Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A very early start!

Today has  had a very early start for some of our staff members.
Elisa and Kristen have accompanied several people to the hospital and the eye clinic in Guatemala City. They had to leave at 3.30a.m. to be able to get to the hospital at 7.am. and ensure that the patient would get a ticket to be seen.

One of the patients going in is the little 7 year old boy who has a suspected lymphoma in his neck. Hopefully, we will get some good news about him today.  He and his father ( who does not speak Spanish) and a brother in law ..who does speak Spanish ...left their village last night to sleep over at our new offices so they would be able to get picked up by the mini van at 3.30a.m.
We are also taking Marvin to the eye clinic. He is having a very serious problem with his eye..and appears to be in danger of losing the sight in one eye. We hope that this clinic will be able to prevent this from happening. Thank you so much to his sponsor who is making this possible.

We are continuing our efforts to be able to move into the new offices. There are 19 classrooms upstairs for the Trade school and there are 30 rooms for offices, preschool, kitchen and dining room for the Elderly.  This will be so fantastic because anyone who has visited us recently knows that we are completely out of room in our offices on Calle Monte Rey.  We love the offices here but it is just so cramped. We are not going to know what to do with all this space but I am sure we will work it out!!!

This morning we have Spanish classes for the children of visitors who are here. The classes are given by  a young woman who is a teacher at a local school. She is adjusting it daily to the ages and needs of the kids.
This afternoon we are offering a painting class for the children of visitors..and a few of our sponsored students.

At 2.30 p.m.  we have a very fun class for about 8 students from the Tierra Linda Junior High School.   Volunteer Tony who has been volunteering with us for three years now is here with his wife, Debra and daughter, Almaz. Tony is a magician and has often entertained the kids at the preschools and different functions here. But now he is passing his trade onto this group of students ....who knows, one of them may be able to make some money from learning these fun skills. Alberto, the clown ...or as he bills himself ( the Mayan Families Official Clown) is taking classes also to learn how to improve his skills. Alberto, works as a clown part time but makes a significant amount of money to help his family with this part time work.

We are also holding a spay and neuter clinic today ......two staff members left very early ....5.am. to pick up 7 dogs from Solola and have them at the clinic ready to operate at 7.am.  We have 22 dogs and cats to operate on today.....and thankfully, most of them have people waiting to adopt them.

About two weeks ago in Panajachel, a member of the community passed away. John Pennington had been an architect  and had opened a business making good quality chairs in his retirement.  He passed away suddenly and his family came from the city and cleaned out his house.  John had two dogs, big Huskys that his nephew brought to our offices and said that he could not find anyone to take them and would we please take them or else he would have to put them down.  Of course, we added them to the already large amount of unwanted dogs that we have.
A doctor in Solola had said that he was interested in having them so we sent them to him, so he could meet them. He decided to take only one of them, the large male. This was obviously a very emotionally attached pair of dogs.  As soon as the female started to leave in the pick up , she started howling and the male started howling.  The female came back to our offices, one very, very sad dog who would only raise her head to howl.   She howled for two days.  I had been in the city but when I came back and saw how pitiful she was, I called the doctor and asked him whether he could possibly take the female as well and keep them together. He, unfortunately, did not have room but he did agree to give back the male ( who had also been howling sadly). We picked the male up and as soon as he came in the gate, the female ran to him and they were so happy to see each other!  They are just joined at the hip and walk everywhere together. We hope that we have a new owner for them.....we will find out tomorrow. ...he has agreed to take both of them, if his wife decides she likes these dogs as well. 

Susie is accompanying visitors Cindy and her family across the lake today to Santa Cruz and San Juan. Cindy has been holding mini clinics every day at the office, checking peoples blood pressure and attending to any problems they have. Yesterday she found that one of our young sponsored students was jaundice and her urine is very dark. We have sent her off for some  tests.

We are preparing the fliers  that we will be handing out at the concert in Guatemala City on Friday night. There is a group from Argentina who are called "Long Live the Queen" and they are Queen ( the rock group) impersonators. Juan Carlos Cheves who distributes the water filters here in Guatemala is organizing this concert and he has nominated Mayan Families to be the beneficiaries of any profit that he makes, after expenses are covered.   It is a huge hall located at Tikal Futuro so we are hoping that it will be full on Friday night. He has given us 20 free tickets for staff so a lot of us will be at the concert on Friday night!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Especially difficult Home Visit

I was part of an especially difficult home visit today. We have known for a while that Rodrigo's health is failing. He's been a diabetic for 7 years and has never had the proper insulin that he needed, forcing him in and out of hospitals frequently. Upon entering his small home today, we were led into a small bedroom where an extremely thin, frail man lay in a bed under 3 blankets. He was surrounded by his wife and other family members, many people were crying quietly.

