Monday, December 31, 2012

Last hours to Donate to Mayan Families!

Last Hours to donate to MAYAN FAMILIES for 2012!

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Christmas present to a student
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Holiday Food Baskets
Holiday Food Baskets
Holiday Food Baskets
As this year draws to an end, we would like to dedicate this last day of the year, with gratitude, to all of the supporters, donors and sponsors of Mayan Families who have made so many wonderful things possible this year. 
  Thank you for sending so many children to school and giving them a chance at a brighter future.  Thank you for the houses you have built, the school construction, the community center construction, the New Mayan Families Trade School with Carpentry Classes and all of the tools needed to supply it, the Sewing Machines and supplies to make the sewing classes even better, the food you have given so that people can have enough to eat, the life-saving medical care that you have made possible for so many who otherwise would not have received help, donated medical supplies and equipment, for the micro loans to help families to have a hand up, the stoves that make it possible to have clean air inside the homes, aid for the elderly, the water filters that give clean, safe drinking water, the many wonderful donations of clothing, shoes, blankets, towels, beds, closets, tables and chairs.....these things are such basics, but they are such miracles for the people who receive them. 
 Thank you for the Holiday Tamale Food Baskets....we received donations for 1,400 baskets that were able to feed approximately 14,000 people this December, and the toys that you donated that brought such joy to thousands of children.    
Thank you to the volunteers who came and gave their time. To the medical, dental, vision and veterinarian groups that made such a difference in the quality of life for so many. Thank you to the sponsors who came and visited their students, who shared hugs and brought such joy.    
This year, as we gave out the Holiday Tamale Food baskets ... As we gave out the Holiday Tamale Food baskets this year, so many people came up to me and said, thank you. They thanked me for the kitchens and bathrooms that had been built, the stoves, the water filters, the medical care, the operations that had been organized and for giving their children a chance to go to school. 
 These thanks belong to you. 
One woman came and thanked me for the sponsorship that made it possible for her to go complete her University degree. She is a wife and a mother of 6 children. She started to thank me, and then tears welled up in her eyes. She said now I have completed my University degree, and I have a job as a social worker. She said,"before I had my degree and before I had a job....I could only wash clothes by hand and make a little money." "My first four children did not eat three times a day.They often did not have more than tortillas with salt. They didn't know what milk my two younger children do not know what it is like to go hungry. They have milk every day. They are healthy. There have been so many drastic changes in my life since I have graduated and can now have a job that pays me a living wage so that I can help my family."  
  Today is your last day to take advantage of this year's tax laws and make a tax-deductible gift to support Mayan Families and the crucial work we do here in rural Guatemala.  Your contribution will make have an immediate and lasting impact to positively affect the lives of Mayan children, women, families and the elderly.  
Mayan Families this year won the award from Great Non as one of a their Top Charities for 2012!  With our high ratings for efficiency and effectiveness, you can feel confident that the special tax-deductible gift you make right now will go as far as possible to help improve the lives of the families we work with.  With each year that passes, the challenges facing them grow in scale and complexity.  Your support is essential to ensuring that Mayan Families can take the innovative steps necessary to expand the scope, scale and pace of our work.    
 This is an email received today from one of our supporters.       "Greetings from Guatemala,    Those who read the December Mayan Families Newsletter may recall that I have been here in Guatemala with my husband and four children (ages 8, 9, 12, 14) for the past two weeks... week 1 with Mayan Families in Panajachel, Guatemala and week 2 exploring Mayan culture in Antigua and Tikal. We fly home to Boston this afternoon, after the most glorious reunion with our son Will's Foster Family yesterday. Trip of a lifetime, for sure!!!!    I just had to drop a quick note to this wonderful group and say, once again, that Mayan Families is simply awesome. Their commitment to provide comfort and care to those in need is inspiring. Although I could write about it and describe it in vivid detail, to personally witness it is a blessing beyond words.    I was reminded when checking my email this morning that today is the last day of 2012 and, those who itemize their charitable contributions, may have incentive to make their sponsorship payment (or any other end-of-year gifts) before midnight tonight so that they can take the deduction for their 2012 tax payment. My inbox was full of messages this morning requesting last minute contributions from other organizations, so I thought I'd give a shout-out for my pals at Mayan Families.      Wishing you all a Prospero AnoAño Nuevo!    Blessings from Guatemala City, Beth & Jay and Family"
With your help we can...
  • welcome more children into our school sponsorship program 
  • continue to build or expand in areas with growing need
  • ensure stability within our existing programs
  • strengthen families in areas living beyond our current reach
As the clock winds down on 2012, you have just a few hours left to make your charitable donations (and thus qualify for a charitable tax deduction on your 2012 taxes). 

This is a last reminder for your year-end giving. 

Please make you tax deductible donation here!

