Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mayan Families April, May 2013 Newsletter

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In This Issue
Mother's Day and Father's Day
Paraplegic Man Learns to Fly
Indigenous Teachers Training on Vitamins
Ready To Help?
A Student In Need
#1137 Juanita (12 years old) is just one co-sponsor away from being able to attend school. Juanita has been a sponsored child for the past three years but recently her parents came in to let us know they were pulling her out of school as it was just too expensive. Juanita needs to attend a special needs school as she has learning difficulties and had to repeat the first grade three times. The children pick on her in school, and she finds it very hard to concentrate and participate in class. Co-sponsorship for Juana costs only $15 per month or $180 per year. Please consider giving Juanita the gift of education. If you are interested please email us.
Sponsor an Anciana
A-54 Felipa Ramos lives alone after losing her husband of 40 years.  Her children have no financial means to help her, and she often eats only one meal a day at the Feeding Program. She can't work to help herself because of her medical issues, having suffered a brain hemorrhage last year. She does not have a water filter, stove, or a mattress on her bed. Please consider making a difference to her life by sponsoring her at $35 a month, or by donating for some of her needs. If you are interested, please email us.

Other news in April/May  

Welcome to the Mayan Families April/May 2013 Newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading about our recent activities, and ways you can get involved and help.
Muchas Gracias for the 'Día de la Madre' Gifts
Families Honor their Mothers with Your Gifts of Food
On May 10th, Mayan Families celebrated Mother's Day with the beloved mothers around Lake Atitlan. Thanks to generous donations from our sponsors, 345 food baskets were delivered to underprivileged families that otherwise would not have been able to honor the important women in their lives with a proper meal. The baskets contained enough food to feed a family of ten, and included essential ingredients for preparing everyday traditional local recipes. Thank you for helping make this a memorable holiday!

If you wanted to donate but were unable to do so, Father's Day is just around the corner on June 17th. You still have the chance to provide a loving family meal and give the students a chance to celebrate the struggling dads' in rural Guatemala. Order a basket here and enter$40 in Community Aid and 'Father's Day Basket' in the Details section. 
Physical Therapy Clinic Creates Miracle
Paraplegic Man Learns to Fly!    
When Dave and Leiann Scee began volunteering at Mayan Families in February, the physical therapy clinic consisted of an empty room full of donated medical supplies. Within a few days they assembled a fully functioning clinic, and four months later they have treated over 250 patients. 
Carlos, a paraplegic patient, came into the clinic in a wheelchair after being paralyzed from the waist down by an electrical accident. After several biweekly appointments, Carlos stood up for the first time in six years and, with the assistance of old leg braces and a homemade pair of forearm crutches, he began to walk around the clinic. With enough practice and work, Carlos will be able to realize his dream of living independently and playing sports again with his son one dayDave and Leiann took Carlos paragliding over Lake Atitlan. Flying over his hometown while he is just learning to walk again was an incredible experience. During their time here, Dave and Leiann helped many other patients like Carlos overcome obstacles they never thought possible. Thank you!
'Vitamin Angels' Trains Indigenous Staff on Distribution
Our Teachers Become Empowered With New Skills and Knowledge

Last week Vitamin Angels, our partners who provide Vitamin A, prenatal and multivitamins to participants in our Milk Program and Preschool Nutrition Centers, trained our teachers and coordinators over two days on how to effectively distribute these essential Vitamins.
Vitamin A deficiency is a severe global health problem, particularly in developing countries like Guatemala where diets are rarely varied and can lead to cognitive and physical problems.

21 participants successfully completed the training with competency performances and are now able to lead the next Vitamin A distribution in their communities. Many thanks to Eva and Ada from Vitamin Angels, and Sergio who translated the training!

 Ready To Help?
Spread The Word
We are so grateful for everything you have done and contributed. We couldn't have done this without you. However, we still need more help with student sponsorship, family aid, our nutrition program and other projects that better the lives of those we work to protect. Here's how you can help. Share this newsletter on your Facebook or other social media tool. Forward this to your friends, they would love to hear from you. Mention our causes next time you are among influential people. Group together with relatives and friends to donate to one of our funds. Come visit us in Guatemala and create a project you, and above all those you help, will never forget.
Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
We could use your skills and expertise, whether you're in Guatemala or at your own home! Check out our listings here or email us.

