Monday, October 24, 2011

Thank You Volunteers

Mayan Families staff and volunteers were able to go to the emergency shelters and deliver clothing and shoes to help the victims of the tropical storm that has devastated Guatemala these past ten days. Thanks to your donations we had enough clothes and shoes to be able to help most families.

Thank you to everyone who is able to send clothes, shoes and money for
food. All are very much needed!




Little Julio

Little Julio turned 5 on the 15th of this month but due to the
torrential rains, flooding and mudslides...he and his mother could not
get to the office. The road from his village in San Jorge to
Panajachel has collapsed and there are big rockslides . It is very
dangerous to try and pass there.  But he and his mother walked more
than a hour to come down a muddy mountain path and get to the Mayan
Families office.

Julio was very glad he did!  His sponsor has sent him a birthday cake
and a ride on toy!  This is the best birthday ever for Juliio.  It is
probably the only birthday that he has ever received a present or a

As you can see from the photos....this is one very happy, little boy.
Thank you to his sponsor for making this such a special day for him!
If you would like to sponsor a child please go to our website here.

Family living dangerously close to the river

Although the rains have finally subsided, the river remains a threatening presence in Panajachel. As much of the river banks were washed away, many families now find themselves living dangerously close to quick currents. The water is still very dirty and washes in a lot of garbage and debris, making nearby homes unsanitary and nearly impossible to keep clean. We visited a family last week who live in a very poorly built home that is now very close to the river. As you can see in the picture on the left, the "wall" (i.e. sheet of aluminum) of their home is only feet away from the quick currents of the river.

This is a very dangerous and unsanitary place to live. But if it is the only home you can afford, then you have very few options of leaving. That is where this precious family finds themselves. Dominga, basically a single mother because her husband spends most of his time with another woman, is desperately trying to care for her five children and her ill mother. Somehow, their home has not collapsed during the storms, but it is in very bad shape and poses many threats to this family. Paralyzed by poverty the family cannot afford to move anywhere else.

To make matters even more difficult Nirma, only 11 years old, has a terrible infection of blisters and lesions on her scalp. As a result, they have cut her hair very short and are trying to treat her with a special shampoo, which is helping, but very slowly.

This is just one of many heart-breaking stories of impoverished families trying to survive after severe storms and floods. Our doors are open for these families as they come to us desperate for food and other aid. We are so grateful for your support through these past several days as we have tried to help this family and so many others. Any donations that you could send right now will go to families like this one, and it will make a huge difference in their every day lives. Thank you for all you have done and given! And thank you for partnering with us as we serve these precious families!

Shoes & Clothes Donations

Thank you to the people who are able to send us donations of shoes and
clothing.  As you can see, these children are so happy to receive
these donations. They don't care if the shoes are second hand, they
are just so happy to have new shoes!

We always need shoes, especially now after it has been raining and so
muddy....most of the children's shoes will be wet and ruined.
If you would like to collect shoes and send them to us...please write
to us at

Eye-Glass Clinic

Mayan Families volunteers, Joyce and Gladys were able to hold Glasses clinics and screenings this past week to help people who needed reading glasses.

Many of the women who make beaded jewelry or who do weaving, often do so in very dark or dim situations.....they do not have sufficient light and their eyes suffer a lot.

Thanks to this clinic, many men and women now have reading glasses to help them see. Thank you to Gladys and Joyce for collecting these glasses and for bringing them to help the people of Guatemala.

Donate Now to Relieve Families in Need from Storm Effects

These are some of the families that have been living in the emergency shelters this week. The torrential rain and flooding has made many houses inhabitable and others are in danger. We have been supplying food, shoes and dry clothing to the people in the shelters.

There are many families in desperate need of food.  Many have been unable to work, others have had their jobs suspended without pay as there is no tourism....we are getting pleas for help daily for food....if you would like to help please make a donation, no matter how will help...Donate Now

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hernandez family

Hi Everyone, 
You may remember last January we posted about the Hernandez family and some of you helped them.
There is an update on their situation on the Family Aid Blog.

The Hernandez family has been through a lot.  The father, Juan Pablo, has suffered greatly from physical ailments and medical malpractice, they have been robbed, and their house has been washed away by Storm Agatha (read their complete story here).  But amidst so many devastating struggles, the family perseveres on and is doing everything they can to stay together.  Two of their 3 daughters are sponsored through our school program, and they are so grateful for your help!