Rodrigo hasn't eaten in 3 days, and he has been in his bed since Saturday, mostly unconscious. He does not want to return to the hospital. In Guatemala, if someone is admitted to the hospital, they are not ensured access to medicine or adequate care. Visitors are only allowed to be with patients for 1 hour every few days. Being readmitted to the hospital only means that Rodrigo will worry about expenses and be alone. The family is also concerned that if he dies in the hospital, they will have to pay for a specially licensed car to transport the body back to their town which is very expensive. Between the hospital bills and funeral costs, many families go into great debt when a loved one dies. Rodrigo did not want to put his family in this financial turmoil, so he was confident that he didn't want to return to the hospital.

After about 45 minutes of talking with the family, we decided it was time to go. Rodrigo appeared asleep, or unconscious, during our entire visit. We were about to leave when the family called me to quickly come back. Rodrigo had woken up. We returned into the room and the family immediately ushered me to Rodrigo's bedside. Rodrigo slowly stretched his hand out toward me and I held his cold hand in my own. It appeared to take him much effort and time, but he slowly told me that he was worried for his four children. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Please help my family. They need food. I worry for them." I told him that I would do everything I could to help them. He slowly raised his other hand and painfully told me thank you.

We were able to bring a doctor to his bedside, who says that he would have a chance at survival if he would go to the hospital right away. Rodrigo refuses and his family supports his decision. Deep within they know that he is dying and they cannot afford to have him die in a hospital.

Please consider helping Rodrigo's family during this extremely difficult time. Rodrigo's dying request was to find help and food for his children. It was extremely difficult to see him so frail, weak, and so worried for his children. Please join me in offering food donations or financial help for this struggling family. Thank you.
Mayan Families

The Wet Season is upon us!

With the wet season upon us, many families are living in misery.
Their roofs are leaking and living conditions are wet, damp and unhappy.
This family was fortunate to receive the wonderful gift of a new roof!
They are now dry and happy....a simple roof can make such a difference to the quality of life!

Living in a home with no doors or windows

These two little cuties lived in a house without any windows or doors!
 Their sponsor was able send a donation for Mayan Families to put in wooden shutters and a wood door.  This makes a huge difference to their comfort levels at home!

A small piece of land in Guatemala

This family purchased a small piece of land on a slope , the only piece that they could afford.  After they built their house and the rains came, they realized that they were in danger of losing the house and the land. Fortunately, their sponsor came to visit and funded a really fantastic retaining wall for this widowed mother and her five children.
This should stand up to many, many wet seasons! 


Monday, June 25, 2012

This family in Guatemala

This family was overjoyed to receive such a wonderful care package
from their sponsors!!!!

Today at Mayan Families

This morning we have Mayan Families staff member, Juan Carlos , accompanying one of our young students, an 11yr old girl and her mother to the city.

The girl was attacked by her neighbor and sexually assaulted...fortunately, her father came to her rescue and was able to stop the assault.  Charges have been pressed against the neighbor ( who is a local pastor)  but the situation is very tense. The family has received threats from the family of the pastor.  Today the mother and daughter are continuing the fight to continue these charges against the neighbor and also to receive therapy for the girl.  If the case is not pursued , it will be dropped and nothing will be done against this man.  We don't want to have this happen and we want the community to be aware of what this man is capable of .   We also realize that this young girl needs therapy to help her overcome the trauma.  Unfortunately, there are no separate places for the girl to wait in the court and the last time she went to court , the family of the accused and the man were sitting right in front of the girl and her family. It was a very difficult time. Fortunately, Rosa who is an advocate for Women's Rights, and was volunteering with us,  saw the situation and removed the girl to another area.

We are also lucky to have many visitors here right now.
Members of Mayan Families Connection who are here now are Bethany...who through her Facebook contacts has managed to get 48 children sponsored! 
Carmen and her family arrived yesterday.
Cindy who is a nurse is here with her family and will be helping with any medical situations we have arising.
We also have several interns who are here and will be here for at least a month to two months.
Every Monday we do the preschool and Elderly care run delivering food to the different villages.  It is a great way to see several different places, so Carmen, Bethany and maybe another person will be going along on the "tour".