Read more about individual projects on our dedicated blogs:

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Cooking Classes at Mayan Families..!

One of the activities we offer groups at Mayan Families is to take cooking classes of traditional
 Guatemalan food.    This group yesterday, visiting with "Heart for Guatemala" were able to enjoy a delicious meal of Pepian, chuchitos, guacomole and chirimol that they had prepared.   Chirimol is a roasted tomato sauce.  Delicious!
 Included in the class is an apron to take home. This apron is made by the women in the Mayan Families sewing class.
 Hmmmmm!  This looks like  it tasted good!!!
 Our daughter, Zoe who really enjoys translating for the cooking classes!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fresh, sweet bread ....and lots of smiles!!!

 These are the men ( and some women and children ) who work in the river digging out sand to sell for construction.  It is really hard, low paid work...and there is no guarantee at the end of the day you will sell your sand and get paid.  If it rains there is no work.  Their families are often the poorest in the town.
 They were delighted to receive the gift of fresh bread from Mayan Families.  This donation to buy the bread came from Linda Parkinson  and her organization "To the World".   Linda wanted to help support a young man who has opened his own bakery.  This young man is 24 years old and is bringing up his four brothers since his mother died of cancer several years ago.   The father abandoned the family many years ago and has never supported them.
 Linda wanted to help this young man with his bakery by giving him an order that would boost the family income.  She also wanted to do something to celebrate Father's Day for the many men who work hard to support their families.  So this was a great combination.!
 The Bakery got a big boost with an order of $400 worth of bread and Mayan Families was able to distribute bread not only to these men but to all the men and women in the Elderly Care program, many of the Orphans in our Orphan Care program and to all the children in our Pre school in Panajachel...each of them were able to take a bag of fresh, sweet bread home to share with the family.
Thank you so much Linda.!!  This act of kindness and generosity brought smiles to so many faces ,......and gave families something to eat...who probably did not have much food in the house.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Update on Ashley and her family, Guatemala

Thanks to the support that we have received for Ashley ....we were able to help the mother with the needs for the baby brother...
and her own food etc while she was in the hospital with her son, for nearly a week. 
The little boy had the operation on Wednesday and is doing fine.
They released him from the hospital on Friday morning .
We were able to give the family enough food to take home with them for a week and also pay their bus fares.
The mother and the son have to come back to the hospital on Wednesday and they have their bus fares to be able to do that.
There has been a change in the family situation appears that one of the deceased husband's brothers is not in agreement that 
the family should be thrown out of the house.
He is saying ( rightly so) that the children have the right to their father's home.
The mother is very grateful for this because it is the only home that they own.
But whether they will be able to stay there and make enough money to support themselves is another thing.
We will wait to hear what the next step is when she comes back on Wednesday.
Ashley told me that she is scared to go back to the house because this is where the father hung himself .
Her little sister, 6 years old is also scared. 
It has been a hard week for them both. Losing their father and then the mother in hospital and now returning to an uncertain 
Thank you for your help that is giving them , at least the stability to know that they have food every day this week...and the bus fares to be able to bring
the little boy back to the hospital for medical care.
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pouring Rain in Guatemala!

Little video taken yesterday afternoon at our offices in Panajachel. If you are coming, bring your rain boots!!!
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daniela and Brenda