Today, this family is trying to live peacefully in Panajachel, but Juan Pablo and his wife, Nardy, are having trouble finding work.  Because of Juan Pablo's health problems, he has to take medicine every day and is unable to work any strenuous jobs.  So he tries to help his family by making candies that Nardy sells from a basket on the street.  They do not make very much money doing this, and they are in desperate need of money to pay for their home (which they rent) and for food.  The small home they have is run-down and the roof leaks.  The owner of the house doesn't take care of it, and the yard and roof are infested with insects and animals (such as snakes).  They pay Q500 ($67) each month for rent and electricity.  Plus they have to pay for Juan Pablo's medicine which costs Q403 ($54) every 3 weeks.  As a result, there isn't enough money for food or rent.
To read more of their story or to help them, please visit:
Thank you.

School Sponsorship news 2012

Hi everyone,
The time of year for the 2012 School Sponsorship drive has arrived!
For Elementary school it will be $190
Junior High School will be $390
High School will be $490
University will be $1,250
We are sad to put the prices up and we have agonized about it but the reality is that we cut the sponsorship as close to the bone as possible...and with the costs rising we have to go up as well.
Our wish is to have as many kids have access to school as is possible but if we can't give them what they need to be able to stay in school then there is not much point in sending them. I have been checking around to see how other organizations cope with the costs of the school sponorship and another very well known org. here in Guatemala that charges $30 US a month is giving shoes that are donated...if they have the sizes...we give two pairs of brand new shoes....they do not give backpacks, they give a plastic basket with the school supplies...while plastic baskets come in very handy, I have never seen a kid carrying their school supplies in one....and they do not pay the subscription fees or the monthly fees for the children who are in jnr. high or high school. ..we pay those fees and we give everyone a backpack, plus when we can, we give them socks, underwear, gym clothes and as much as we can to help them ...often a ball for school, or a musical instrument....we cannot guarantee that we can do  the ball and the instrument  but if we can, we do. Also we do try, when we have medical and dental groups here to make sure that all our sponsored students have access to these facilities first.   We advertise them at our office, we call students who we know have the problems that could be attended to. We really have tried to rack our brains how not to put the prices up...we have considered cutting out some things, but what to cut out that children will be able to go to school without that item?The shoes that we buy are really good quality...but even so with all the hard wearing on the roads here, they don't last a year, so the kids always receive extra shoes from the donations.   I wish we didn't have to raise the prices ..I am really sorry. I know it is a really hard time for all of us right now.Sharon 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beth's Blog

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful group of people here doing a trip.

They have been battling some pretty rainy weather and transportation has become increasingly difficult due to the poor conditions of the roads.  Mudslides are everywhere and roads are falling apart.

But a dear friend of ours, Beth is blogging during this time and if you have a moment to read her blog, you will find it very interesting.   Beth has a beautiful heart and she shares the experiences that touch her and her brother, Dave while they are here.

Here is the link .

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shoe shines boys in Panajachel, Guatemala

Saturday morning I saw these two little boys, 6 and 8 years
old....trying to get work shining shoes. They had on just thin
t.shirts and plastic shoes with no socks, the rest of their clothes
were in bad shape.  But they were cold.
I asked them if they had eaten yet and they said no. So I bought them
a hot cup of oatmeal and then took them to the Mayan Families office
to get them some clothing.

They told me that they had come by themselves to shine shoes.  A long
way from their village on the back of a pick up in the rain.  They are
the same age as my daughter, who is not allowed to cross the road by

Thanks to the donations that we have received we were able to give
them new pair had lights!!!  and new clothes to keep them
warm. They were so happy.
The caretaker at Mayan Families got them to wash their feet before
putting on their new socks and shoes and then he carefully helped dry
their feet for them.

The shoes and clothes that these two boys received just thrilled them so much.
Thank you to everyone who sends us clothes and means so
much to the people who receive it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inside a devastated home in Guatemala.

This family had no time to save anything before a mud slide came
through their home.
Our Mayan Families staff had been checking on the Elderly in our
Elderly Care Program when they came across this sponsored student and
their family.
They stopped and helped dig out a lot of mud and rescue what
belongings were possible.
A heartbreaking sight.

Collecting firewood in Guatemala

Returning from seeing the devastation at the river we saw this little boy.
He was with his father and they had been collecting branches and debri
from the river.
Lots of trees and branches get washed down the river and the people
take advantage of this disaster to at least, be able to get some free
wood to have for their fires.
It can be dangerous collecting firewood from the river...the current
is unbelievably strong.
This little boy is probably making one of many journeys back and forth
to bring home the firewood.

Emergency clothing distributed in Guatemala

This family had to evacuate quickly and left all their clothing behind.
Thanks to the donations that you have given Mayan Families, we have been able to
provide families with clean, dry clothing.
Thank you to everyone who has been able to help by sending donations.
Mayan Families can be found at