Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Updated information added to the Elderly Care Program

Hi Everyone,
Please continue to watch for new updates to the Elderly Care Program.
There has been some new information added. To check is out, please visit:
Thank you!

Carlos is in constant pain...and he's only 6 years old. FA184

Carlos is only 6 years old, but he looks more like a 3 year old. He has several medical concerns that need immediate attention. First of all, Carlos has a lot of pain in his mouth because of the alignment of his teeth. It's a rare problem, but little Carlos suffers greatly from it. We have sent him to a specialist to get an estimate of how to fix this problem and relieve Carlos of his constant pain. Carlos will need to have surgery and basically have all of his teeth removed. This is an extensive procedure and will cost $350. If you could help with any of this expense, it would make a huge difference for little Carlos so that he isn't in constant pain.

Also, Carlos was in an accident when he was young and has had cerebral problems ever since. He cannot move his body, and he is 6 years old. His mother has never sent him to a neurologist because they are very poor and just assumed any problems were irreversible. However, we believe that this little boy should at least have the chance to be seen by a doctor and given a proper medical diagnosis. Only then, will we be able to understand what is really wrong with him and if his cerebral problems can be helped. At this time, we can't say how much a neurologist will cost, and Carlos won't be able to make an appointment until after his dental surgery.

Carlos's father has abandoned the family and wants nothing to do with him. So Carlos's mother is trying to help relieve him of his pain alone. She has already made the appointment for Carlos to have his surgery, but she cannot afford all of it, so is asking for any help you might be able to give.

If you would like to help relieve this little boy of his pain or know someone who would, please visit:


Thank you!

Crecencia lost her husband and four of her children FA182

Hi Everyone,
 Here is another very sad story posted on the FA Blog.
Crecencia is not even 40 years old yet and she has already been through a lot in her life. This year has been especially tragic for her.

Nicolas, Crecencia's husband was diabetic and the family didn't have enough money to give him proper medical care. He was rushed to the hospital many times in the last few years and they contracted a huge debt to pay for his treatment, but unfortunately, last February he passed away at home, leaving his wife with 8 kids to raise by herself.

While still grieving for her husband, Crecencia was struggling to support her 8 kids and herself. Out of desperatation and the need to make some extra money, she sent 4 of her kids to work with a neighbor in the fields. On their way back home, the truck they were in had an accident and fell of a cliff and all of her 4 kids, aged between 9 and 12 years old, died.

That would be enough to make someone give up on life, but Crecencia couldn't stop thinking about her 4 other children that she had to care for. While persisting through these horrible tragedies, she also had to worry about the money her husband had borrowed and that she was now responsible to pay back. In a desperate pusuit of help, she made an agreement with her brothers-in-law that they would pay for the debts and in exchange she would give them the deed to her house until she could pay them back. Now, in order to get the deed to the house back, she has to pay her debt.

She is now living with her mother in a small house in San Jorge La Laguna. There are 9 people living in the house. Between them they share 3 beds without mattresses . They don't have a stove, they cook on the floor inside the bedroom. The kids don't have enough clothes or shoes and most of them have never attended school.

The family's most urgent need is to pay for her debt and get her house back. They also are in desperate need for food and sponsors for the children to attend school.

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


Thank you!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

San Andres Pre-School Independence Day Parade

The Mayan Families/Missioin Guatemala pre-school/feeding program
participated in their first Independence Day Parade on Sept. 15th.
One of the girls was selected as Princess of the school and she had
the honor of helping to raise the flag.   She was also on the stage
with the other princesses from various schools when they did the
pledge to allegiance.
Here is the link:  https://picasaweb.google.com/mayanfamilies/Septiembre15De2011FotosDeDesfileDelPreEscolarDeSanAndresSemetabaj?authuser=0&feat=directlink



Mayan Families Newsletter Summer 2011


Friday, September 23, 2011

Technical Errors

Our apologies for the technical issues viewed and experienced on this blog in the past. We believe we have fixed the problems within the format, but if you continue to experience browsing issues please email david@mayanfamilies.org and let us know what the issue was (including the title or date of the blog post) and what internet browser you used while it occurred.

Thank you for reading this blog. Your support for Mayan Families is much appreciated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Many of you may remember little baby Alex from Tierra Linda.  He had a
cleft palate and went to the U.S. for surgery through Children of the

Kim and her family were the foster parents for little baby Alex.   Kim
came back to Guatemala when Alex was healed.   She traveled to Tierra
Linda and met his family and left part of her heart with little Alex.

Alex is now attending the Mayan Families Pre-school in Tierra Linda.
He is also a big brother. Alex is a celebrity in Tierra Linda....he
went to the U.S. and came back!

Panajachel Pre -school

All the little girls at the Mayan Families Panajachel pre-school were
delighted to receive these pinafore dresses that had been made by one
woman and sent down with the Crestwood Rotary Club.