A little over a month ago, Brenda was very concerned because her 9 year old daughter, Daniela was very pale and tired.  Food for Brenda is for FA-320. She took her to a doctor and there started a parent's nightmare. Daniela was diagnosed with Leukemia. Daniela's father, Daniel, 39 years old, collects fares on the buses. He earns $6 US per day. He sometimes has work all week, other times, just for two days. The family lives in a rented house in Solola. They pay $60 per month. The mother , Brenda worked in a local restaurant washing dishes and cleaning tables. She earned $3 US per day. She was only able to get work 3 times a week. Her Mother- in - law lives with them and she minded the children when Brenda was working. The mother-in-law is 76 years old...and has a was difficult for her to look after 2 young active children. Brenda is not in good health, she has been diagnosed with cysts in her ovaries. She is 30 years old and has more on her plate than most people ever need. For one month , Brenda has been in the hospital at her daughter's side. She is sleeping on the cold floor of the hospital , on just a blanket that she brought with her. Daniela is receiving free treatment from the hospital. She is receiving chemotherapy. The hospital gives all food to Daniela for free. But the mother has to buy her food. This is very expensive for the mother. Some days she can only afford to eat once a day. Her husband tries to come and visit as much as possible but he has to pay bus fare to the city which costs approx. $10 per trip for him to go to visit. He also needs to be able to buy his food ...and he has to find a cheap room to be able to stay overnight ...the hospital does not allow more than one parent there at a time. Combined with trying to pay for the bus fares, the food, the renting of a cheap room to stay over, the father also has to find money to pay the rent, the electricity and food for his mother and two children, Marcotulio 5 years and Harold 3 years old. Brenda has to stay one month more in the hospital. Then Brenda has to stay in the city, close to the hospital so that she can receive treatment.. This is a huge worry for the mother as she does not know anyone in the city and she does not have the money to rent a room. While the mother is sitting here telling me her story ...her 3 year old begins crying......he is hungry...he had breakfast this morning, tortillas with salt and has not had anything more to eat. Fortunately, I had a bag of 6 Chipolin tamales that I gave them. None of the family had eaten since this morning. The children are often going hungry....Brenda is so sad as she tells this but she says there is nothing that she can do...there is no money. Brenda had a stroke 10 years ago, now her right hand side of her body where she had the stroke before is painful...she can hardly walk ...she is limping and says that sleeping on the cold floor at the hospital is causing her a lot of pain in her body. She is extremely stressed as you can imagine anyone would be in this situation but she has the problem that she doesn't even have the bus fare to get back to the city tomorrow. She is not worried about having food for herself but she is very worried for her two little ones as they are going hungry so many days. This is the first time that she has been able to come home in one month ....she is hoping that she may get one days work at the restaurant tomorrow to be able to pay her fare but her body is so painful it is doubtful that she will be able to stand to wash dishes. The family is asking for help to get them through this terrible time. The hospital is now asking that they bring in 12 donors to give blood as Daniela needs to receive blood transfusions. In Guatemala , people do not usually donate blood. It has to be purchased, you have to pay a donor to go to the hospital and give blood. It costs approximately $50 including paying their bus fare to the city and to pay the lunch for each person to go . This is an impossible amount for this family. If you an help them with any small amount to help the mother get back to the hospital .....and to help her to have some food for her family, it would be so very much appreciated. Sharon

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Drum roll please!

We currently have 126 baskets of food for fathers of families, we
have 12 families of orphaned children who will be getting Father's day
baskets...and some mothers who are pulling double duty as fathers and
mothers of the family.

We also have brand new T-shirts to give out to the fathers, thanks to a wonderful donation that we received. Yesterday 10 Mayan Families staff went into the office and packed up bags of food so that we would be ready to go. I didn't even know that they did this
until it was over!

This morning we are starting at to get ready to give out the baskets. We are giving out the baskets this Sunday
as many of the fathers are not able to come during the week. They are
working and some may lose their jobs if they take a day off.

So that is why we will be giving them out this Sunday. It
is not too late ...if you still want to send a basket or give a basket
to a single mother family ....or to an orphaned family.  Thank you so
much for the bags of food for the Elderly men...they will really
appreciate this.

SharonSharon Smart-Poage

Young mother from Santa Catarina, Guatemala

This week a young mother from a nearby village of Santa Catarina came
to the office....she has a child approx. 3 years old...another one who
is 14 months old and she is 5 months pregnant. Her mission
coming to our office was to find out if anyone would like to adopt the
child she was pregnant with. She is living in a very dangerous situation
with her husband who is very physically abusive. She can no longer take
living with him and fears for her life and the safety of her children.
She was very desperate when she came to talk to us.

