Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Temescal in Nahuala

This is one of our sponsored families in Nahuala......in front of their traditional sauna called a Temescal. This is used for bathing. Here is a fascinating description of the history of the Temescal from Pre-Hispanic times and the Spanish reaction to it.http://www.cyberbohemia.com/Pages/originoftem.htm

This is the home of one of our sponsored students

This is the home of one of our sponsored students. In many homes the roof is old and does not give sufficient protection from the rain....or the dust...or the spiders ...or even the dew that collects on the tin roof...so you will often see pieces of plastic or cloth above the bed in the attempt to stop the rain, dust, bugs etc from falling on the family when they are in bed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Single mother has been struggling

This single mother has been struggling to sell a small amount of cooked food every week at the market with money that she borrowed. She would sell the food, repay the money she borrowed and have a little left over to provide a small amount of food for her children. Through a very generous donation this mother has been given all that she needs to open her own business. She was thrilled and very emotional at this wonderful chance she has been given. We wish her every success and will be doing all that we can to help her along that path.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bus Injuries

This family was among more than 60 people injured when a bus they were traveling in blew out a tire and turned over . This happened on the Pan American Highway above Los Encuentros earlier this week. The family had no money left to buy another ticket home, nor clothes for the children. Then they found that the baby had a head injury and had to be sent urgently to the city. Mayan Families paid for the baby to have the tests in the hospital and for the baby's transportation....we also supplied the father with the bus fare to go back home to his village and with money for the mother to be able to go with her baby to the hospital, to be able to make phone calls and pay for her food while the baby was getting treatment. We are waiting to hear about the baby's results.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day from Mayan Families!

Happy Valentines Day from Mayan Families!


Happy Valentines Day!


Happy Valentines Day!!!
Wishing you all lots of love and happiness on this love filled day!!!
Thank you from our hearts to yours!
Mayan Families
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Co-Sponsor Maria Angelica for just $15 a month!


Student #241
Name: Maria Angelica
Status: Needs Co-Sponsor
School Level: Elementary School
Co-Sponsorship Fee: $180           
Sponsor This Child by emailing

Maria Angelica was born on June 12, 2001. 
She is in 6th grade in 2013.
She lives in San Jorge la Laguna with her mother, Maria, 47 years old, and her father, Rigoberto, 50 years old, and 5 siblings:
The eldest is Estela, 24 years old, who is married.
Irma is 18 years old.  She is in 10th grade, she works to pay the costs of her studies.
Julio Cesar is 16 years old.  He is in 10th grade in Sololá.
Edgar Roberto is 13 years old.  He is in 7th grade in Panajachel.
Maria is the youngest. Maria was horribly burned when she was three months old. She was burnt on the face and the arms.  She almost died, but she received treatment from a group in the U.S. Once a year she was flown to the U.S. to receive treatment. More info here:

January was a whrlwind for us!

Dear friends, 
January was a whirlwind for us. As some of you may be aware, our family was on a little tour of some parts of the U.S . We were invited
 by the Rotary Club of Upper Arlington, Columbus Ohio to visit and give an
 update to their club about the progress with our Trade School and Junior High
 school that they have so generously funded.
 It was exciting for our daughters to see snow. For Aleeya , our 8 yr old,
 it was her first time to see or touch snow!

 We were also able to visit and give a talk at another Rotary Club in
 Columbus, meet with the service committee of a very large church who is
 interested in supporting Mayan Families and bringing down groups and visit
 with COFLAC....which is a group of people who have adopted from Guatemala
 and sponsor children through us, we spent a lovely night with them, it was
 so nice to see old faces and meet new friends. We then visited a church
 group in Cincinnati who have been doing service trips to Guatemala with
 Mayan Families for several years. It was an honor to give a talk at their
 church and see many of the people who had come down and others who are
 interested in coming down.
 From Ohio , we went to Zearing, Iowa which is a tiny town about an hour
 from Des Moines. It was wonderful for us to see the stark beauty of the
 snowy countryside. We visited the church in Ames, that sponsors several
 children and elderly...and had a wonderful evening with a Fish Fry and gave
 a talk to about 80 people about Mayan Families. Everyone was so welcoming
 and supportive.

