Monday, August 29, 2011

Help at last for Maria Angelica

When we found this wonderful help for Cristobalina we also asked if we
could send Maria Angelica to be assessed.

Maria Angelica was just a baby on her mother's back, approx. 4 months
old, when there was a demonstration in her village and the military
came to break it up.   Tear gas was thrown and somehow a fire was
thrown and landed on little baby Maria Angelica.     She was fortunate
that she survived. She was also fortunate that she received treatment
at Shriners in the U.S. initially .....but for several years now she
has needed more treatment and they have been unable to take her back
to the U.S..

But now, with this wonderful group in the city who are specialising in
burns ...we have the hope that more will be done for Maria Angelica.
Her mother has lovingly rubbed cream into her face every day for years
in the hope of keeping her skin soft and reducing the scar tissue but
it has been thickening.

This was an exciting day for Maria Angelica and her mother.


It was an exciting and nervous day for Cristobalina.  She and her
family headed to the hospital that they will call home for the next
three months.  Cristobalina, the 16yr old who had terrible injuries
when she was electrocuted is now in hospital to have corrective
surgery and to get physiotherapy.  The doctors think that she should
be able to walk out of the hospital when she is finished.
This is very exciting for Cristobalina.

Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.  We still need help
to pay for the transportation and costs that her family will have
while they take turns staying with her in the city.  Any amount, no
matter how small, will help with these costs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hou​se for Teresa and her family

Teresa is a widow whose husband died last year suddenly.
Teresa , her husband and their 6 children used to live with the
husband's parents.   When the husband died, the parents in law did not
want Teresa and her children to continue to live there.   But Teresa
had nowhere else to go....she now divides her time sleeping on the
floor of her parent's bedroom and part time living with the parents in
law so as not to be too intrusive.  But this is very hard with 6

Teresa's father gave her a tiny piece of land but she has no money to build and the family cannot help her.

We have received a wonderful donation of $1,000 US to start to build the house for Teresa but we need at least $3,500 to be able to finish it.

Any amount no matter how small would be a huge help to get this mother and her 6 children living in a house of their own.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Promoting business development through our micro loans

We are currently serving approximately 335 individuals and families via our micro loan program. The micro loans help to start a new business initiative or expand an existing one.  Approximately 98 % of the people who request the micro loans with us are women, who are in dire need of making an income either because they are the head of households or because they need to help their husbands to meet the expenses of the home.  Having a business for this women means having a higher degree of autonomy as well as feeling as active contributors to the economics of the household. With the income they earn from their business they are able to meet the educational and medical expenses of their home.

In addition I would also like to thank those of you who currently support this wonderful program.  Thank you for your support!  Please read the stories of some of our most current beneficiaries below:

Case #305
Cecilia Solis Salazar is a 44 year old woman from Panjachel.  She lives with the father of her four children.
She will use the micro-loan to expand her business which focuses on selling tipico fabric.  She will invest in buying more merchandise so that she can have a wider array of products and be able to increase the sale of her merchandise.   Her stall is located  on one of the main streets in Panajachel so she relies heavily on the tourism that comes through.  She has been selling these kinds of items for about 20 years now.    
She has had various loans with us and in the past and she has benefited greatly from this opportunity.  Through the money she earns in this business she has been able to send her kids to school.  Two of her children have already graduated from High School and the other two are currently attending school.  She's very proud of this accomplishment.

Case #306
Mercedes Joj Leja is 49 years old from Godinez. She is married and has two children.
She will use the micro-loan to expand her business which she has been doing for the last 30 years, and which focuses on embroidery. With the funds she will buy much needed fabric, threads, needles, etc. Because her embroidery work is very intricate and detailed she has been able to get continued support from certain people who know and trust her abilities to do good work.  Mercedes also makes a variety of styles of blouses which she also accents with embroidery. She sells her embroidered items out of her house.  Having this particular business venture is very joyful for her because she enjoys doing sewing and crafts.
She first ventured into this work so that she could help her husband meet the expenses incurred in the home, but through this  work she has also found the ability to send her children to school.  