She had gone to see her parents and asked if she could move back
home with them.  Her father told her that she could not come home
bringing this new baby. ...that she had to give it away. Gloria,
the Mayan Families staff manager, called the mother in and talked to
her.  The mother is in agreement to have the daughter come back home
...and not give the baby away and she feels that she can convince the
father....but that they cannot afford to feed the daughter and the

On Friday, we helped the young mother move her very small amount of possessions back into her parents very small home.
This family does not have a FA number but our hope for them is that we will
be able to find a sponsor/s who will be willing to help with food for
the family...even if it is only  $60 a month....and help with the
medical check ups for the mother while she is pregnant. 

The mother of this woman feels that her husband will
not insist on the daughter giving up her baby...if we can provide food
for the daughter and the children. If you can help or know of anyone who would want to help this family, please let us know.


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

Ashley and her family in Guatemala

Hi, some of you may remember Ashley and her family situation.
Ashley came to stay with us last year ...she stayed at my house for about 3 weeks.  
Her step father who had raised her from about a 2 years old  ...decided that he no longer wanted to support her.

Ashley was then around 12 years old.
He made the mother choose between sending Ashley out of the house or else the mother would have to leave with her 
three other children ( who he was the bio father ) .

The mother could not leave the house as she had no where to go . She had no way to support her children.
She was going to send Ashley to work with a woman who said she would take her to the city where there was work in the local market.

This is an area known for prostitution and when we heard what the mother was contemplating  ...we asked her not to do that ..and told her we 
would look after Ashley till something permanent was worked out for her.
Ashley was very confused and sad during the time she was with us.
But she also confirmed what her mother had told us .
That the father's family had never wanted him to marry her mother and they had never accepted her or her mother into the family.

They made life very difficult for the whole family ...they lived in a family compound in a very rural area...near Chimaltenango. 
The father loved his wife...we saw this when he brought her to us for medical care. He was very concerned about her and did all he could to look after her.

His issues seemed to be with his family and he didn't know how to resolve them.
After three weeks of Ashley living with us...the mother called to say that the father had gone to work on the coast and told her that Ashley could now come back to the home.

We didn't hear too much from then since then.  They had come in and brought report cards but all seemed to be working out o.k.
Then this past week the mother called to say that while she and the children were out...the husband hung himself at their home.

Ashley's mother could barely talk for sobbing...and it took us awhile to find out what had happened.    She had returned home and found him there.
His family blamed her and would not help her at all.

When she called us ...she was in the house she had shared with her husband....his body was laying on the table but there was no coffin and the family would not come to help her at all.
Usually, the families here help each other at these times, preparing the body,  arranging the death certificate, notifying neighbors, arranging the coffin, getting chairs, bread, coffee, sugar and sodas for the mourners who will come .  But this family did nothing but leave her alone with the body ....and tell her that now her husband was dead that she and the children were no longer welcome to live in the house on the family compound.   She said that in the morning the husband had told her that he could not stand the problems with his family any more and it would be better if he was dead.  

She told us that she would come to Mayan Families as soon as she could.  On Friday , 2 days after her husband's death, she came to our office with Ashley and her three siblings. 
Ashley has a brother around 11 years old, a sister who is approx. 6 years old and a little brother who is 3 years old.  As soon as we saw the 3 year old brother we realized something was very wrong. His right arm was hanging beside his body....he had broken his arm at his father's funeral .   The mother had been too distraught to put much attention to the little one ..and she could not afford medical care for him.    We immediately called an ambulance to take him to the hospital . We could have driven them ourselves but if a patient is brought to the hospital by ambulance then they are immediately taken for attention to the emergency room.  If they arrive by themselves  then they have to sit outside in the waiting area until someone can attend them...which can be a very long time. 

The little brother was admitted to the hospital on Friday and the mother has to stay with him.  He has fluid in his arm and they are unable to operate till Monday. It looks like they will have to put pins in his arm.  Poor little boy, nearly two days with a broken arm and no treatment. 