The dresses are very cute and the children were delighted!
Thank you!

Families getting help with food

In late August and early September we gave out food to many families who were fortunate enough to receive food from their sponsors.

The amount of food the families receive depend on the amount sent.
We have no fixed amount.  We figure that any amount, no matter how
small is a huge help for a family.

We have some families that have to divide one egg between four
children...so if a family like that receives $5 US worth of eggs they
are so happy because there is enough eggs for them all to have an egg

If you would like to send food to a family, we have a long list of
families who are in desperate need of help.

Earthquakes in Guatemala.

One of our sponsored families called me from Santa Rosa, Cuilapa, they have had five earth tremors there today....they felt it very strongly....they said that some houses had fallen down and there were a few deaths reported, they have told me.  The family that called me was very scared and were too afraid to go back into their home.  I have heard it was a 5.8
Some people felt it here in Panajachel but it was very light. I certainly didn't feel it.
It is raining very heavily in Panajachel this afternoon.
Lets hope that things will calm down.
Here is a link to the news story:

Friday, September 16, 2011

FA177 Maynor has a Severe Injury that Needs Medical Care

Hi Everyone,
Maynor has a severe burn injury that needs medical care.
His story is is a very sad one. He has suffered most of his life with it and needs help to have a better quality of life.

Maynor is only 9 years old and already he has faced so much. At two years old, there was an accident in his home and Maynor's bed caught on fire. His left leg was severely burned and he lost most of his left foot. He was taken to a public hospital in the capital city and was treated for 8 months. Maynor's mother died 4 years later, leaving Maynor and his 5 siblings with only their father. The father has since remarried, but Maynor's new step-mother is not fond of him and the added trouble his disability brings to their family.

Maynor and his family live in another city, but on Fridays and Sundays Maynor's dad brings him to Panajachel. Showing off his scarred leg and burnt foot, Maynor's father forces him to beg for money.

A couple found Maynor begging on the street and brought him to Mayan Families. Maynor does speak some Spanish, but he speaks Kaqchiquel more fluently. So one of our Guatemalan staff translated for him as he told us his story. He cannot walk or even stand easily because it hurts him anytime he tries to step on the ground. It appears that his burnt foot is infected, with flies swarming around scabs. It has been 7 years since a doctor has looked at Maynor's burns.

We were eventually able to contact his father and ask if he would approve for us to take Maynor to the capital to see a specialist. After a few days, we still hadn't heard from Maynor's dad so we called him again. Finally, he gave his support saying that we could make an appointment with a specialist, but that he himself could not stay in the capital with Maynor. Regardless, we are so happy that we can try to help Maynor and maybe even find a way for him to walk with a special prosthetic.

So we are sharing Maynor's story with you to see if you are able to help him in any way. We'd like to take him to a specialist in the capital, and the transportation and doctor fees will cost $100. We're not sure what type of treatment or medicine he may need. It's possible that he may even need surgery. So it's hard to say what his long-term medical costs might be. But if you could help us get him to the specialist then we hope to give him more opportunities for his future than just begging on the street.

Any amount that you could give for Maynor will be greatly appreciated! 

To read Maynor's story or to help him, please visit:


Please spread the word to find Maynor some help. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Elections in Guatemala

Hi, well the elections are mostly over. It was very quiet here in Panajachel. Long lines for people to get to the ballot boxes.    Apparently, there is a charge of Q1 to vote and this money is then given to the political parties who ran. I am not sure how that works and it is the first that I have heard about it but one of our staff members told us about this.

There was trouble in San Antonio Palopo yesterday after the elections. Apparently, there was a large group who were not happy with the man who won the mayor's position. We heard that a large group were throwing rocks at the municipal building. We saw a police car return from there with the windshield broken and a lot of body damage from having rocks thrown at it.  We did not deliver the weekly groceries to our pre-school/ after school program in San Antonio yesterday because of this unrest but there was enough food in the school to feed the children. We will probably be able to deliver the rest of the food today.   We thought about closing the school but decided that it was far enough away from the problem area not to warrant that and it is so important for the children to be able to eat.

 One of the main issues for Guatemalan people is the end to violence and kidnappings.  Both these candidates have promised this.

In Panajachel, the candidate for Mayor was from Oto Perez Molina's party and he has won the office of the Mayor for the next four years. 

Presidential hopefuls Otto Pérez Molina, who received 36% of the vote, and Manuel Baldizón, with 23.5%, will compete in a runoff election on November 6th.


