and they are struggling to pay the rent and feed their six children.
Awhile ago, Jorge got sick and needed to go to the doctor. The medicine he needed to take in order to cure his illness was very expensive. The family is still paying off these expenses. Recently, he started suffering from pain in his kidneys. This pain has prevented him from working.
Ana Maria suffers from stomach pain that has been persistent ever since she gave birth to her last child, 2 months ago. They do not have enough money to see a doctor, let alone feed their family.
Their six children, all under the age of 10, are not attending school at the moment due to the lack of necessary resources.
The family's most urgent needs right now are food and medical attention for Jorge and Ana Maria. It costs U$150 to provide food for this family for one month. Sending Jorge and Ana Maria to a good private doctor will cost U$100 for both of them.

For more information on how to help this family, please visit:
Thank you!

Julia Must Support Her Three Grandchildren (FA146)

Julia is the grandma of three: 7-year old Maribel, 4-year old Yovani, and 3-year old Jose Luis. One of her daughters died last year and the other couldn't care for her children. Now Julia is the sole caretaker of all three children.
She doesn't have a steady job, instead she washes clothes by hands when she can find work. Julia's husband passed away 7 years ago due to a hernia that the family didn't have enough money to treat. Julia's daughter, the mother of two of the children, doesn't work. She doesn't have any financial means to help Julia or her children. Julia is struggling to take care of the children by herself.

The family usually eats tortillas with beans. When they can afford it, they share 2 eggs between them all. The family doesn't have running water, electricity, or furniture. They eat and sleep on the sand floor, and bathe in the river next to their house.
Julia also suffers from a heart condition, but because the little money she makes is spent on feeding the children, she can't see a doctor or buy medicine. She has been treating herself with natural herbs with no professional supervision.
Maribel, the 7-year old, has never been to school. In a country like Guatemala, where job opportunities are so scarce, not attending school will greatly reduce her chances of having a more promising future. Besides, Maribel has expressed a great desire to study!
The family's most urgent needs right now are food, blankets, and a bed with a mattress. They are also in need of a stove, clothes, and a water filter. It is also important that Julia sees a doctor about her heart condition. When Julia came to us, she didn't even ask for help with her own health, as she is so worried about the welfare of her grandchildren. However, it is essential that make sure Julia receives medical attention in order to ensure the welfare of the three children.
It will cost U$150 to feed this family for one month. A bed with mattress costs U$170 and the blankets cost U$20 each. To send Julia to a good doctor, the cost is U$50.
If you are interested in sending Maribel to school, you can sponsor her for U$180 a year.

For more information on how to help this family, please visit:


Thank you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Clinic in Tierra Linda!

Yesterday, we had a clinic in Tierra was a medical/dental and veterinarian clinic. This clinic was held in conjunction with the group VIDA.

It was a great clinic, they saw over 60 general medical patients, the dentist was kept busy all day and the veterinarians sterilized/nuetered /vaccinated more than a dozen dogs.

They will be returning to Tierra Linda today for another clinic.

The clinics were held in the Mayan Families Community Center in Tierra Linda.

Posted by Picasa

Families receiving milk for their children.

Once a month, we have over 70 families come to recieve milk for their children.
Some of them very young babies, other's toddlers or a little older.
This milk has generally been prescribed by a doctor. The mothers are either unable to breastfeed or the children have another problem.

Yesterday we were pleased to have a student from the North Caroline University who is working with us for a few months give the families a talk about nutrition and how to best care for their children.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 13, 2011

Father's Day Food Baskets will be given out in Guatemala on June 17th.

Hi Everyone,
I'm just posting a reminder that Mayan Families plans to distribute the Father's Day Baskets this week on June 17th so if you would like to purchase one for your sponsored families or a family in need, please do so soon.

Please see Sharon's note below for details.

Thank you to all who are sending a basket for a family in need.

Any food donations during these difficult times are greatly appreciated!


You can purchase a Father's Day basket and they will be receiving them on the June 17th which is when Father's Day is celebrated here.
If you have a family that does not have a Father...then the Mother who is doing the job of both will be very happy to have a basket of food.
Thank you so much for asking about this.
> > If you would like to give a basket... it will cost the same as the other baskets, $35 US. If you would like to send it in honor of your father or a special person you would like to honor, please let us know.



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Margarita's Family is Going Hungry (FA145)

Hi Everyone,
Another Family Aid family needs help.