In the meantime, the 11 year old boy went back to the house to look after whatever they have there.  Apparently, he is treated well by the family....probably because he is the older male child.
Ashley and her 6 year old sister are staying at Mayan Families. 
They have moved into the room that the other three girls are sharing, Karina, Fabiola and Olivia.
They seem to be doing o.k. 
We gave them clothes ..thanks to the donations that we receive.
Yesterday, Debra and Tony ( who are two fantastic volunteers who come every year to work with us ) with their daughter, went to the Mayan Families office , took pizza for the children and played board games with them.  They all had a great time. 

The mother and son are expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.
We are not sure of what the situation will be.
The mother wants to move to Panajachel. 
But she has no money.

She needs to be able to pay her rent and provide food for the children.
She has no skills ...except cleaning and washing ...and this will only earn her $3 US per day.
We need to have someone who would be willing to sponsor her to have her rent paid for at least 6 months so that she can get on her feet. 
The family will also need help with food.
Their main need right now will be to pay for the medical care for the 3 year old boy.
To have food for the family.
To have their transportation costs for a pick up to bring their possessions to Panajachel. It does not look like it will be possible for her to stay in the family compound. 

If anyone would like to help them, please let us know. 
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Week that was!

Hi friends,
Well, it has been a very busy past week at Mayan Families.
We had the Dental /Vision Team arrive last Friday...and we set up Saturday...then Sunday and Monday we had hundreds of people lining up in Panajachel for dental, medical and vision care.
The team did not have a general practitioner with them so Dr. Louis de Pena ..the Mayan Families doctor worked with them.
Once a month we hold an Evaluation of the Elders in our Elderly care program in Panajachel.  We held this on Monday and the elders were medically evaluated, checked blood pressure, and generally attended to what their needs were.
Sponsor visit!
We also welcomed the Anderson family who are sponsors and who were excited to visit their sponsored students.  Their student whose first name is Anderson and his family, was absolutely amazed to have the Anderson family arrive with a bed, a water filter, chickens and gifts.  This was a huge day for them!
New staff member....Helene from Australia joined us.  She is working on the data base for our new website! website!!!!!  This will incorporate the blogs ..and it will also have a place for the elderly, the milk program and medical ...just as we have for the students.   This is something that people have been asking for and you will now be able to see the photos when you donate a basket for an elderly person just as you can for a student...and also regular updates about medical patients. 
This is very exciting but it is a lot of work ...Helene is working closely with Jo Lori and the people who are building the website to make this as efficient as possible. 
We hope it will not be too long before it is up and running. 
Sponsor Karren Bertola not only visited her sponsored student but is an avid seamstress and she brought a project to the women in our sewing classes. She started working with them every day .
Monday...Calvin Kelly and his group installed Onil stoves...and very kindly donated one to Mayan Families staff member, Augustin as a birthday gift had been Augustin's birthday the week before...and coincidentally, was installed on Augustin's wife's birthday!  They were both thrilled!
ANIMAL PROGRAM,   Graduating students from one of the International schools PCI are doing their community service hours with our Animal Program...they are socializing the approx. 20 kittens that we have that are in need of homes. 
TUESDAY .we took the team to Nahaula where we were greeted by over 200 people already waiting in line to be seen.  
They saw one young girl who had walked for miles to come to the clinic. She had two complete sets of teeth. The dentists had never seen that before. Her first teeth had not fallen out and the others had come in.   She was 13 years old. Our daughter, Zoe was doing the registration and she asked the girl if she was accompanied by her parents or if she had a permission slip from her parents to be treated ....but the young girl told them that she had no parents and no one to sign the form for her.  She had walked for over an hour from another mountain village.  The dentist told me that they removed all the baby teeth and gave her pain killers and then watched as she started her walk, alone in the rain , back to her village. 
Dr. Louis de Pena also went with them and thanks to the generous donations of many of you, for the support with the tickets for the staff to attend the Mayan Families Medical Fundraiser...we were able to buy antibiotics, cough medicines, and hydrocortisone cream for many of the people who needed it. 
The Anderson family helped organize our sports uniforms ready to be given to the different schools. This was greatly appreciated.
The Occupational Therapist who is helping in the Physical Therapists clinic started. She will be coming into our office two days a week.   She will be treating the patients who our Physical Therapists were treating and keeping them moving along with their treatment until the next Physical Therapist arrives.    We are also fortunate to have a nurse who is helping.  She is changing Charlie's bandages on his leg.  Many of you know Charlie , who works with us. He speaks Spanish and fluent English.  Charlie is 20 years old. He was electrocuted when he was 8 years old and has spent many years in the U..S getting medical treatment thanks to COTA.   He has a bad ulcer on his leg and he is often in constant pain with it.  He cannot stand for very long.  Charlie works in our Carpentry work shop and does a great job there.   He is getting his bandages changed every day and we hope that his ulcers will be able to heal. 
