Saturday, July 7, 2012

A very busy week in Guatemala with Mayan Families

Hi, well it has been such a busy week .
We were thrilled to receive a donation to be able to give the families in Aqua Escondido shelters to live in . ....and then even a bigger, bigger thrill to get such a generous donation to be able to provide them with so much better housing!    The first set of materials were delivered on Wednesday ...before we knew about the larger donation coming....and the woman who works for the church in that community knew that we were bringing building supplies so the families could start construction.. She prepared a simple lunch but done as they say here in Guatemala" with all my heart" ...She told Gloria that several of the families are taking turns eating every second day because they do not have enough food.  She asked us if we could help send food out there.  We do have some donations of bags of food from "Feed my Starving Children" that we will be sending out this week to them. But if anyone would like to help with some extra food then that would be very, very welcome.

and here is one when the families are looking at their land. 

We also have a group of 8 men arriving on Thursday who want to work on construction on Thursday and Friday and so we have scheduled them to go out and work in Aqua Escondido to help the families there.

We were originally going to get them to build a kitchen in Panajachel for a single mother who has an onil stove but no shelter whatsoever , so it makes it very difficult for her to cook in the wind and impossible in the rain.....but we will have to wait and hope that another group will come who will want to help her.

San Jorge jnr. high school is a small school that is really struggling.  With the new govt. taking over they have not been sent the funds they were promised...and so the parent council was faced with some very difficult decisions to make.  If they closed the school, then the children who were attending would not be able to transfer to another school after the school year had already the only solution for them was to pay for the teacher's salaries out of their own pockets.   They received some help from the Municipality council in San Jorge and they received some help from the parents but they have been desperately searching how to be able to pay the teachers till the end of the year.  If by then the govt. does not step in and pay for the wages, then the school will have to close .   But right now the parent council needs a $1,000 US per month to be able to keep the wages paid and not go into more debt themselves.  If anyone can help, it would be a real blessing for this very worried group of parents who took on a big responsibility ...not knowing that it would be much larger than they had anticipated..and they have kept their promise to the kids that the school would be open this year.  We took gym uniforms to the school so that the students will have uniforms to compete when they play the other schools.

Tony and his wife, Debra have been doing magic shows at each of the pre-schools!  They are doing this along with Alberto the clown.  On Friday they performed at the Tierra Linda pre school and the boys from the jnr. High school who have been taking magic classes also got to perform along with them. I am really looking forward to seeing the video of the boys doing magic tricks!

They will be going to the San Andres Pre school on Monday and then to Chukumuk on Wednesday.  The kids are going to love it.

We had volunteers Mark and Lyn Pike here who helped out for several days doing some of the moving.  We discovered that we had some mice in our old warehouse. Two,  who were disturbed enough to jump out right  onto our new Volunteer co ordinator, Erin's blouse. I wasn't there but I heard there was a lot of screaming and jumping up and down!!  Carlos, who was in the carpentry workshop came to the rescue, caught the mice and put them outside in the fields.    Mark and Lyn also donated stoves while they were here and did a lot of climbing the steep paths of San Antonio to install them.  They also participated in a cooking class while they were here.
Check out these photos for stunning views of the lake. 

Another very large family group or two family groups who came to install stoves had a great time with their children, learning how to install the stoves and visiting the families where they were to install the stoves.  They also popped in and visited the Elderly Care program in San Jorge as well.   We always welcome children in our volunteer groups. ( so long as the parents are with them!)

We had a meeting with a group working here who wanted to build houses for us in Aqua Escondido but wanted to charge the families.  We told them that while that is a great idea for some families who can afford to pay a house off, that these families would not be able to afford to make payments...and if they did , they would not be able to afford to eat.   Carmen told me that one of the women told her that she did not even have one quetzal in her purse to be able to buy anything.     While I definitely agree that it is great for families to be able to pay off their homes.....and I don't believe that everything should be given away these circumstances...with these families , they will not be able to pay.   So I see it as giving them a helping hand up....because it is very hard to drag yourself out of the depths of poverty .  This house and hopefully, a stove and a water filter...will just be the absolute basics for these families. 

We sent the young victim of sexual assault back to the city accompanied by a Mayan Families staff member to go to court and to receive counseling.  She has to go again this week.

We also sent in a woman who is in terrible pain with a big mass in her arm.  We sent her to the Incan hospital and we hope that we will get some good news for her.
Ponciana, the young mother who had her leg amputated at the knee last year is doing really well.   Her prognosis is really good and she looks great.  She gets around on her crutches amazingly well, she climbs up the steep , dirt path to her house without any problems. 

Our volunteer photographer, Hiroko who is making a video of Cristobalina ( the teen age girl who was electrocuted and had her arms amputated above the elbow) went to the hospital in the city this week to take a photo of Cristobalina. She was undergoing surgery again to remove the scar tissue on her legs. Normally, it is very difficult just to get into the hospital but we had help from a woman from Guatemala City, Rosa, who has been doing some volunteer work for us, and she was able to not only get Hiroko into the hospital but the doctor actually invited her into the surgery to take photos!  Rosa certainly has some contacts!   We are hoping that Cristobalina will soon be released from hospital.  She is really doing great and very thankful for all the help she has received.   Hiroko went to Cristobalina's house last week to help Cristobalina celebrate her birthday.   

We are continuing the move into our new is a slow process but there is a lot to be done .  

Our Animal program this week was able to adopt out two full grown is the mother cat who was thrown down the latrine last year. Some of you may remember that we had to have her pulled out by a noose around her neck.....she and her full grown daughter were adopted by a Catholic nun from the monastery in San Andres.  I hope she will have a happier life now. 

The two big huskies whose owner died a few weeks ago were able to go to a new home together.   A 70 acre property owned by an American doctor and his wife. I am sure that they will be very loved and very comfortable there!  I am so glad that they were able to go together. We had the male neutered last week  and the female had already been spayed.

Two  young puppies were also taken into the homes of two young police officers here. 

But as always happens some go ...and others come in.   When Mark and Lyn Pike were installing stoves in San Antonio....we were told about a mother dog and 6 puppies that were on the street, so they picked them up and brought them back.    
Another very cute puppy...a male..which is unusual, mostly it is the females that are dumped....was brought to our house. Two young children brought him saying that they found him on the street alone.  
Then there are the three kittens that we are bottle feeding. ..It is always a zoo here!
in the beginning of these photos are the policeman with their new best friends and at the end is the mother dog with her between more photos of San Antonio 

In the meantime, students brought in their report cards, families received food, beds, water filters and medical care. 

We are looking forward to hosting Bethany's group of 20 people who are arriving on Monday..   We are still hoping that Bethany's Medrano shipment will get out of customs and get here asap. But it has been held up a while now.  There are definitely problems in customs and we are assured that the new govt. is working this out.

A very exciting email we received today said that Mayan Families has been approved by "Kids Against Hunger San Diego" and we have two pallets of food being shipped to us by the US Navy!!!  

We also welcomed sponsor Marta and her daughter Ana back again ...she has been a regular visitor for the past three years and we are very much looking forward to meeting Jim from MFC on Monday. 

I hope these links many of you know...I am a little link challenged!

Happy Week end!

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