 Many of these people are members of this group and we want to thank you
 again for your hospitality, your warmth and for being so welcoming and
 From Iowa ..we headed to California..where we went from San Diego to Santa
 Barbara..where we met with another Church group that has been very
 supportive with Tamale Baskets and a Rotary Club President. We also met
 with the organization, Direct Relief who we hope may be able to help us
 with medical equipment. They have an amazing warehouse full of medical items to donate. We also met with the Vitamin Angels organization that has been giving us vitamins and prenatals
 for the past year.
 Their office is in downtown Santa Barbara ...and was a surprise to us to
 see that most of the staff...( mostly mid 20's) were sitting, not on office
 chairs, but on large exercise balls! Apparently, this is the new thing, it
 is supposed to be very good for your posture and for your spine. It was a
 very big surprise to us...and when I accompanied Aleeya to the bathroom,
 she whispered to me, "Mom, I don't think that they have enough money to
 buy chairs here"!
 After Santa Barbara we had a meeting at UCLA with the Latin American
 Studies Dept. They are very interested in bringing groups down to work
 with us. Some of the dept. were here in January installing stoves with us.

 At the meeting they invited us to participate in a symposium in May at
 UCLA. We just received confirmation of this and they are generously paying
 for our plane tickets to be able to participate.
Thanks to the flight attendants of SouthWest Airlines, spear headed by Connie who is a member of this group! Mayan Families was nominated for free tickets which made it possible for us to fly from San Diego to Ohio, Iowa and back to San Diego.
 It was a great experience for us to meet so many supporters and we hope
 that we may have encouraged some new people to support Mayan Families.

 We will be in California in May....so if you would like us to come and give
 a talk at your church, club or home, please let us know.

 The only problem with traveling is that we really had very limited time on
 the internet so we are behind with answering some emails. Please re
 send your email to me if you have not received an answer. My apologies for
 the delay in getting back to you.

 It was wonderful to meet so many of you up there!
 Mil gracias,

Isabel needs Cosponsorship!

Student #44
Name: Isabel
Status: Needs Co-Sponsor
School Level: Junior High School
Sponsorship Fee: $360           
Sponsor This Child!

Isabel was born on June 20, 1994.  She is in 9th grade in 2013.

Favorite Subject Accounting

Favorite Activity Playing basketball

Favorite Color black

Speaks Spanish and Kaq'chikel.

Isabel is the second child in a family of four children. Her sister Dina is 13yrs old, Patricia is 10yrs old and Jorge, the brother is 5 yrs old.
Here is her page where you can see the details!
Click here please!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mayan Families January 2013 Newsletter

This is the link for the Mayan Families January 2013 Newsletter!

Find Mayan Families on Facebook  Follow Mayan Families on Twitter   View Mayan Families Videos on YouTube  Find us on Google+
January 2013
In This Issue
Student In Need of Sponsorship
Anciano In Need of Sponsorship
Remembering Gabby Lewis
Preschools Monitored for Malnutrition
Ready To Help?
Donate via our NEW QR Code
Write a Review
Student In Need of 
Juan Esteban, #68, from Panajachel is currently in 3rd grade and in need of  
sponsorship for the 2013 school year. 
Sponsorship is available for $30 a month, ($360 per year). Please click here to sponsor Juan!
Anciano In Need of 
Maria Coroxon lives in San Jorge, in a little room by herself. Because she has been sick recently, she has been unable to come to the Elderly Care Feeding Center to eat. She has her grandchildren bring her food to her every day. When they can, they bring her a little food from the meals they make with their own families. We have brought doctors to Maria several times over the last few months. She is currently receiving treatment for the wounds on her legs, as  well as some stomach illnesses and severe headaches. When we visit, she is always sure to embrace us and give kisses on the cheek, even though she does not speak much Spanish, hear or see well.

To help, click here. To sponsor Maria for $35 a month, click here.
At the start of 2013, we would like to say thank you to all of our wonderful supporters who were able to make 2012 such a great year for Mayan Families. Over the past year, we were able to sponsor over 2,000 students to go to school from preschool to university, provide over 200 families with fuel-efficient wood-burning stoves, sponsor 20 elderly people in our Elderly Care Program and begin to stabilize the program, as  well as distribute over 1,400 tamale baskets this holiday season to families in-need and give out countless presents to children who otherwise would not have received a gift.  
We are also very grateful to the sponsors who have already committed to sponsoring or co-sponsoring a student for the 2013 school year.  Over 2,300 students have already come and picked up their school supplies to continue their education, which will provide them with a much brighter future!  