Also Sponsor or Cosponsor an impoverished student to go to school here! 

You can also send your donation by check to:
P.O. Box 52
Claremont, N.C. 28610

While it is important to have dream, it is important to take action! 
Even the smallest donation is appreciated and makes a huge difference!

Thank you all so much! Wishing you all a very wonderful New Year!  
In Guatemala...starting Bak"tun14, 144,000 days in the Mayan calendar until Bak'tun 15! 

P.S. If you have already made your year-end gift to MAYAN FAMILIES, your gift must have crossed this message in the mail. Please accept my deep thanks for your generosity.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mayan Families December 2012 Newsletter

Mayan Families December 2012 Newsletter
Hi everyone, please post, share, Like, blog, Tweet and ReTweet etc to help us spread the word!
Here is the link for our Newsletter for December-2012.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mayan Families Elderly Care Video

Mayan Families Elderly Care Video!
When you think of hunger, your thoughts may not immediately turn to Guatemala.
Please watch this wonderful Video a volunteer helped to make!

Please post, share, blog, Like on Facebook etc!
Thank you all so much!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Special Holiday Video from the Children in Agua Escondida!

A Special Holiday Video from the Children in Agua Escondida!                    
Click on the link below to watch!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday contributions to Mayan Families in Guatemala

Your special holiday contribution will give life changing education, food and hope to make sure children like Maria will never know the pain and suffering that their parents grew up with, caused by chronic malnutrition and poverty! Your gift will give mothers like Sandra the best gift ever— a way out of poverty for themselves, their children and their whole family!

Thank you for sending hope for the holidays.
Please send a general donation, where most needed here!

This is an article about the end of the Mayan Calendar.

This is an article about the end of the Mayan Calendar.

I really do not find people very concerned about the end of the world here. 
There are a lot of activities that will be respectful to the Mayan beliefs and there will be ceremonies held.
I don't think people here are as concerned about the end of the world as they are in the fact, as to how their world will continue...poverty, hunger, lack of work.  These are things that are most in their minds.

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giving facts for year end giving!

Giving facts.
Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2012 count for 2012. This is true even if the credit card bill isn't paid until 2013. Also, checks count for 2012 as long as they are mailed in 2012 and clear, shortly thereafter. Please give generously to support Mayan Families at  Thank you!

6 year old Brayan

Hi, I have to share the news about Brayan, the 6 year old boy who appeared at our medical clinic in San Antonio. He had a very worried father who had spent several days and all his money at the hospital trying to find out what was the matter with his son. The U.S. medical group who had a pediatrician with him, took a look and thought it looked like lymphona.
Mayan Families put the story about Brayan on the website and on this blog.  Dave Patterson and a few others sent us money to be able to send him in for an evaluacion.  It was diagnosed as Hodgkins Lymphona.  Dave and his family decided to do whatever was needed to help Brayan . His parents do not speak much Spanish.  They needed transportation , a translator and  economic support for food, lodging and medicine.
Brayan was very brave during all the treatment, but he did not like losing his hair.
After many months of treatment we have finally received the wonderful news that Brayan is now cancer free!!!!
He will need to continue to go along to monthly check ups in the city.
What an amazing Christmas gift for this family!
Thank you so much for everyone who was able to collaborate with the help for Brayan and especially, thank you to Dave Patterson and his family...who without their generosity and their kind hearts the future may have been very different for Brayan and his family.
with deep gratitude,

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

Making Christmas more meaningful in Guatemala

A beautiful blog about a beautiful family who are going to spend Christmas making life better for so many other families.

Cristobalina, the 15 year old girl who was electocuted in Guatemala

Hi, many of you will remember Cristobalina, the young 15 year old girl who was electrocuted when she touched a live wire. She was working in a tortilla shop and went up on the flat cement roof to get something and touched a wire.
She lost both her arms above the elbows and part of her feet. She has suffered from terrible burns all over her.
When  she was sent home from the hospital in a wheel chair, very depressed and with no further follow up recommended. Her uncle came to Mayan Families to see if we could help her.
The family did not speak Spanish, they did not know their way around the city or how to talk to doctors etc.
We wrote about Cristobalina's story....and as we have seen many times...a small miracle happened for Cristobalina.  A friend who is a doctor was coming to Guatemala on a medical team, she asked if Cristobalina could be brought to see her in the clinic where she would be working.
Dina, who worked in Family Aid...had formed a close relationship with Cristobalina and helped keep her morale up....took Cristobalina to visit the doctor , Florence at the clinic.
Florence met another doctor there , a Guatemalan doctor who had a great connections at Ronald Mc Donald House.    Finally, Cristobalina was taken back to the hospital, many, many times for many surgeries but now , Cristobalina who thought she would be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life, now walks, runs and has found that there is life after this terrible accident.
We have been in awe of the beautiful art work that Cristobalina has done using her mouth.
Hiroko, a Japanese volunteer photographer that we have been fortunate to have with us for the past few months has done a beautiful job on showing some of Cristobalina's life and challenges. She was given very unusual access into the hospital to take these photos.
Erin, the Mayan Families Co ordinator is working with Hiroko to set up an exhibition of Cristobalina's art work and Hiroko's photos here in Panajachel.
We would love to get a computer for Cristobalina and have internet connected for her.  She wants to learn English and we want to help her do as much as she can.
Thank you to everyone who has helped Cristobalina come this far.
She is still going to the hospital, there is still a long way for her to go.....but this girl has a lot of spirt!
Here is the link to the move the photos along with the little box on the bottom left hand of the screen.   ( it took me awhile to find it!)
Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Monday in Guatemala