Today we begin the process of moving to our new location!!!!
We have a fantastic new location near the market. It is very big and will allow us to move the preschool and the trade school that we are in the process of opening to this location.
We have been working on it for the past few weeks and hope that it will soon be internet ready and rain proof and we can move in!

Today is also " Teacher's Day" ....our preschool is closed in Panajachel, Guatemala as the teachers were offered a fantastic opportunity by the new mayor. He somehow was able to get buses and accommodation for the teachers in local schools to be able to go to TIKAL!!!!! The teachers had to cover some of their costs but it was fairly minimal, their own spending money and one nights accommodation. The buses ...about 5 of them...left at midnight on Thursday night , in a torrential downpour and drove all the way to the Peten.    I am so impressed that the mayor was able to organize this and I think it is a fabulous opportunity for teachers to be able to experience this trip and see the incredible beauty  of Tikal.    

Over the week end Dwight and I attended meetings for the new Rotary e-Club Lake Atitlan!  We have been working on getting a Rotary club started here for the past 5 years!!!  Yes, 5 years of weekly meetings and being "in process" ...finally paid off yesterday when we were granted the full club status.   Our hope is that this will bring a lot of help to this area. At the meeting yesterday, the statistics showed that San Antonio Palopo was the area with the most severe malnutrition and poverty in the Solola, Guatemala area.

Wishing you all a very happy week,

Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity


If you're interested in helping Rodrigo and his family during this time, please make donations toward specified as "Rodrigo" or student number "#810". Thank you so much.

I will update the blog as soon as possible, if you have any questions please email us at familyaid@mayanfamilies org and we would be happy to talk with you further. We are respecting the family's wishes in regards to the hospital decision. The family is aware that we are willing and able to help with hospital expenses if they choose to change their mind, but Rodrigo does not want to be in the hospital alone. He was in the hospital about 15 days ago and did not receive good care. He fell various times while being attended to and did end up hurting one of his legs. He says he wants to stay home and we are respecting his decision.

Thank you so much, Caroline, for sharing your experiences with the group. It was a very sensitive, difficult situation to be part of, but I believe we were all honored to be there as we tried to offer some peace of mind and support. Much like you, I was almost sick at the thought of accepting cold bottles of water from the family, but I think it shows how much they wanted to say thank you to us for coming. In the midst of their grief, they took the time and money to show us their gratitude and I am so very humbled by this.

Thank you to those of you who are donating or considering to donate. At this time, all donations will be used for food for the family, as was Rodrigo's request. If there is a change and he does decide to go to the hospital we will notify you immediately.

All the Best,

Jenny Durica
Family Aid Coordinator
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity
Email: jenny@mayanfamilies.org
Website: www.mayanfamilies.org

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cristobalina's birthday in Guatemala

Today is Cristobalina's birthday...as you may remember she is the young girl who was electrocuted, had both her arms amputated, spent a long time in a wheelchair, taught herself to paint using her mouth,.    She has been through more pain, physical and mental , in her young life than most people will ever have to endure.   
But she is strong, she is continuing her therapy and she and her family are so grateful for the support that they have received from Mayan Families.

Today we have a volunteer photographer going to visit her, she is documenting Cristobalina's struggle with her therapy and how she is doing,  and as it is her birthday....if anyone would like to donate a birthday cake ...or part of a birthday cake for her to celebrate ...that would be wonderful.!

If you would like to send anything to her, that would be great!
This is one special young girl....I think today is her 16th birthday .
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday in Guatemala