Panajachel, Guatemala.
Web:       www.mayanfamilies.org

Friday, September 9, 2011

Employment opportunity for members of the Sewing Project

We are excited to embark on a new venture with a local NGO in Panajachel, Mercado Global.   Mercado Global  helps women artisan with viable employment opportunities.  They asked to partner with us because we have trained over 140 women from nearby communities with Sewing  Skills.  On Wednesday, Sept 7 we had a meeting with the 16 women who have been selected to partake on this employment opportunity and a Mercado Global representative.   Some of the women selected to participate have already worked with Mercado Global before, so they will serve as advisors to the new members who are taking on this project. The participants will create a steering committee for their group and they have also been asked to get the proper documentation to receive wages.  This is really empowering because women learn about organizational processes as well.  

The women were selected based on their sewing abilities as well as their economic need.   After undergoing the trial period, the selected participants will start making the conference bags for a well known international apparel company.  This particular company needs thousands of bags to be completed so this employment opportunity should keep the women busy for months to come!  Most importantly the women will be able to earn an income and help their families.  We are very happy to have facilitated this opportunity for the women by providing the sewing skills that are required of them.

Our sewing instructor, Don Alberto, is currently providing a couple of
training sessions to the women to ensure that they do a fantastic job with the bags

Independen​ce Day Celebratio​ns begin.

Every village and town chooses a Princess to celebrate Independence
Day.....often each school chooses their own princess...and a Senorita
Sports, and a Senorita Independence, a Senorita of the environment.
The Mayan Families /Mission Guatemala pre-school in San Andres held
their selection yesterday.

The children performed traditional dances, sang and danced.
The little one who won Senorita Caritas Sonadoras...which is the name
of the pre-school  ( it means Little faces  with big dreams) did a
great job, she was thrilled to be elected ....but later in the day she
was rushed to the hospital with pnuemonia.  She is now doing well and
looking forward to being in the parade on Sept. 15th which is
Independence Day in Guatemala.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Santa Shipment!

Denise, I want to thank you so much for coordinating and doing the Santa shipment again this year.
I cannot tell you how much this shipment means to everyone who receives a gift from it.
The students who receive gifts are thrilled ...along with their families.

But the children who are not sponsored and who also receive gifts are really thrilled.
We take toys to many different villages to give out.

We try to make sure that every child that is sponsored and their siblings receive a gift.....we are always on edge not knowing whether we will have enough.

We try to do Christmas parties in each of the pre-schools so that each child there gets a toy. We bring Santa and it is a lot of fun.

We encourage any of sponsors, supporters and friends who would like to come down and have a lot of fun to think about coming down in the month of December when we give out the Tamale Baskets and give out toys.

We have groups from lots of different areas come to us asking can we please share some toys so that the children in their areas can also have the fun of receiving a toy.   It really doesn't have to be such a huge toy or brand new....these children are just so grateful to get anything.   Gently used is fine. We try to help as much as we can.   We have a radio station in Solola that we give a little basket of gifts to and they run a competition with it and have lots of mothers come in and try and get the basket for their families.  It doesn't have anything too much in it by Western standards but a stuffed animal, a little throw blanket and some soap....is a huge gift here for Christmas in Guatemala.   

The Paramedics also go around town on Christmas Eve and have Santa on the back of the truck. He throws little toys to all the children lining the streets.
They also have some candy they throw.
Each year the Bomberos ( Paramedics) come to us asking can we please help them with toys.   So we gather all the softest little toys that won't hurt anyone being thrown from the truck, soft little balls, baby toys, bouncy balls , mc Donalds toys etc and we give a big bag to the Bomberos so that they can make Christmas Eve fun for the children. 

One of our Staff members, Eddy, who is very community minded organizes a little Christmas party in his neighborhood every Christmas Eve. He spends weeks before hand going around to all the stores asking for donations of candy, collecting money to help buy the pinatas, they get donations to be able to make  a little food for each child, so that they have a drink and a tostado.  His father, Alberto is a clown and entertains the crowd.  They have games and we give them some little toys also to be able to give as prizes. 

We make up little ziplock bags of toys ( or plastic bags when we run out of ziplocks) and we put the little tiny toys we get, little dolls, little plastic planes and cars, metal cars, ....these were the most popular last year with the boys!!!   They were dying to get one of these bags that had all sorts of mysteries in them....there were pieces of Lego, McDonald's toys, action figures and the most treasured of all, little cars.   So please do not think that you don't have anything, just the things that your kids do not play with, will bring a lot of joy to the kids here.   There is nothing too small!

If it is possible to do a toy drive at your church, school or workplace, please think about doing it .....it will mean so much to the children here.

Thank you everyone who is able to participate in these shipments.
We cannot tell you how fantastic it is.
Thank you Denise for all  your hard work and your willingness to do this.

We know it is a huge amount of work.

If you are not able to participate but would like to buy a gift for a sponsored child, we will have a list of the gifts available soon on our blog and will post it here.

If you would like to send a donation so that we can buy gifts for children here,...that would be wonderful.
Thank you so much!

Sharon Smart-Poage
Web:       www.mayanfamilies.org