Margarita came to our office last week desperate to get some help for her family.

Her husband Roberto had his appendix removed a month ago and since them he has been having problems digesting food. They don't have money to go back to the doctor or to buy medicines for him.

They have 3 girls, Ana who is 9 and Jenifer who is 5 attend the primary school in Solola and Meidy is only 7 months old and stays home with her mom. Margarita is unable to work because she has to look after the baby. Ana and Jenifer love the school and want so badly to continue going, however the family is in no condition to buy clothes, school materials or pay the fees and if the girls don't get sponsored they will probably have to drop out of school before the end of the year.

To make things worse, the family had to borrow money to pay for Roberto's surgery and for their house expenses, since the only income they used to have was Roberto's salary. The electricity of their house was already cut because they were not able to pay for it and they don't have any means to buy food, they've been basically living on just tortillas and salt.

The family's most urgent need right now, is help with food and the costs of Roberto's treatment so he can go back to work.

It costs U$150 to provide food for this family for one month. Sending Roberto to a good private doctor will cost US $50.

If you are interested in helping the children continue in school, you can sponsor one of the two children in primary school for $180 per year. To do so, please go to Donate Now, and enter $180 in the 'Student Sponsorship' box, and the number of the student you would like to sponsor in the 'Student ID#' box. Ana is student #1922 and Jenifer is student #1923. You can also email for more information.

For more information on how to help this family, please visit:


Even if we can't sponsor these families or elderly in need, please consider spreading the word to all who may be interested in helping in some way.

Thank you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Today in El Barranco

Today we are having a large medical/dental/veterinarian group attending the people in El Barranco.
We have closed the pre-school for the day and will be using the three rooms for the different clinics.

It has been so busy this week have not had time to post but we had a wonderful group of people who came down and put on parties for the children of the pre-schools in El Barranco and in San Jorge. Please go to the web albums to have a look at the fun photos.

They gave the children chuchitos, tostados, horchata, cake, and brought a clown.

Each child got a big bag of food to take home, such as rice, beans corn etc.

They also got shoes, a bag, underwear, and a toy.

The teachers got lots of supplies and everyone had a wonderful time.


Sharon Smart-Poage
Panajachel, Guatemala

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sweet Enriqueta developed pressure sores (A71)

Hi Everyone,

Enriqueta is a very sweet 83 year old lady who recently had a stroke. Her left side is now paralyzed and due to her advanced age she won't be able to recover completely. She spends her days lying on her bed, she hardly speaks and needs help even with the most basic things such as turning in bed.

We recently found out she has some pressure sores in her left heel and in her back. Luckily we have a nurse volunteer with us who took a look at Enriqueta and pointed out that her family is taking good care of her and her granddaughters are doing everything they can to keep her as comfortable as possible which is essential for her well being, however the family doesn't have enough money to pay for her medicines and bandages for the wound.

Because she spends her days in bed, she needs to be as comfortable as possible and at the moment she doesn't have a proper bed, a mattress nor the pillows she needs to avoid the wounds touching the bed. As her wounds have to be cleaned very often, a water filter would be of great use as well, because the family has to buy a lot of bottled water and it is expensive for them.

A bed with mattress for her will cost U$170, the water filter costs U$50, her medical supplies will cost around U$30 and her medicine for the arthritis costs U$35 a month. If you would like to help Enriqueta with any of these items, please visit:


Thank you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ponciana Needs More Treatment FA115

Hi Everyone,

Ponciana is again in need of medical assistance.

You may remember Ponciana is the woman who had to have her leg amputated because of a large gangrenous tumor on her foot.

Ponciana is currently having lots of tests done to ascertain exactly what caused the tumor that required the amputation of her leg. The wonderful doctors at Wuku Kawoq have taken on her case to ensure she gets the right tests done and the right treatment according to those results. This has taken a lot of time to organize but we know it is important that she get a correct diagnosis in order to get the right treatment. The necessary tests cost $533 and there will be many more costs involved once the actual treatment commences. Thank you to everyone who has already donated to Ponciana, she is a lovely person who is really appreciative of all the assistance she has received. If you would like to assist Ponciana get the treatment she needs or to assist her family with any food donations please go to Donate Now, and enter your donation in the Family Aid section and enter the family name as FA115.

Thank you for assisting Ponciana and her family move forward!