Monday's are always busy days for us.
The food has to be delivered in lots of different directions for the pre schools.
We often have visitors and volunteers who like to go along for the ride.
Yesterday we had three new volunteers, all from my home country of Australia. It is funny to hear all these Australian accents around the office!

They were able to go on the food run to Chukumuk ..where they also helped install two stoves and delivered food to families.
They also got to visit a family who has been sponsored to start their own business selling second hand shoes...and another family who is having construction started on a new house. 

Gloria , Sandra and I went to visit the grandparents in San Jorge. 
The house is clean and there is room for the children to stay there.
The grandfather is elderly and very, very strict.  He is also in pain from an operation that he has had on his back and leg. 

We sat and talked to the grandparents for about an hour, with the four children sitting there. ( the mother still has the 4 year old with her)   I would have preferred that they were not there but the grandparents wanted to talk in front of them so that there was no misunderstandings. 

The grandparents are the parents of the father of the five children. 
It appears that the mother of these five children...was not the first wife 
According to the grandparents, their son did very well when he was with his first wife and he has four children with her. 

Then he met the mother of the five children and he left the first wife and went to live with the second wife.  
The first wife and the grandchildren  are  from San Jorge and appear to be  very connected to the family.

The grandparents have already given the son's piece of land into the names of his 4 children from his first wife . 
The second wife ( this was not a formal marriage) according to the grandparents lured their son away, she was already drinking and she turned him into a heavy drinker. They said that she would bring him lunch every day where he worked and stick a small flask into his lunch so that he could drink during the day.   

One of his brother's eventually found the father sitting in a park in very bad physical shape, they took him home, got him into hospital ,cared for him , spent a lot of money on his medical care, the doctor eventually told them that the father had cirrhosis and  would not be cured but could live longer if they gave him careful attention.  They had him at home and he was doing much better, then according to the grandfather, the second wife called up and asked him to come and visit them, ..against the family wishes, he went and when he got there he started 

drinking and died the next day. 

They are very bitter about this woman and feel that she is responsible for the death of their son.

The grandfather told me that when the children turned up , that they really did not know them. They had only seen them maybe once or twice before.  But he said that he thought that they could live with them and that they would be able to help out around the house.

They  have built a shoe shine box for the 12 year old so that he can go and shine shoes.  The money that the earns , the grandmother collects and keeps for him. She says that she is using this to buy his clothes.  He did , indeed have some brand new clothes from a few weeks ago but she also complained that some days he does not bring any money home and she suspects that he is using that money to buy food in the street.

The eldest girl, Karina who is 16 years old is basically looking after the younger children. The grandmother commented that sometimes she hits the younger ones.  
The grandfather is not happy with the girl who is approx. 11 years old. He says that she is rude and she will not study in school and she talks back to the teachers. 

He is very embarrassed  by this because his children always got good report cards and attention at school.  

The grandparents were supposed to go to court yesterday but decided to wait and talk to us first and listen to what we had to say.

We offered them the option that we could take the children to live under the supervision of Mayan Families but that it would have to be done legally..and that we would have a full time caretaker.  

That the children would go to school and could also do after school classes etc. 
That they would be free to go back to San Jorge whenever the grandparents wanted them to come , either permanently or just to visit for special occassions.

That we would be responsible for their food , clothing , shoes , education and medical care. 

The grandfather offered that we could do all that and rent them a house in San Jorge ..where the children could live alone with Karina to care for them and we could have a woman there to supervise them.

We said that we did not care for that idea.  
We don't like the idea of the children living alone.
We think it would be very difficult to find someone in San Jorge who would be able to give them the support that they need.

The grandfather then said that he would like the 12 year old boy to come to work with us so that he could learn to work. 
We offered that the 12 yr old boy, Karina and the other two girls, 11 yrs old and 8 yrs old. could come to the office compound daily....5 days a week and take computer classes, which are from till 11.30a.m. and then they could have lunch.   Then Karina and the boy can help around the office, the two younger ones can jump on the trampoline, take music classes and ( our just to have fun as kids!)    