As the new year begins, we ask that you please consider renewing your commitment to Mayan Families. Whether it be sponsoring your student for the 2013 school year, purchasing a carton of eggs for a family, or even just telling your friends about the work we do, every little bit makes a difference.

Thank you for being a Mayan Families supporter. Together we can create a better future for the indigenous people of Guatemala!
 Remembering Gabby Lewis
Becky Lewis and librarian Josué Bocel 
Becky Lewis has raised over $5,000 to start a new library in Tierra Linda in memory of her daughter, Gabby Lewis, who was adopted from Guatemala. In 2011, Gabby was the young victim 
of a tragic car accident. Becky, her husband Shane, and their son Tucker, also adopted from Guatemala, chose to honor her short but beautiful life by providing a safe and fun place for the 
children of Tierra Linda to learn and play. 
Tierra Linda is a remote community that Mayan Families has been working with because of the high level of poverty and non-existent government programs. With the help of sponsors and donors like Becky and her family, Tierra Linda now has a Preschool Nutritional Center, a middle school and a marching band, a new addition to the elementary school, and now a beautiful library. Having a library is very uncommon in rural Guatemala, and the Gabby Lewis Memorial Library is the first library ever in the village of Tierra Linda. The library includes laptops, a play and learn loft with puzzles and toys, a reading nook, an area to do homework and activities, and hundreds of books that range from preschool level to reference books for the older students. Josué, the librarian, hosted a Vacation Program for the local children to participate in and Becky Lewis gave out 20 awards to children who participated in the activities. The middle school students also showed off their dance moves for Becky in appreciation of the new library, including some great break dancing and beautiful traditional Guatemalan marimba.
Our hearts go out to Becky and her family for their great loss and we'd like to let them know how grateful the village of Tierra Linda and Mayan Families is for the honor of commemorating Gabby's life and her loving spirit by providing the children of Tierra Linda with a stimulating and motivational
environment to support their education. The Gabby Lewis Memorial Library will lead to lasting transformations in the lives of the children and among the community members who will benefit from this great resource.
Preschools Monitored for Malnutrition 
Last week Mayan Families sent a team to Chukumuk, a remote village which was built after the devastation of Hurricane Stan in 2005. The Spanish government had built homes and schools in the area, after the village of Panabaj was declared a mass grave and its surviving inhabitants were relocated. They spent the next 6 months to 4 years living in a refugee village erected by the Guatemalan government.
Chukumuk is one of the poorest and most malnourished villages that Mayan Families serves per research and data compiled since last June by volunteers.  We went to Chukumuk to verify our results, interview families and bring fortified food packets to those we identified as severely malnourished, with plans of implementing a more regular system of distribution to those in need.
Our in-house Dr. Louis De Peña was able to medically evaluate the current preschoolers while we took their measurements, and later evaluated about 30 mothers. The rest of the team interviewed families to better locate root causes of a child's malnutrition. Later, the doctor performed house visits for several children who were ill or flagged as severely malnourished.  These families were provided with food packets from Feed My Starving Children, in hopes of temporarily alleviating their situations.
This will be the first of a continued monitoring process that will help us better understand how to serve our communities and the life and death issues they face.  Feed My Starving Children has agreed to provide Mayan Families with over 96,000 meals this year, and this will help us to combat the chronic malnutrition that plagues the children and their families in the Guatemalan highlands.
If you would like to help support this project, you can donate to the Health and Nutrition Program at www.razoo.com/story/Mayan-FamiliesAlso, please check the Nutrition Blog in the upcoming week for a comprehensive article on Chukumuk, Hurricane Stan aftermath and our Preschool Monitoring project here. Thank you for your support!
Ready To Help?
Open Letter & Gallery Call 2013 
In an effort to raise money for the ancianos (elderly) I would like to host fundraisers at local or at-large galleries, featuring the photos & stories compiled of our program participants. We have their blessing to share their stories with the world, and I am hoping this will procure the necessary funding to allow our program to continue. If you or someone you know has a gallery which could lend frames or negotiate fundraisers for the Mayan Families Elderly Care Program, please direct this information to Megan at familyaid@mayanfamilies.org.
In addition, I will be working on compiling a book of the elderly's - ancianos photos and stories, along with interviews and photos taken by the girls in our Las Fotos project: sponsored youth from our schools were selected to be in the project because of their good grades. Project managers will teach them camera skills, and the girls will interview and photograph some of our ancianos-- not only to have beautiful subjects from which to hone their photography skills, but also to foster relationships between youth and their elders. Look for their interviews and photos in the coming months!
Thank you,
Mayan Families Ancianos Coordinator 
Top-Rated Nonprofit 2012
Thanks to all of the amazing reviews we got from all of you, we've won a 2012 Top-Rated Award from GreatNonprofits. Less than 1% of eligible nonprofits won a place on the 2012 Top-Rated List. Check out our great stories: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/profile2/mayan-families.
Mayan Families' Valentines!
Check out our Valentine's Day fundraiser benefitting the Feeding Center for elderly people and orphans in San Jorge!
Volunteer Opportunities 

