Sunday, August 7, 2011

Elder abuse in Guatemala

Hi, I don't know how many of you may  have seen the videos on our is of the Elder Care features an elderly husband and wife. He is deaf and she is blind.  We first met them when we saw them going through the trash in the market in Panajachel looking for food.

When we visited the home, the husband explained that he preferred to sleep outside on a bed made of cardboard rather than sleep inside ...he said this was because there were a lot of fleas inside.  At the time, I thought it was strange because there didn't seem to be any fleas there.  His bed was just a few pieces of cardboard on a piece of wood and it had to be cold outside, also the bed had to get wet in the rainy season because there was so little cover.

I realized last Christmas the real reason.    The elderly couple have their adult son living with him and he is very abusive.  He drinks a lot and when he drinks he gets very violent.

Last  Christmas the paramedics brought the husband to us and asked if we could find a place for him to sleep as the son had thrown him out of the house.

We put him up for a few days and then he went home.....but I heard more stories about how everyone knew the son was abusive.

Last night , around 10pm. the son was drunk and started beating up the father. The father is so frail.  This poor old man works so hard, he collects bottles to sell, he has his chickens to raise and he still goes out and gets whatever work he can.  He is probably nearly 75 yrs old.

The neighbors screams alerted Eric who is a Mayan Families staff member who happens to live nearby. Eric rushed over to the house to help the elderly man. The son was threatening anyone who came in that he would also beat them ....but Eric was a paramedic for nearly 7 years and is a very chunky man. He was not scared. He went in and pulled the old man out.  But not before the son had then thrown him into a little stream running inside their property.   Eric arranged for the husband to be taken to the health center where a doctor checked him over, we were able to get him clean, dry clothes from the donations...thanks to all of your donations we have these things available!  

The police arrested the son and he was in jail for the the old man was safe to go home.
We are going to be talking to the lawyer tomorrow and see what we can do to protect the father from this abusive son.
I am not sure what avenues are open to us and what the parents will agree to do. They may be scared to take action against him.
But we will see what we can do.

Sharon Smart-Poage

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