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,

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