We also welcomed three young interns who will be working with us for the next two months.  They are from the N.C. University....we have been having interns coming to work with us for nearly 4 years now from this University.   The students all do homestays in different villages and they are working in the mornings at our pre schools , one in San Jorge, one in San Antonio and I think that one is in Panajachel working  on nutrition with the Elderly and the pre school.    Then in the afternoon, they are working on different projects that they have been assigned through Megan in Family Aid.   Some of the Interns will be teaching English at the pre schools.
Sponsor visit.
We were delighted to have sponsors Hillari Hansen and her family come to visit their sponsored student. 
WEDNESDAY we accompanied the medical team to Chichicastenango....Delia our volunteer coordinator and Sergio , our translator, who speaks Spanish, English and Kakchiquel stayed with the group overnight .    While I was with them at the clinic, a woman in her late 40's came up to me holding a 2 month old baby girl. She told me that she is the grandmother of one of our sponsored students in Panajachel.   Some of you may know Tomas and his mother Lucia ,...and Sebastian and his mother, Rosa .....they come from the Chichicastenango area .  Tomas and Sebastian attend the Mayan Families Pre school in Panajachel.     Well, this mother , is Sebastian's grandmother....she is a widow ...she had five children, her eldest daughter died at 16 years old from alcoholism.....her husband died a long time ago, she can't remember exactly but her youngest daughter is almost 13 years old...and she was just a baby when he died....She has two adult children at home who live with her, one daughter and one son.   She told me that several months ago , a young girl around 14 years old, came to their house and told them that she had no where to go and could she stay with them in exchange for doing chores,  Sebastian's grandmother felt sorry for her and let her stay.   She told me that one day, a few weeks later, she took the clothes to be washed to the communal washing took her several hours washing clothes by hand...when she came home , the girl was gone but on the bed was  a new born baby!
The grandmother called her adult daughter and Sebastian's mother and asked them what she should do.....they decided that the baby was a gift from God and that she should be raised in their family.  They had no milk for the baby so for the first 4-5 days the baby drank only warm water with sugar, then they were able to get some formula.  
The grandmother weaves for a living and makes only about $15 US per she is unable to afford the formula.   The dental team had brought a film crew of two people with them , they interviewed the grandmother, and one of the nurses offered to sponsor the baby for milk through the Mayan Families Milk program.  So we were able to purchase formula right there for her and we are able to guarantee her four cans of formula a month for the future. 
THURSDAY. the Dental/Vision team returned from Chichicastenango and we had a farewell dinner for them.  We also welcomed Debbie Lutes group who arrived late Thursday Afternoon. 
Abandoned dog. 
We also had a very starved dog tied up and abandoned  in front of our house.  She must still have been feeding puppies as she is full of milk. We have one very kind ex pat here who is coming to the office and is putting a compound of parsley tea on her which is bringing down the swelling.  She is a really sweet dog . I am always amazed how these dogs who have been so badly treated , abused and starved can be so forgiving and still treat humans with affection in return for just some food and some kindness. 
Corpus Cristi. 
It was also the festivities for Corpus there was much noise from the fireworks going off regularly,  lots of activity in the streets with processions, colorful costumes, dancing, children and young women being chased by the "Lions and the Negritas "..... 
We sent a driver to Tecpan to pick up Dominga who had been receiving chemotherapy in the city.   Several months ago, Dominga had a huge, cancerous tumor removed from her stomach. She has been receiving chemo for some time now and is doing a lot better....and her prognosis is really good. Dominga has had a lot to deal with ...not only grinding poverty, struggling with the tumor and her pain without receiving any medical treatment till Mayan Families helped her, but about two months ago, when she was in hospital having chemo, her husband started drinking, he had battled alcoholism for some time, and he died from the results of this binge. He had been the main financial support for the family, sporadic but at least he had provided something for her and the children to eat.  Despite all that she has gone through , Dominga keeps smiling and is so grateful for the help that she has received.  She is very positive for her future and so are the doctors. 
Thursday evening...we had two families come to spend the night at the room we have at the office for these occasions.
Medical care for Bayron and Ingrid. 
We had Bayron ...a young boy who is 6 years old. We found Bayron at a medical clinic we did in San Antonio Palopo....   Bayron had a huge lump on his neck and it was a cancerous. 
Thanks to Beth McFayden's brother, Dave .....Bayron was able to get medical attention and have this lump removed . He has been doing really, really well and his prognosis is excellent but he needs to have continued check ups.  This has been very difficult to get the family to bring Bayron for these follow ups. They feel that the lump is gone and he is fine ....but he needs to be evaluated by the doctors and followed up on.  It is very difficult for the family. The father is the only bread winner. The mother stays at home with several other smaller children.  She does not speak Spanish and going to the city for her is very traumatic. She is a very nervous person and she is very timid...being in the city for her , being in the hospital, not being able to speak the language and worrying about the children back at home is just too much for her to cope with .  
The father has gone to the city mostly with Bayron but when Bayron was in the midst of his treatment , he often had to stay for a week or more in the hospital. This made it a huge hardship on the family.  Even though Dave provided not only the medical treatment but the transportation, food for the father  and food for the family back in San Antonio, it was still a hardship on the family and the father often lost his job because of his absences. 