To read Ponciana's complete story or to assist her, please visit:



FA79 Selvin's Family Suffering More Illnesses

We posted about Selvin back in December 2010 when he dropped out of school after his father died to help his mother support his siblings needs.

Selvin and his family are suffering more illness.

Selvin's mother, Pedrina, who came to us for the first time last year when he had injured his hand, has returned to Mayan Families recently because the family--and Selvin himself--have again fallen on hard times. Since Pedrina's husband died years ago, she has been fighting to provide for her four children. Her small earnings weren't nearly enough to put Selvin or his sister, Maria, 16, through school--Selvin had to drop out after 6th grade, and Maria after 3rd. Since then, Selvin and Maria have been working to keep their younger siblings, Damacio, 13, and Andrea, 6, fed, clothed, and in class. They have done a wonderful job up to this point, and, aside from Selvin's accident last year, have been able to keep their family afloat on their own.

Unfortunately, Pedrina has had trouble working lately due to migraines, and Selvin has begun to suffer from the effects of asthma. The costs of his treatment, if he could afford it, is about $80 per month (we will look into getting the medications at a reduced price now that they have come to us), and he is often unable to do the physical labor that has supported his family for years. This has left the family to rely primarily on the $93 per month that Maria earns working in a small store. Between the drop in income and the costs of treatment, these illnesses have taken a toll on the family's finances. They don't have enough to eat, and they have fallen behind on their rent. They currently owe $67 for May's rent, and June's will be due very soon. If you can help Selvin, Pedrina and Maria with food or rent during this difficult time, they would very much appreciate the chance to keep fighting--without debt--so that Damacio and Andrea can have the opportunities that they never had.

To help them or read their complete story, please visit:


Thank you!

(FA137) Evelinda and Her Children Need Assistance with Medical and School

Evelinda has had to rely entirely on her husband's income in order to support herself and her two children. But he left her for another woman and has since started another family. He still sends a little money monthly but it is barely enough to live off. Her shoes were falling to pieces and several months ago she asked him if he could send her some extra funds so she could buy some new shoes, but he refused.

One day when she was walking home in the rain, the bottom of her shoe, which had been slowly coming detached for some time, caught in the gutter and she tripped. When she fell, because her shoe was caught, she fell in an awkward way and when she tried to get up she couldn't put any weight on one foot.

She had no money to seek medical treatment, so she tried to look after herself at home. After two weeks, when she still couldn't walk on it, she finally went to the hospital in the next town. They did some x-rays and determined that she had actually fractured several small bones in the front of her foot. They put a cast on the foot and told her to elevate her leg as much as possible. They also told her to return to hospital several weeks later for a follow up appointment. Evelinda did not go back to the hospital because she did not have enough money for the bus fare. Instead, she and her mother-in-law removed the cast themselves. Evelinda has been attempting to walk ever since, but she still is in a great deal of pain whenever she walks and thus can only walk very short distances.

Evelinda's youngest daughter, Evelin, attends our preschool and nutrition program here in Panajachel, and the preschool teacher noticed that Evelin had not attended class for quite a few weeks. Concerned, she called Evelinda to find out why Evelin was missing out on school. Evelinda confided in the teacher that she simply couldn't walk the distance to the school and she had no money for a taxi, and therefore Evelin had to stay at home each day with her. Evelin cries every morning because she misses class and misses her friends, but Evelinda has no other option.

To read Evelinda's story or to help her and her children, please visit:



Marta's 4 Children Going Hungry FA122

Hi Everyone,

We posted about Marta and her family back in March, 2010 when Marta had a baseball-sized growth just below her knee that had become unbearable.
Thankfully it was removed and was not cancer.

Thankfully, the generosity of Mayan Families donors has worked again, and Marta's school-aged children all have sponsors!! Though the kids now have the means to stay in class, unfortunately the family's situation has gotten worse. With no work available in their rural village, their father, Jose, has grown depressed, and begun drinking--a common escape here for those who see no way out of poverty. Unfortunately, his habit has left Marta and her four children, who had little enough before, with nothing to eat. She recently called Mayan Families, desperate for help--the children hadn't eaten in three days. Any gift of food that you can send would help ensure that these children don't have to go hungry any longer than they already have.

Marta would like to move to Panajachel, where the chances of finding a job are better than in Chimaltenango. Unfortunately, they don't have the capital for a move. They have no money saved up to begin renting, or buy food, while they look for work. Though she hates to ask for such a large help, Marta doesn't know what else to do, so she is hoping that maybe someone will find it in their hearts to help them, by offering a few month's of rent to allow them to move to Pana. A single room in Pana usually costs $83 per month..