Monday we are facilitating a medical/dental and vision clinic in El Barranco!
So far this medical team saw over 250 people in Panajachel, 157 in San Jorge.  They have been doing a great job.
Monday we also have our new Volunteer Coordinator Erin taking over from Susie.  Susie will continue to work at Mayan Families but will be focusing on other areas.
We also have a new intern, Daniella starting for five weeks.
Volunteers, Bethany and her son Seth,   Kerry, her parents and her two daughters, Medina and Ruby are visiting. Cindy and her friend arrived late Sunday afternoon and if Cindy is not too tired she will be coming to El Barranco to help  the medical clinic. 
We have an early morning trip leaving Panajachel at 3.30a.m. to get to the hospital at 7:00 A.M....we are taking the young girl from San Antonio to see the specialist. She was there last week but needs to go back for more tests.  She is bleeding continually from her mouth, in large clots .   So far, thank goodness, they have ruled out Leukemia...Jody from COTA has suggested that we give her vitamin K which one of her doctors suggest will stop the problem but the bleeding is increasing and the mother is very anxious.   We are trying the Vitamin K as well. 
We will still have a few Father's Day Baskets to give out. The folks from across the lake could not come over as it was heavy rain over there making boat travel difficult and dangerous.
We also will be giving out more gifts from Denise's shipment. Many students received their gifts on Sunday but more still to go out.
Plus it was Gloria's ( our manager) birthday on Sunday....and the mothers at the Panajachel preschool have a surprise for her, so we will be stopping there around 11:00 A.M. for tamales and birthday cake! 
Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here's a new way you can support our cause.

Here's a new way you can support our cause.

Install Enliken and start donating today! Just browse the web the way you always do and help support the mission of Mayan Families.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cleft Palate baby

Hi everyone,
We have groups that come down and do cleft palates. 
There is one coming to Hermano Pedro hospital in Antigua that we may be able to get this baby in for July...if she is 10lbs in weight.  That will be a stretch because she is only about 7 lbs now.
Then COTA...Children of the Americas will be coming sometime this year....Jody ...who is on this list will be able to tell us when  She has already contacted me when she saw the photos and said it was a more complicated case.   For COTA the babies have to weigh 20 lbs which will take a bit longer.  Unfortunately, the COTA clinics are not usually located near us and we have to travel which has more transportation costs. 
Then Salud y Paz also bring in medical groups  and they will probably have a group sometime this year or early next year who will do it.  They are located closer to us. 
Some groups charge a little . 
In Hermano Pedro...there are costs involved because we have to travel to the hospital, take the mother and child to the consultation, do some tests...which do have to be paid for, and there is a small cost for the hospital.  The mother does not speak Spanish so we have to send a translator with her.  The hospital will have an accommodation for the mother but the translator will have to have a room paid to sleep over and food.  This is true for just about any clinic we will send the baby too.
Some groups will charge nothing...like COTA , others make a small charge, like SAlud y Paz...which is about $8 US   and then others charge as much as $250 US.
Jody tells me that this baby's case will be more complicated and so I don't know what that will involve.
But there will be needs for the baby before and afterwards ...for milk for the baby, for food because the father will have to take time off work to accompany the mother...and that means if he is not working, there is no money coming in for the family, transportation and cost of food while the family is at whichever clinic will be available for them.    Then there should be follow up afterwards, the baby might need medicine or a medical check up by a doctor.  These are the costs that really add up for us. 
Thank you so much for thinking about this baby and how to help her,

Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

A Womens business

Yesterday I was in one of the stores in Panajachel picking up some groceries.
There was a rack holding bags made from t.shirts.
These very useful bags were selling for approx. $4.00..
on top of  the rack was a smiling photo of the woman who makes them and little story about her.
This was one of the women from our sewing class!
The sign had been made in the office for her by Elizabeth.
I was so proud to see one of our women out there being a business woman and promoting herself!
Sharon Smart-Poage

registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yesterday was a busy Monday

Yesterday was a busy Monday ...it started off really well.  

We were fortunate to have a group here led by Jenny's mother. One of the women, Jenny's Aunt is a mid wife.....so we took advantage of having her here to give a talk about breastfeeding to the women who were collecting cans of formula and milk for their babies, toddlers and children with special needs for milk. ....some of the children are special needs and others are children who need milk for various reasons. We always prefer breastfeeding, but sometimes it is not possible.

The talk was translated from English to Spanish to Kakchiquel. It took time to do this but it was worth it because while many women say that they understand Spanish, when it is translated into their language of Kakchiquel, then they really grasp what is being said.