We agreed that we would pay their bus fares daily and that they would arrive and leave at a set time so that the grandparents would know when they were expected home.

The grandparents liked this idea.

The kids all want to come and live at Mayan Families but they were also very keen on this idea of being able to come daily to classes etc.

Every decision here is made with the family. So the grandparents said that they would have to call a family meeting with all his children and they would make a family decision about this. 

We left, I felt, on very good terms with the grandparents.  
I would have liked to have scooped these children up and taken them with us.  Especially, the 8 year old girl  who picks at her fingernails all the time and looks so lost.

I really did not like them having to listen to how bad the family thought their mother was ...but things are not shielded from children here and I am sure that they have heard it all before. 

The grandfather said he would give us a decision in the next few days.   I am hopeful, at least, that the children will be able to come to the office 5 days a week to be able to have a break.
The grandparents also agreed that they would let the children go to the Elderly Care program to eat lunch every day. The children all insist that they are very hungry and do not get enough to eat.

After coming back to the office, 
there was one of our sponsored students , Petronila who is 9 years old.  She was being carried on her elderly father's back, her mother was also with them, looking very worried.

Petronila was obviously very ill , the doctor suspected that she had a fractured clavicle we called the bomberos ...which is the local ambulance ...and for  a small donation , they took the family, accompanied by a Mayan Families staff member ( the family does not speak Spanish...they speak Kakchiquel)  to the hospital.  If we send someone by ambulance they get attended to much , much faster...they go straight into the emergency room, rather than waiting for hours outside .   Even so , it was many hours that the family was at the hospital.  After x was decided that her clavicle was o.k. but the hospital suspects that Petronila has tuberculosis.  

If so, others in the family may also have it. Today , Tuesday , the family has to come back for more tests. We will send someone to accompany them.   We hope that they will be able to get to the hospital, they live in a very mountainous area...very isolated and it is hard for them to walk so far, especially carrying Petronila on their back.  This family lost everything back in 2010 when Tropical Storm Agatha caused such destruction from mudslides. They lost their house and were living in a Shelterbox tent that we erected.  I don't know whether they have managed to rebuild or not yet. 

Another one of our students came to the office later in the afternoon. She needed to talk to someone and quite often , we are the only place for some kids to be able to come. 
She has been sponsored by us for a long time but this is the first time , she has ever come in and asked to talk about what is going on with her. Once she started talking, the tears started flowing.   Jakelin is 18 years old.  She is the oldest of five children.  Her mother left them all to marry a man who did not want to take on the children.  They all stayed with the grandmother and were raised by her.  The grandmother and the children had a cart that they sold fruit from on the street and that is how they made their living.

  Earlier this year the grandmother died.  Reluctantly, the mother took them to live with her and the step father.   
Without the grandmother, the kids have not had the capital to buy fruit to be able to sell on their cart.  The mother is berating Jakelin for not working and not helping with the expenses of the home.  Jakelin came to see if we had work for her, she said that she was willing to work for any amount, she just wanted to make the situation better at home. She feels that her mother does not love her at all and that she and her siblings are a nuisance to the mother and the step father.   

We asked her does she still have the cart and she says that she has the cart and that she and the siblings want to go back to work but they do not have the capital to be able to do so.
We are hoping that someone would like to give Jakelin  $200 US so that she can buy her fruit and other things she needs to sell.  She has been working for 12 years on the cart...since she was 6 years old, she knows what to do , she knows how to do it...she just needs this money to be able to start.

Jakelin is hoping that once the business is going again that she will be able to afford to move her siblings into their own place.

Donations are coming in for the Tamale baskets and we are busy organizing Christmas parties for all the sponsored children and their siblings. 

.  Please keep your fingers crossed that we have enough toys for all the children.!
It is not too late to send in a donation for us to be able to buy toys here..either for your sponsored student or for children in general.

( we have some wonderful teddy bears that are nearly 3 feet high and they are only  $20...!)


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

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another little earthquake!

We just had a little earthquake here....not too strong, Magnitude 4.5, but strong enough to let you know it is moving.  I hope the people in San Marcos are o.k.  My thoughts are with them, some of those houses are just barely standing.    There are supposed to be over 200 houses being demolished by the military here in the Solola area but we have not had it confirmed yet.

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

An article about the eye group we hosted here recently

This is an article about the Vision group Mayan Families hosted in Panajachel, Guatemala and other volliages recently.

Click here to read!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Guatemala Newsletters and Postings from Mayan Families!

Christmas and Holiday Tamale Food Baskets for 2012! Help feed a family of 10 or more for the holidays for just $40.
Click on this link!
Mayan Families November 2012 Newsletter
Click here now!

Mayan Families Student Sponsorship 2013
Click here please!