But while we understand all the hardships for the family we cannot leave Bayron without his check ups... and .we cannot take him without a parent going along.  After several cancelled appointments and no shows by the parents, we even offered them to send someone with the mother from their village , such as a sister in law who spoke Spanish and we would pay her to accompany the mother,  we finally had to send the Mayan Families social worker to let them know that if Bayron did not come for his medical check ups then we would have to take legal action against the parents.  
Dave has generously compensated the father with food for the family and we assured the father that it would be just the one day trip to the city..and so finally they went in on Friday.
Also staying overnight with them and going to the city was little Ingrid ...also from San Antonio and another very lucky recipient of Dave's generosity. 
Ingrid has a rare and horrible blood disorder. She starts bleeding from her eyes, her nose, her ears and her mouth. This is horrifying for this little 5 year old and horrifying for everyone around her.
Really without the medical care that Dave has made possible this little girl would probably not be alive. 
She needs to have injections to make her blood clot. She has had reactions to some of the medicine. She has been in and out of hospital with her mother and her father taking turns sleeping on the floor next to her bed.
Several times we have had phone calls from the parents or the teachers at our pre school in San Antonio...telling us that she was bleeding profusely and we had to rush her to the city.
Fortunately, at the hospital in the city , they are aware of Ingrid's medical condition and will attend to her any time we send her in.
She has been having a very good reaction to the new blood clotting injections and we hope that this will help her 
Emergency food in San Jorge. 
Thursday morning, Gloria , Julio, Megan and Roberto went to San Jorge to give out packets of "Kids against Hunger" food to families who had been selected in San Jorge who were most in need.  170 families and elderly were selected.  We are so grateful to have this food!
Puppy love. 
Another little puppy was brought to us abandoned and with a broken back leg. 
at, our driver , Juan Carlos left for the three hour drive to the city to take Ingrid, her father and Bayron and his father to the hospital in Guatemala City for their respective check ups.
Film crew to San Antonio. 
We arranged for the film crew for the Dental team to visit our pre school in San Antonio and then to visit the homes of some of our students.  Sandra, the cook at the pre school, chose the home of one of our new students,  Delia, our volunteer coordinator called me from the home and she told me that the family was living in terrible circumstances...that they had a tiny room, and the only bed they had was a towel on the dirt floor.  The mother has four children under the age of 5 years old. The kitchen was just bamboo sticks and she was cooking on an open fire on the ground. But Delia was most concerned about the lack of anywhere to sleep for the children...who she was told are constantly sick.   There was also no food in the house.  We actually have both of the older children in the pre school, a very cute little boy and they are at least eating once a day.   Delia brought the family back with the film crew...we asked the mother whether they had eaten...and she said no, so we arranged lunch for them all.....when the film crew returned  from their lunch break, they could not believe the difference in the children.  Before lunch they had been lethargic and quiet, after eating ,they were running around and wanting to play.   It is amazing what  a little food can do !  Thanks to the emergency rations we have from Feed my Starving Children and the Kids against Hunger packs that Tom Heaton from Mission Guatemala shared with us, we were able to give them packets of food to take home, we also gave them some yoga mats we had donated and more blankets so at least the children will have the yoga mats to sleep on , which hopefully will keep out some of the cold from the dirt floor and some more blankets. 
These two little ones still are not sponsored so if you know of anyone who is thinking about sponsoring, please suggest one or both of these children.