During that time, we had a mother bring her one month old baby girl in who has a severe cleft palate. This mother has had four children but has never had to bottle feed a baby before. She had received the formula several days before hand and when I saw her, I asked her to show me how she is preparing the baby's bottle. She brought out a thermos that she had purchased and poured the very hot water into the bottle, scooped out the milk and then to my horror, was about to give the bottle to the baby. I stopped her and gave her a talk about how the milk has to be cooled down, she was not carrying a bottle of cold water with her and had not thought that the water should be just warm and not hot. We gave her a talk which took about 15 mins translating from Spanish into Kakchiquel..so that it was very clear. We also showed her how to test the baby bottle on the inside of her wrist....I think she was a bit horrified about wasting the milk drops to test the heat but we assured her that as soon as she ran out of milk, then we would make sure that she received more. We told her several times to not water down the milk when she is getting to the end of the cans...this is a something that mothers do here in an attempt to stretch out the milk formula, it is watered down so much that the babies are hungry and it defeats the purpose of feeding them. This mother is doing a good job in caring for her little girl....she was happy to hear the mid wife congratulate her. As with every baby I have seen with a cleft palate, the mothers cover their faces with a piece of cloth so that other people cannot see them. I wanted to take the baby to the talk and show the other mothers a baby with a cleft and explain what causes this and how they need special care till they can be operated on ....and once they are operated on, then they are absolutely fine, but I knew this mother would be very embarrassed if I did that.

After the talk the mid wife attended to several babies with fever...and we were, thanks to your donations, able to give out tylenol , ibeprofun etc for infants.  While doing this I realized that our medicine cabinet has become very depleted.  We are in need of Ibeprofun , tylenol etc for infants, children and adults.   One of the mother's came to us for help with migraines and we were able to give her pain killers..which she says really helps her get through her migraines.
We are also in need of hydro-cortisone cream and antibiotic cream...in case anyone is coming down or sending donations down.
We really appreciate the help with medicines so much.

It was a hectic morning. We had a young man here , a medical student who has volunteered for several years in Guatemala, he is making a documentary about health and volunteering in Guatemala.   He was happy to be here for the talk with the women and then went on a tour with Susie of the pre schools in Tierra Linda, El Barranco and finished at the Elderly care program in San Jorge.   It was a pleasure to meet this young man ....anyone who has him for a doctor when he graduates...will be very fortunate!

Jenny, Kristen  and two volunteers interviewed all the mothers who are receiving milk , this was a time consuming process but one that is so needed to make sure that the babies are receiving all they need,.......then with the help of Jenny's mother and Jenny's aunt, the infants and toddlers were measured and weighed and photographed with their milk or incaparina.  Incaparina is a very healthy, vitamin enriched cereal which we are giving to toddlers and children who are no longer in need of the milk program but are in need of extra help with food.

We told the mother's about an upcoming clinic we are hosting later this week with Global Hands of Healing. It is the 3rd year that they have come to work with us and we are very much looking forward to having them with us.
We have the clinic in Panajachel on Friday, Saturday in San Jorge...( yes, unfortunately, we don't have this week end off!) Monday in El Barranco and Tuesday in San Antonio Palopo.

Laura interviewed a woman who had been brought to us by  an Indigenous woman, Rosa  who has helped us for years.  She never asks for help for anyone unless the situation is very bad and this poor woman is in a bad situation. After interviewing her, Laura told me ...this woman needs everything! 
Rosa is also an animal lover and she told me the story about two children being bitten by a suspected street dog in the neighborhood of Jucanya...( which means across the river) . Apparently the family members had then decided to take matters into their own hands and had gone around clubbing dogs to death in the streets. There are a lot of stray dogs here but there are also a lot of dogs who are owned who are on the streets. Most dogs here are very timid and scared of people because they have been badly treated.  Some react aggressively to the bad way that they have treated and do bite. The over population of dogs is one of the reasons  that we encourage people to bring their dogs to the spay and neuter clinics that we hold ....to not only relieve the enormous suffering of puppies on the street but to also stop the over population and reduce the amount of dogs on the streets which are a health hazard for people ,not only problems with being bitten but also the amount of dog feces. . Unfortunately, funds have been very hard to come by and we have had to stop our monthly clinics until we are able to raise more money for the animal program.  It is $25 US to spay and/or neuter a dog or cat.   If you know any vets. who would like to come and volunteer, please encourage them.
Rosa was going to attend the meeting that had been proposed in the neighborhood where they were suggesting that no one be allowed to feed street dogs..so that they can starve to death. She was going to represent Mayan Families in asking people to be responsible for their animals and ask the Municipalidad to instead of spending money on possibly  poisoning animals( which was something else being suggested)  to use the money to spay and neuter through our program.  In reality , there are very few people who feed street dogs, they live more on bags of trash that are left on the street.