Case #307
Maria Reyna Mendez is a 42 years old married woman and a mother of 4 children from Panajachel.
She has had a couple of loans with us in the past. And we know that she is a hardworking woman. This time around, she will use the loan to start a new business venture, the sale of shoes. Before selling shoes she used to sell fruits and vegetable for about 5 years, but she stopped because that business was not going to her liking. She developed an interest in this kind of business through some contacts in her church.  She believes that the shoe business is a more profitable business than selling fruits.  At the moment she sells shoes out of her home and also amongst the church congregation which she and her husband lead. Through the church members she has received interest and support in the shoe business.  She is excited to embark in this new venture.

Case #309 
Isabel Solis Salazar is a 47 year old widow with 4 children from Panajachel.
For the past 26 years she has been selling crafts to the tourists that visit Panajachel.  Her stand is located on the main street, near the lake, which gets a lot of visibility especially during the high season, but she does rely heavily on the tourists to make the sales.  She will use the money from this micro-loan to expand her business by buying beads, tipico clothing, shawls, bracelets and necklaces.
In the past she has had other loans with us.  This business has helped her to support her children and send them to school because she has been a widow for many years.  Two of her children have already graduated High School and two of them are still studying but she is very proud of herself for being able to support them with education.

Ana Perez Chiyal is a 32 year old single woman from Panajachel.
She has been selling crafts, such as bracelets and earrings for the last 3 years.   She plans to use the money from the loan to expand her business by buying additional merchandise and materials such as leather, necklaces, shawls, pens, and more.  She sells her merchandise at the different fairs and town celebrations, therefore she travels a lot and stays in all the different towns for a couple of days at a time selling her crafts.    She enjoys doing this type of work because she likes to travel and she finds that she does well with this type of business. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

At the end of a long week.....

This has been a great week for dental health!!!   Approx. 800 children have received dental care.....several who had abscess teeth that would have caused very big problems for them.

We said good bye to the Dental Group.....Kids International this afternoon....we look forward to seeing them again next year. This is the third year that they have been working with us.

We also said good bye to a great volunteer who has been here with us for a month.....Tanmay , a Science Teacher from the U.S. has been tutoring children nearly every afternoon and also tutoring the Jnr. High school class in Tierra Linda 3 times a week.  The students did the more than 1 hour walk back and forth to come to Tanmay's classes.
They enjoyed the science experiments...especially the volcanos erupting and the egg drops from the tree!

They especially enjoyed the pizza party Tanmay held for them yesterday!

Today Mayan Families participated in an Environmental Fair that was held with several other groups.  There were groups there with recycling booths and many different things, our booth was the Spay and Neuter program for animals, we had a video , a screen , a sound system and a microphone...which made us the most popular amongst the other groups because they were able to borrow our microphone and speakers!    The fair was attended by lots and lots of school children.....and we hope that they enjoyed it.  One of our sponsored students danced at the fair with her school group. 

Dina and Mayerlin from Mayan Families visited Cristobalina, the young girl who has had her arms amputated.  They took her more food to fatten her up before she is admitted to the hospital in the next few weeks.  We are thrilled to share that Cristobalina is going to be able to go to the Ronald McDonald hospital and will be admitted for the next few months while she is receiving skin grafts and physiotherapy.    We are so excited that we have been able to facilitate this treatment.  Dina and Mayerlin came back with some beautiful drawings by Cristobalina, she is now even writing with her mouth! 

Julio and Gloria from Mayan Families recevied a call last night that a group of people had been evicted from their homes in a village near Tierra Linda.  The land had been in dispute for 9 years.  Their great grandparents had bought the land paying it off .....but they never received the correct paperwork.  The great grandson of the original owner apparently, found the original land papers and has now declared that he is the owner of the land.  This was being fought over but the owner turned up with a police crew and a bulldozer.    They gave the 12 adults and 22 children 15 mins to get their possessions and get out of the houses.   Of course, this was not enough time to do anything, the families were in shock...they never expected this would happen.   So .....the bulldozer moved in and knocked all the houses down....including all their beds, food and clothing.

The families were left with just the clothes they were standing in. 

Last night they slept in the open , today they built a shed out of the tin sheets that were on the roof of their houses and they are all sleeping in there tonight.

They are really shocked and don't know what to do . They are hoping that if they camp out on the land that the govt. will help them but their chances don't look good.
These poor people have no where to go. They don't speak very much Spanish, they are used to living from their crops. All the fields that they had growing were cut down by machete by the police.  