If you would like to help Marta and her children or read their complete story, please visit:


Thank you!

Thursday at Mayan Families June-8-2011

We were very busy yesterday ....lots of things going on.

We are organizing for the medical /dental / veterinarian clinics that are coming up ...we have three different groups starts next week.

We also are getting the four NCU students settled into the jobs that they will be doing for the next 6 weeks.

Late yesterday afternoon, we had a surprise Bridal/groom shower for Sandra, the Mayan Families social worker who will wed Fredy, the Mayan Families Micro Loans Manager on Saturday.

It is the custom here to have a surprise was a lot of fun. Lots of silly games that had us all laughing and running about .

I have posted some of the photos on the blog and if you would like to see the rest of them please go to the Picassa web albums.

Thursday was also a day that we gave out a lot of food to students and families. This food has been sent by their sponsors.....also birthday gifts.

We are also giving out bottles of children's vitamins. We have had a lot of vitamins donated from Lois Werner in Antigua who managed to get a big donation from Vitamin Angels and has been kind enough to share them with us.

So every child that comes through the door is getting a 30 day supply of vitamins....we are also giving them to some adults who really need them as well.

Every day we are giving out clothes and shoes to families in need. I hope that you can see your clothes and shoes being distributed in the photos.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bomberos of Panajachel, Guatemala

These are actual photos of the Bomberos, (First responders, Paramedics, Fire department) who are almost all volunteer risking their lives to help others. They are our heros and Mayan Families has been working with the local Bomberos for years now to improve their equipment and help in any way we can. This was a large truck that missed a curve, lost it's brakes or ? and rolled off of and down a cliff.

Personal from the Panajachel Bomberos worked for over an hour.

La persona fue hallada a pocos metros de donde estaba el camion.
The victim was found a few feet from where the truck was.

Poco mas de 120 metros cayo el camioneta.
The truck went down approximately 120 meters.

They do amazing work! This is in Honor of them!

Mayan Families awarded "The GuideStar Exchange Seal"

Exciting News! We have just been awarded "The GuideStar Exchange Seal"!
The GuideStar Exchange Seal program is an exclusive list of organizations who have been validated by providing full organization transparency.
As a result our organization becomes a seal holder and can use it to promote Mayan Families as being fraud-free, trust-worthy and safe to do business with. Here is the link:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Friday at Mayan Families

We have several visitors here and we arranged for them to go to visit the San Antonio Palopo pre-school, deliver vitamins and take donuts that we have been receiving daily from Yummy donuts or donas as it is called here.
They have been giving us their day old donuts that have not sold and we have been getting a huge box full every day.
We have been sharing these donuts with every family that comes through the door, we have sent them to the pre-schools, the elderly care program and to the Bomberos.
Everyone loves them. Personally, these daily boxes of donuts have cured me of my love for donuts and I think that if I never see a donut again will be just fine!
But we are so grateful to have them. Last night I had a few bags with me as I drove home and I stopped and gave them to people I knew who had very little to eat. Donuts may not be a health food but I am sure the people who got them were so glad to have a little treat.
The visitors were accompanied to San Antonio with Sandra, our social worker. She was presenting the new teacher, Ana to the parents and answering any questions they may have had.

We had long meetings yesterday with our accountant from the city. We have finally, finally been granted our Guatemalan registered charity status! As anyone who has adopted a child from Guatemala knows the red tape is endless and was the same with also had to go to PGN. But nearly a year later we are now a legal foundation here ....we have been a legal U.S. charity for several years now but we wanted to also be a legal foundation in Guatemala.
We can now try and solicit donations from companies working here in Guatemala and the very big benefit is that our employees now have Govt. health insurance...called IGSS. Mayan Families has to pay 12.7% and the employee pays 4% but they will be covered for health care. While it may not be the most outstanding health is at least something. it covers all the normal illnesses and does cover HIV meds, and diaylsis etc.
So we had the accountant here explaining all the details to the staff .

Now in Guatemala we are officially known as Fundacion Familia Maya.

We heard about young Edgar who was having convulsions and arranged to bring him to Pana. The mother did not want to come till we told her we would give her food.
Hopefully, we will be able to get some help for him.

Susie took visitors and volunteers to the Elderly Care program in San Jorge.