After talking to Rosa, I was approached by two women, one holding a very new baby.  The mother of the baby brought out three photos of her 8 yr old daughter, Heydi.   One of the photos was of Dwight and I with Heydi when she graduated from her  local  pre- primaria and went onto elementary school.  I really didn't know Heydi, she was not one of our sponsored children,  we were the Padrinos for the graduation ceremony and we had our photo taken with probably about two hundred children that day, we congratulated them and presented them with a small gift.  
Through tears, Heydi's mother told me how she had given birth last Sunday at 5.p.m. and on Monday morning at 5.am. , Heydi had died.      Heydi had been bleeding from the mouth and the nose for two days. Her parents had taken her to the local health center but they couldn't help her, they had then taken her to the local hospital and the hospital wanted to do a lot of tests on her , but all the tests had to be done at private clinics which cost money...the hospital does not have the funds to do the tests.   The family could not afford the tests, so they took Heydi home, hoping that she would get better.   The hospital said that they could give Heydi a free ultra sound but not till the following week.  By that time, Heydi would be dead and buried.  With the mother in labor , Heydi bleeding, the family was in panic and not knowing what to do.   Someone told the father he should take Heydi to Xela...to a hospital there. a 2 hour trip...he borrowed the money and rushed Heydi to the hospital...she was admitted but it was too late.  Heydi died very soon after being admitted.  The hospital gave her a death certificate that says she had gastro intestinal  and something illegible.      The family, now devastated by this loss ,is now in even a worse position.  They now have a large debt of $250 US to pay to the funeral parlor...they had to pay for the transportation of Heydi's body back to Panajachel.  They also have to pay $140 US that they borrowed from family members to be able to pay the taxi that took Heydi to Xela and they have to pay the hospital fees that are approx. $120 US.   All these debts , apart from the family, have started to incur interest because they could not pay with in three days.

The father sells on the street. He has not been able to work for at least a week.  His wife cannot help him because she has the baby and her own overwhelming grief and shock to deal with.
They also have four other small children at home.   So food has been scarce.  Jenny's mother and their group gave the family a 100 lb bag of corn and a $100 to help with their debt.  We contacted the funeral parlor and put this money directly into their account.  If anyone would like to help this family, they would be so grateful.  This debt and food is an issue for them right now. This is an example of a family that has never come to us for help, that have always managed to make enough money to be able to support themselves, send their children to school but when a tragedy like this happens, they just need a helping hand to be able to get over this horrible situation.

The father was very upset with the treatment that he had received in the local hospital, that they had not been able to help.  But I also understand that the hospital does not have the funding.
We were fortunate last week to be able to donate medical equipment to the hospital.   A man who is the administrator of a small public hospital in the U.S. collected machines , that were in excellent condition , but being replaced in his hospital. He kept them in his garage until he could afford to send them down to us.  We presented them to the hospital, great machines, cardiac equipment, great examining  tables, etc.  The hospital was so grateful....and at the time, the hospital administrator explained to us , that they were really short of funds. They are short of simple things like plastic gloves and towels as well as the major items.

We had another woman come from Aqua Escondido with a letter from the church there.  They are hoping that we may be able to raise funds so that she could have a piece of land.
( there is still land for sale in the huge piece where we purchased land for the 8 families).
This woman is a grandmother. She is caring for her 2 yr old grand daughter.   The child's mother went to Huehuetenango, a big town close to the Mexican border,  to get a job that she had been promised.  She has not been heard from now in nearly 6 months.  The grandmother does not think that she would just not communicate.  She is very worried and very upset about her daughter but she has no way to look for her.
In the mean time she is now trying to raise her grand daughter, she does not have enough food for her and the child is sickly and needs medical attention.  This grandmother has never owned her own piece of land, she has always rented and always had to move around.   The church is asking us if we can help her purchase a small piece of this land so that she will have some where secure to raise the grand child. The grandmother is worried that she will not be able to work and maintain the little one without some help.

These are just some of the stories from the people yesterday.

I heard Jenny say to Laura...." I feel like I want to cry but I just don't have the time".

