Friday, October 5, 2012

At 3:30 A.M. yesterday morning

3.30 a.m. our first pick up truck left to go to the city to take Dominga, the mother in her 40's who has cancer for her next chemotherapy....she is apparently doing very well and the doctor is hopeful that she will continue to do well.

Also going along in the truck is Michael, our fabulous Carpentry School Volunteer Director and the Carpentry teacher, Reynaldo. They are taking a big piece of machinery into the city to have it repaired.  There is only one day a week the mechanic can be there to repair this piece of equipment and they both want to make sure that it will get done correctly.

At at our new offices...we have Sara and her special needs daughter, being picked up by another organization and being taken to her appointment in another area of the city.
Sara and her daughter, Ixtabalan ( pron. Ishtabalan)  spent the night in a room that we now have for just such a situation.  It has two beds and we can have people stay overnight for medical trips etc.
Sara's daughter, Ixtabalan became brain damaged when she was a baby. She was taken to the hospital with a respiratory problem and put on oxygen. Sadly no one noticed when the oxygen ran out and the baby became brain damaged.  The mother, Sara who is a single mother has always been devoted to her daughter and looked after her to her best ability.  Ixtabalan is now in her early 30's and has been having a lot of convulsions.  She wears diapers that Mayan Families supplies to her ..and we have a sponsor that helps them with a little food.  The other organization, that deals only with special needs patients ...has recently lost their funding and have had to let many patients go...but Sara is lucky ....they have told her that they will be able to keep supplying Ixtabalan with her much needed medication.  Today Sara will find out that the operation that she hopes will stop the daily convulsions will become a reality or not.

At 8.m. our second truck will leave for Chukumuk which is across the lake near Santiago. It is a an hour to an hour an half to get there. We hope the road will be open because there was a big mudslide yesterday that blocked the back road out of Panajachel.

Laura and Sofia from the School Sponsorship Program will be going to Chukumuk to interview the students we have there. 
We also have a preschool there and today they will be celebrating " Children's Day".  Each preschool has received chuchitos....which is a delicious traditional food is corn masa that has a small piece of chicken and gravy embedded in it and then it is wrapped in a corn leaf and steamed.    Everyone loves chuchitos and they are easy to transport. The woman who makes them for us here in Panajachel will be dropping them off at our office at and so they will be delivered by for the children's celebration meal. They will also be drinking horchata...a rice based drink, and have jello in little bags that were made and frozen in the refrigerator.
We used to have cake for these celebrations but we just cannot afford it this year .
Each child will receive a little stuffed toy a beanie baby    With great dismay we realized this week that we have come to the end of our supply of Beanie Babies...if  you have any second hand toys or stuffed animals lying around, please remember we have a great need for them.

We have a meeting today to talk to Josh ( this is Elizabeth's brother for those of you who have been here and met Elizabeth ) he has been here working on our Micro loans project for the past month and will be leaving tomorrow. He will be giving a presentation of his findings and suggestions.

We also have a meeting with another volunteer, Emilia who has been working with us for the past 6 weeks. She is a psychologist and is very interested in working on Woman's Empowerment issues.

We are so grateful to the volunteers who come down with their enthusiasm, ideas and talents!

Lety, who is the Social Worker /Director of the Family Aid program will be facing an operation today.
Lety who is a young mother has been suffering for some time with kidney stones and has tried to ignore it and hoped it would go away.
She did not want to leave her baby, her job or have the problem of the financial difficulties of paying for an operation.
But the situation became very bad on Sunday night and she was in terrible pain. She was rushed to a small, private hospital in Solola where they have the equipment needed, such as a ultra sound machine....  ...and I don't know what else but the public hospital did not have it.......and she will be operated on today.
Her husband , who is a waiter and working in another town over 2 hours away, has only one day a week off and he arrived late last night to be with her.  He is worried that he will lose his job and then they will not be able to pay off  the $1,300 needed to pay for the operation.
Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers is always a risk to have an operation but to have one here a little more of a worry.

The celebrations and processions and parades continue ....the streets near Mayan Families are full of carnival rides, street stalls selling all sorts of goods and special fair foods!
Music is playing, fireworks are going off and it the roads are mostly blocked.  We will probably not be able to move our cars out of the offices tomorrow.
Tomorrow , Thursday is a public holiday. There is a big band coming from Mexico tonight to play at the municipal salon.....there is  an indigenous procession leaving the church at 5p.m.
The Saint for Panajachel is St Francis
The very old Catholic church is a beautiful building is full of flowers and candles now...and at night is completely lit up.  It is just beautiful.
I was surprised to see some photos recently that showed that the Catholic church in the 1940's was just a shell, there was really only the facade at the front...and one priest came along,....and took on the project of restoring the church . It was a huge job and took many years . This priest died last year...he must have been so proud of accomplishing such a huge task and restoring this church ..which today is the Catholic spiritual and social center of Panajachel.

Here is a link to some great photos taken and posted on facebook. I don't know who took them but he/she really captured the parade two days ago.
Our Panajachel preschool is Caritas Sonadoras and they used the circus theme with all the kids dressed as clowns and animals.  They were very cute.
Our daughter, Zoe was chosen to be Senorita Cultura  ( Miss Culture)     this year and she has been in every parade so far and has the blisters to prove it!   ( the girls ( senoritas )  do the parades in high heels!!...if you have walked on these streets you know that they are hard enough to negotiate with runners on !)

A few days ago I posted about Catarina...a single mother of 5 children who has been selling the tin roof of her kitchen, piece by piece to be able to buy food for her children.
Her dream was to be able to open her own tortilleria....a little place where she could sell tortillas and that way she would be able to have her children with her.
Today, thanks to a wonderful donation from a very generous person, we are buying her a stove and setting her up in her own little business!!!!  We hope this will be the start of life getting much better for Catarina and her children.

Thanks for your means so much to us.
Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

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