We are expecting that these families will need help in the next few weeks.

We had a very happy event today....a visitor bought a month's food for 6 needy families....we were able to bring the families into meet the visitor, they were so happy to get this food, most of them single mothers who are in desperate need of help with food.  

Another great event this week was delivering shoes to the little village of Pacaman....we gave out shoes to approx. a 100 children.  The shoes they had were mostly in very bad shape.  Many kids had shoes on several sizes too big for them and some had their toes squished into shoes that were way too small.

Others had shoes tied together with string, huge holes in them and barely hanging on.

I have never seen so many happy children. This is the first time we have been to this school and we hope that we will be able to go there again.

We are so grateful for all the shoes that we have received to help the children here!  Thank you!

And on an even brighter note, Lubia who many of you know , came back to live with her children.  She has been gone for nearly a year ........we hope that she will be able to find work and look after her children. Thank you to Carol and Caroline from this group who have done so much for this family during this time........

Susie, who originally, was a  member of this group, then a sponsor, then came to volunteer with us in Guatemala and became a valued staff member celebrates her 2nd anniversary being here in Guatemala and working with Mayan Families.  We are so grateful to have Susie and all the passion and energy she brings to her work here in Mayan Families. Susie has great respect and love for the Guatemalan people and she has helped so many with so much! 

Wishing you all a very  happy week end.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mayan Families pre-school team plays in the finals!

This week our basketball team from the Mayan Families Pre-school in
Panajachel made it to the finals!
All the parents and the children from the pre-school were there to
cheer them on!
They had a great time and played with a lot of spirt.
We didn't win, but that didn't matter ...the kids really enjoyed playing.
Thank you to everyone who sponsors children to be able to come to the
pre-school, they would not be having these experiences without you
having made it possible!




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shoes are always needed by Mayan Families in Guatemala

I saw this young boy, Luis Eduardo on the street on Saturday, his
shoes were in bad shape but one shoe he was only able to keep on by
dragging it along.
He was selling postcards on the street and I told him to come to the
office on Monday and we would give him shoes.  I didn't know if the
shoe would stay on till then!  But he made it and he brought his
little brother, Angel who didn't even have shoes.   So thanks to the
generous donations that we have received we were able to give them
both a pair of shoes. They were very excited!
Thank you for the donations that make it possible for us to help so
many children.
We always need more.  If you would like to do a shoe drive at your
school, church or community, please contact us and we will be very
happy to give you shipping details.
Please e-mail Sharon at:
and also cc





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Replacement Water Filter elements!

This family was very fortunate to receive replacement filters for
their water filter.
The water filters are terrific but the filters need to be changed
every year to be able to provide the best quality water for a family.
The replacement filters cost $40 US and will provide a family with
clean drinking water for one whole year.
This helps to improve the health of the family dramatically. No more
drinking dirty water!
Thank to you the sponsors who made this possible.
if you would like to provide clean drinking water to a family, it is a
the small amount of $40 US

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dental Clinics with Mayan Families in Guatemala

Today was the start of a week long series of dental clinics for children.
Today and tomorrow we are holding the clinics in Panajachel.  281 children were attended today!
The children received fluoride treatment, sealant for their teeth, extractions and some fillings.

The most exciting thing was seeing the huge improvement in the dental health of the children from the Mayan Families Pre-school in Panajachel.

The children who received this treatment from this dental group last year showed a huge improvement in their dental health.....we think it also has had something to do with them brushing their teeth at least five days a week.

The children all received toothbrushes and toothpaste to take home.
The most frustrating thing was having a 10yr old girl who had a huge abcessed tooth and it needed to be extracted.  We called the grandmother for permission and the grandmother agreed ( the parents are deceased  and the girl is being brought up by the grandparents ) ...the grandmother gave her permission for the child to have the tooth extracted but only if the child wanted it.  Please tell me if you know of any 10yr old children who would jump at the chance to have their tooth extracted???!!!!   So we could not extract her tooth.....I even bribed her with shoes which she was excited about but didn't quite make it to the dental chair.

But all in all , it was a great day.
Wednesday we will be in San Jorge .
Thursday we will be in El Barranco.
Friday in San Antonio Palopo.

The children from the Mayan Families/Mission Guatemala pre-school in San Andres are receiving this treatment from the Mission Dental Clinic.