  It was that kind of day yesterday. Sharon

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Medical care

Mothers come to us every day with sick children.
They can't afford to go to the doctor. There is a doctor at the Centro
Salud which is the government clinic but mostly they do not have
medicines. Often the Centra Salud clinic sends us letters asking for
help with basics like antibiotics and gloves....basic things that they
should have but don't.  If a mother goes there with a sick child, the
doctor often gives her a prescription for medicine that she cannot
afford to fill.  They will often bring the prescription to us. We have
very little funds for medical care.  We appreciate any donation, no
matter how small it is that will help us be able to purchase the
medication needed for a sick child.   Thanks!

Families and students receiving help!

Families and students receiving help!



Mayan Families Donations

These boys were sitting outside our house one Sunday morning.
One of them is our sponsored student and the other two were his
younger brothers.
They were very shy but were hoping that I would notice that they
needed shoes....it was hard not too notice.
We had shoes and some clothes brought up from the office, it started
to rain, so we brought the boys inside, it was past 1p.m. and they
hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch yet.
We gave them lunch, they watched a little t.v. and then they were
excited to get new shoes and clothes.
Thanks for your donations that make this possible.
Thank you for sponsoring children to go to school so that we are able
to help them.
The two younger brothers need a sponsor if anyone would like to help them.
www.mayanfamilies.org or write to Sharon@mayanfamilies.org

Thank you from the children in San Antonio Palopo!

The children in the San Antonio Palopo pre-school were delighted to receive a water filter that will give them all clean, safe drinking water for one whole year!
Thank you so much!

Our proud Mayan Families Team who ran the 1/2 Marathon.

This is our team of young boys from the Jnr. High in Tierra Linda.  They are photographed with Mayan Families staff member Susie, who ran in the 1/2 marathon with her 70 year old mother, Nancy who came to Guatemala especially for the Marathon.  Also in the photograph are two more Mayan Families students from Panajachel, Omi and Jonathon, who
both work at Mayan Families before school and on the week ends.
The boys from Tierra Linda had a long way to walk  to get to
Panajachel before they even started the marathon but they did it in, in the rain, and still got here on time at 6.30.am.
We are very proud of all of them!

It has been a hard day.

It has been a hard day today.

First the mother who died in the lake.  Her sons came to the office late this afternoon asking if we could help them.   I asked them what they needed most and they said some coffee and sugar for the people who would come to sit vigil tonight with their mother's body.  The boys were just 14yrs old and 16 yrs old.   They told us that their mother did not drown herself, that her body showed she had a stab wound to her stomach and that she had been beaten...they said that she was robbed but I am not sure if they knew what she had with her.  
They had been in Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela...2 hours from here when they got the message, they jumped on the bus wearing just a t.shirt, no jacket, they were cold and wet when they got here.  They could not talk and the tears were rolling down their cheeks.
They have decided to move back to Panajachel and live with their uncle and aunt.
Thanks to one of their sponsors..we were able to buy them coffee, sweet breads, sugar and 100 lb bag of corn.  Tomorrow we will take a big bag of chicken to them so that they can have lunch with the mourners before they leave for the cemetery.
They told me that their mother had planned to come to the office today to talk about their situation.
We dropped them at home, they walked down the lane way , carrying their bags of food....these kids have had a hard life and now they feel very lost but they are clinging to each other.

After lunch we walked out of our house and we noticed a lot of police cars down the street, we walked down closer.
A truck driver had been drunk ....he was driving a big truck, he ran over an 80 yr old man who was walking back from the market carrying his groceries....then the truck plowed into a parked car, sending it onto a curb, where usually there are children playing and adults sitting outside. Thankfully, no one was there.   The man is in a critical condition in the hospital and the truck driver is in jail.   Unfortunately, in these situations the drivers usually manage to pay their way out of jail.

After going back to the office, the reality of the dangers of the wet season were very apparent...a very large boulder had fallen down from the mountain onto the road coming into the town of Panajachel. Fortunately, no one had been on the road when the boulder fell.

But on the bright side we had the carpenter teacher start today who is going to teach the carpentry classes at the trade school we will soon be opening.  He seems like he is the right person!

These are a lot of things to happen in a very small town on one day!
Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Baby Maria Angelica needs a sponsor!

Baby Maria Angelica needs a sponsor to be able to supply her with formula. If you can help Maria with just one can or whether you can sponsor her for several months....we would really appreciate to be able to help her.

Maria Angelica has to be 20 lbs so that she can be operated on.  We need her to be healthy and strong.

To donate , please go to www.mayanfamilies.org