Susie and I have been working on the calendar for the medical groups and visitors we have coming and we are looking forward to having them here.

10yr old Jairon was in tears in the afternoon because he got a message that his father says that he now has to go back to the house. He has let the mother and the other children come back to live there. Jairon does not want to go because he says that his father beats him a lot. We have told Jairon that we will talk to his mother when she comes Monday and see what can be arranged for him. 

We had the roof fixed at the San Antonio pre-school as part of it had blown off.

Construction continues on the house in Tierra Linda and the retaining wall for the community center in Tierra Linda. We are so lucky that the rains have held off a lot this year , so far, and that we have been able to get these foundations in.
Wishing you all a very happy week end.
Sharon Smart-Poage
Panajachel, Guatemala

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vitamin Angels in Guatemala.

Thanks to Lois Werner and Vitamin Angels we have been able to distribute bottles of children's vitamins to many children who really need this help.
These bottles are a 30 day supply of vitamins that will give these children a great boost.
Thank you so much Lois for sharing your supply of these vitamins with Mayan Families!

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New Volunteers!

We have four volunteers from NCU ....they are here for six weeks to work with us and we are very glad to have them. Three are Social Work students and one Nutritionist student.

They will be working at the Pana pre-school, the San Jorge pre-school and the San Antonio pre-school. The Nutrionist will be based in our office in Panajachel and will be helping with the Milk Program and the Feeding programs.

Yesterday two of the students visited the Elderly and Orphan Care program in San Jorge la Laguna.
We hope that one of the students will be able to spend time with the children in the afternoon.

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Bomberos of San Jorge la Laguna in Guatemala.

The Bomberos ( Paramedics and First Responders) of San Jorge La Laguna came to us to ask if we could help them with paint as their building was starting to look very shabby. It had not been painted since we last gave them paint approx. four years ago.

We were happy that we were able to help them with this project. For just $80 US the paint was supplied for the whole building . The Bomberos did all the painting themselves.

The Bomberos are mostly volunteers and are always there when needed.
We have called on them often when we have to have people carried out of their homes and taken to hospital.
They lend us wheel chairs when we need them and are always helpful.

We were very glad that we were able to do something for them!
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Sandra and Fredy's Bridal shower in Guatemala.

Sandra, the Mayan Families Social Worker and Fredy, the Micro- Finance manager are getting married on Saturday.
As is the custom in Guatemala....there was a surprise Bridal shower for them yesterday afternoon.
We even actually managed to surprise them with the mean feat!
There were lots of fun and games. The Guatemalans are great at playing silly games that have everyone laughing.
There was put the pen tied on a string into a can see the men trying to do this!
Then there were games where we walked in a circle and everyone had to jump into groups of 1, 4, 10 or 12 as they were called out....that was a lot of fun.
Another game was trees, were five men walked around while five more men were stationary....when the music stopped they had to jump on the tree.....Don Bartolo below had a good tree in Eric, the Mayan Families driver!

We held this party at the end of the day at Mayan Families and we were very happy to have new visitors , Sue , Nick and their daughter join us for the party.

Sandra and Fredy are getting married this Saturday and like all Guatemalan weddings it will be a big event. Even when you just limit it to family, there are very big extended families and here everyone brings their children to the weddings.

We wish Sandra and Fredy a long and very happy life together.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gerson 5 year old needs help to learn to talk! (FA 140)

Hi Everyone,
Gerson is a 5 year old boy who has never learned to speak.

Gerson lives with his mother Marta, his father and his 7 month old brother. They only have one bed in the house and they all sleep together in it. Although the family is very supportive with Gerson, and try to raise him the best way possible, his mother can't work because she needs to take care of the baby and her husband is a carpenter and only works when he can find work. The money he makes is barely enough for the family's basic needs and they can't afford to pay for Gerson's medical care.

When Gerson was 2 years old his mother took him to the doctor because he couldn't walk, there, they diagnosed him with learning difficulties, rather than physical impediments and they believed he would be able to walk if provided with physiotherapy. His parents chose to dedicate what little money they had to ensuring he received the physiotherapy he required, and sure enough he now not only walks, but runs like any other child his age! Gerson has started attending a school with other children with special needs and he is receiving good care, but it is not individually tailored to involve teaching him to speak. When Gerson's mother came to the Mayan Families office we sent her to get Gerson reviewed - to find out if the barrier between him and speaking was a physical issue that would require surgery or if he just needed speech therapy and time. Much to our delight, we discovered that Gerson's issue requires no physical intervention and with weekly speech therapy he should be able to speak as any other child.

