Thursday, June 2, 2011

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

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