Visit to El Barranco pre school and construction. 
Debbie Lutes group went to El Barranco  and had an activity with the children at the pre school in El Barranco, they visited their sponsored students and started construction on a kitchen for one of the families. 

Sewing program 
Karren Bertola finished the project with the 5 women from the sewing classes and was absolutely thrilled that they are now able to produce a good quality bag.  Karren is hoping to order 40 of these bags a month from the women and sell them in the U.S. She hopes that this will be an ongoing project.   The women all invited Karren to go to visit them in their homes on Saturday in San Jorge. 

Kitten goes home with Delia. .....Our volunteer coordinator , Delia took home a little grey kitten from our Animal program....yay Delia!!!

Debbie Lutes ( who is a member of this group) wanted to celebrate her birthday ( which was Saturday) and her son, Noah's birthday which is on Monday. ..Noah is going to be 15 .
They decided to do it with their sponsored students and their families....a mere 25 people altogether!
At first we thought about a restaurant but decided it would be too many people to be able to interact together.
So we decided to do it at Mayan Families.
We had Pepian cooked at the kitchen.
Balloons were hung, tables set up , a piñata, lots of candy, a clown and ice cream cake!
It was so much fun...everyone had a great time. 
The kids and adults all played games and won prizes from the clown.
Noah may eventually forgive us for pushing his face a little into the cake as is the tradition here in Guatemala. 
The families received baskets of food to take home...and they also brought lovely gifts for Debbie for her birthday.
It was a really lovely activity to do with the family. As Debbie said they all got to interact together ,spend time together and have a lovely memory to share.

In the morning before this birthday celebration , some of Debbie's group were in El Barranco helping to construct a little kitchen for one of their families. 

Film crew to San Jorge Elderly. 
The Dental Film Crew went to San Jorge to visit the Elderly Care program with Megan .  They also provided a great lunch for the Elderly which was very special for them because 
usually on Saturdays we are closed.  So this was  special treat!

Sewing class visit.
Karren Bertola went to San Jorge with Michael from the Mayan Families Carpentry shop and visited the 5 women who are sewing for her.
She told me that it was a wonderful visit!
We have organized Debbie Lutes group to visit Santa Cruz for breakfast, then the village of San Marcos...where some of the adventurous young people may be tempted to jump off the cliff into the is a favorite place to do that...then they will be going to the nature reserve to do the nature walk and some of the same adventurous people who have survived the cliff jump will be doing the zip line! 

Delia, our Volunteer coordinator and Sara, from the School Sponsorship dept. will be meeting Cindy Ulrick's group that is arriving late this afternoon. 
Dwight and I are taking the four children, Karina, Jhony, Fabiola and Olivia to the circus today along with our own daughters. 
Construction work continues!
We are also continuing construction on homes for students #700, and another sponsored family in Patulul, , these sponsored students also are having construction work on their homes and this work is still continuing.   #3 y #2436, #441 y #2026
Well, thank you to anyone who is still reading this!  Your support makes it possible for us to do this work...we are as always, very grateful for your support, not only financial but also all the encouragement and inspiration you provide us!
Have a happy Sunday and wishing you all a very happy, health week ahead of you,