Marta came to Mayan Families last week asking for help so that Gerson can learn to speak. The speech therapy sessions each cost $4.20 Besides that, the family also need help to keep him going to school.

One year of speech therapy will cost U$210, and to support him to continue attending the special needs school will cost U$200 per year. If you want to help Gerson with his speech therapy please go to Donate Now, and enter your donation in the "Other" box, with "FA140" in the "Details" box. If you want to help him to stay in school please email, and mention the number #1913. Any help you can give will be highly appreciated! Thank you!

If you would like to help Gerson, please visit:

Wednesday at Mayan Families

Yesterday we had the graduation of 7 women from San Jorge who  have completed their sewing classes.  They were so excited!  This is such a huge deal for them. They cooked delicious tamales for us, had a small woven cloth as a gift for myself, Mayerlin, Susie and Gloria.  We had speeches, we presented the diplomas...which mean so much to these women. Many of them have never had the chance to go to school, they have never graduated from anything and this is a huge event for them.
We had several volunteers come with us and they had a great time.  They enjoyed the tamales that were wrapped in leaves and the drink called "caliente:" which means hot...and that is what it is a hot fruit drink with fresh fruit in it.
We also had four social work students come to intern with us for 6 weeks. They are from the North Carolina State University and each year for the past three years we have had students come to work with us.  We started with one and have now grown to four placements.  These young women have been assigned to a pre -school, one to San Jorge, one to Panajachel, one to San Antonio Palopo and one who is going to work in the office with us.
They work part time for two weeks and then full time. Christine is giving them a tour of the pre-schools and orientation.
We also visited the Elderly Care and Orphan program in San Jorge yesterday.  The Elderly people are so very grateful to have this one hot meal a day.  Three of them received water filters yesterday from sponsors... ...they were so happy. 
We took legos for the children in the Orphan care program and they loved them. They were all very happily sitting on the ground building things when we left and very happy.  It is so nice to go there and get hugs from the children.  Rhonda/ Caroline, the boys scabies have really cleared up...they were both so happy yesterday, big smiles and hugs from them.
I find them and the two little girls whose mother died yesterday are the most desperate to have some affection, they love to have hugs and get some attention.
I am hoping that the intern who will be in San Jorge will also be able to go to the Elderly Care and Orphan Care and spend some time with the children in the afternoon.
We finally found a replacement teacher for San Antonio Palopo.   Zoila who had been there was transferred to El Barranco when we opened the pre-school there.   It is not easy to find female teachers who speak Spanish and Kakchiquel and wear traditional clothing. 
We feel that is really important that the kids have role models who are from their own communities.  The new teacher , Ana will be starting work on Monday.
Several onil stoves were installed yesterday and we have more to go.

We had a P.E. teacher bring his trampolines to the grounds of Mayan Families and there were screams of joy  all afternoon as children bounced on the trampolines!
Sharon Smart-Poage
Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tuesday at Mayan Families

Well, yesterday unbelievably, exactly at 8am. the electricity went off all over town.

With no hope of any work to be done on the computers, we decided to tackle the bodega ...(warehouse...which is actually our old house ) . With about 10 of us taking on this task we were able to sort out which toys should go to the pre-schools, which toys could be used for Christmas and clean out the place. We sorted out shoes and tried to find pairs for shoes that seemed to have lost their mate, we sorted soccer gear into teams to give to the San Jorge school, the Tierra Linda school and a few others who may not need a whole team.
We found that we have no soap or shampoos left so if anyone is coming or sending a shipment...and have access to any of these items...we would love them. We have been giving out a lot of soap's and shampoos to the elderly, to the orphan care and to the we have finally run dry. All the little soaps that they have at hotels and the small courtesy bottles always come in so if you are travelling , please think about bringing them home with you! We can put them to good use.

We also had a group of women from Concepcion come yesterday for micro loans for the first time.

We had already interviewed these women, most of them single mothers or widows and we are very happy to be able to help them with a micro loan and hope that this will give them a hand up with their families. They were indeed a very poor group of women, many of the children did not have shoes, and we were fortunate that we had shoes for most of them.  

We also had a new intern arrive yesterday...Corey ..who will be with us for several months.