So that only leaves the children from the Tierra Linda Pre-school and we are going to try and get them to San Jorge on Wed.

Sharon Smart-Poage
Panajachel, Guatemala.

After school program in San Antonio Palopo.

Terri and her daughter, Maleni, also visited the Mayan Families after
school program in San Antonio Palopo.
The children there are aged from 6-10yrs old. They receive a hot
lunch, they get help with their homework and they have fun!
Terri and Maleni made it a very fun day for them! They loved the
Butterfly craft and then they also received a big bag of food to take
home plus a toothrbush and toothpaste.
Thank  you so much Terri and Maleni!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cooking classes for the cooks with Mayan Families in Guatemala

The cooks from the pre-schools and the Elderly Care program came to
Mayan Families to have cooking classes. They were learning healthy
recipes to cook for the children and the elderly.  They were also
having a refresher course in safe practices in handling food.
Mayan Families has 6 pre schools and one after noon school program.
We feed the children a healthy, hot  breakfast and a healthy snack
before they go home at midday. All the children learn to brush their
teeth and take a vitamin tablet.
The After school program which is in San Antonio Palopo feeds 44 children.
They get a hot lunch , a vitamin tablet, brush their teeth and have a
healthy snack before they go home.
The Elderly Care program in Panajachel feeds 25 Elderly people daily
...5 days a week.
The Elderly and Orphan Care program in San Jorge feeds 44 elderly
people and 15 children 5 days a week.
Lots of cooking skill  is required!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mayan Families will be giving a talk at GuatFest this year!

Mayan Families, Sharon and Dwight will be at GuatFest at the Nick Resort in Orlando, FL. this year! Mayan Families is the designated Charity for this years event! We will be giving a talk on October 7th and October 8th at 10:30 am. Mayan Families will host a presentation about their charity work in Guatemala and how Florida Guatfest is contributing to their projects in the opening seating area of the mall. Here is the link for more information!!/groups/FlaGuatfest/doc/?id=203216579719720

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Day in San Antonio Palopo!

Terri Weidle and her daughter, Maleni, ( who was born in Guatemala)
come down every year and spend time helping out at Mayan Families.

This year they are doing a great project of making butterfly hands
with the children at the Mayan Families Pre-school in San Antonio

The mothers were also delighted by the bags of much needed food that
they recieved from Terri when they came to pick up their children.

Terri collects money from her friends to be able to help the children
while she is here.

The children were also delighted to have a big cake to share after the
butterfly project!



Dilson is a young boy, 11yrs old who is undergoing Dialysis in Guatemala.

Dilson is a young boy, 11yrs old who is undergoing Dialysis.  His
single mother has exhausted all her financial resources to be able to
help him.

He needs to go to the city once a week for life saving treatment. He
cannot go by public transport but has to do the 6 hour round trip by
private  taxi.

Dilson has suffered so much in his young life. He still needs to have
a kidney transplant but it is not able to happen yet.

Just when Dilson's mother was absolutely desperate and distraught, a
wonderful sponsor came into their lives who is making it financially
possible for Dilson to receive the treatment he needs.

One of the great things that the family has received is an oxygen
tank.  Often Dilson finds it difficult to breathe and it was an
emergency rush to have the Bomberos ( paramedics) come to the house
and take him to the hospital. Often the Bomberos do not have oxygen in
their tanks because they just can't afford it was a harrowing
ride for Dilson to get to the hospital.

Having this oxygen tank means a huge deal to Dilson and his mother.
They are very, very grateful to the sponsor who is making it possible
for Dilson to receive the treatment he needs.

Milk and Formula to mothers and children in need in Guatemala.

Every month we distribute milk and formula to mothers and children who
are in need.
Many of the mothers who come to us are unable to breastfeed for one
reason or another, or they do not have enough breastmilk to be able to
feed the child sufficiently.
Other toddlers have been recommended to us by doctors, the local
health center, the social worker at the hospital as being in need of
milk to be able to grow. These are children that are usually very
While we encourage mothers to breastfeed because the best milk is the
mother's in some cases it is just not possible.  So we have the Milk
program or Programa de Leche.
We also provide medical support as we are able, clothing and shoes
for the mothers and the children.
If you would like to help support a child with much needed milk, we
would be very grateful.. to support a child is $20 US per month.