 We could use help, whether you're in Guatemala or at your own home! Check out our listings here!

Help Mayan Families
for free...
Use our resources to fundraise through third-party organizations, such as the Goodsearch toolbar, where we'd receive a penny for every single search engine search you perform.
Don't forget that pennies go a long way when families in our services live on mere $'s a day.
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Valentines Day 2013

Hi everyone, Here is the link to our Valentines Day 2013 newsletter!


Give a gift that will benefit our elderly and orphans this Valentine's Day!


Mayan Families' Valentines!

Valentine's Day is approaching, and there are many who could use a little extra love.

Each year Mayan Families raises funds through valentines: in 2012 we raised money for the Orphan Program, in 2011 proceeds paid for the meals and shelter for children devastated by Hurricane Agatha, and in 2010 
the funds were used to cement the dirt floors of a school. 

This year we want to help the elderly and the orphans, all of whom could do with some love!

One of the branches of our Elderly Feeding Care program is located in San Jorge, where about 25 orphaned children also come to eat each day. The elderly and orphans struggle here in Guatemala. The elderly have been living in poverty all their lives, and their bodies are no longer able to work for them. They do not have a means to work, and live in dire conditions. Some do not have a bed to sleep in. Others eat only a tortilla with salt each day. All of those currently in our program depend on the lunch they receive to sustain them.

The orphans in our program have been abandoned by their parents, or have parents who have passed away. They have to choose between school or working to support themselves. Often the orphans' extended families are so poor that they are reluctant to have another mouth to feed. To alleviate this issue, 25 of the orphans we serve eat with the elderly in San Jorge.  

This year, proceeds from the fundraiser will go to help our Feeding Care center. Most of the Elderly in the program do not yet have sponsors, and the program is in danger of closing due to lack of funds. Please help us to provide this essential service to our elderly, and the orphans we care for!   
Please give from your heart this Valentine's Day and send some love!     
Option 1Send a Valentines E-Card to a loved one! 
Cost: $10 Donation
Description: Students from the Mayan Families' Education program will individually make a beautiful personalized Valentine's Day card. We will photograph the student who made your card with the card and email it to you or a loved one- whomever you like.

Option 2: Be a special Valentine for a family in need, feed a family!
Cost: $35 Donation
Description: We will send a Valentine's Day basket of food to a sponsored student or family in need. You can send a basket to your sponsored student or family or allow us to choose a family in need. This basket can feed up to 10 people and brings joy to families in need on this special day.

Option 3: Give a meaningful gift that will last all year!  
Cost: $360 full sponsorship/$180 co-sponsorship. 
Description: Sponsor a child to go to school in honor of your loved one!  Look here for a list of students waiting for sponsorship.

How to Donate: 
Go to our Donate Now page, enter the amount you wish to send in the "Other" box, and write either "Valentine Card", "Valentine Basket", or "Both" in the "Details" section.

To add a  personalized message your card, please email your message to  valentines@mayanfamilies.org with "Valentine Personalization" in the subject line.** 
Questions? Please email valentines@mayanfamilies.org.
Please share this Valentines Day offer on your social networks, you never know whose heart you may touch!

We would like to thank you all for your continued support, which provides us with the means to help others! 
We wish you and your loved ones a very happy Valentine's Day! 
Thank you!
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity
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