Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Agaclon Colo family is in desperate need of some assistance on many fronts.

The Agaclon Colo family is in desperate need of some assistance on many fronts.

Last year, the father of the family, Fermin, went to visit the doctor after suffering some pain in his stomach. He was prescribed medication which he continued to take for several months despite the fact that the pain was getting worse and worse. Finally, when the pain became almost unbearable, he went to hospital where they discovered that in fact none of the pills he had been taking had dissolved and had formed a massive ulcer in his stomach. 

He was forced to have a colostomy, now has a colostomy bag and has been unable to work since. In order to get back-up and working he needs to have a large number of tests done to see if the colostomy bag can be removed, however these are prohibitively expensive ($500 US dollars). His wife washes clothes for a living earning less than $3/day and has no hope to be able to pay for these fees while still keeping the family afloat. 

However the family’s problems do not stop there. Last year their 12 year old son Brian Jose was diagnosed with Leukemia. With his father not working the family is struggling to pay for his transport expenses to the city to attend his chemotherapy sessions ($30/month). This is life saving treatment that is not available anywhere locally. 

On top of this, the family lost their home in the 2010 floods. They have been in sheltered accommodation ever-since waiting for permanent housing to be available to them. By a stroke of luck they have just been told that a house has been allocated to them however in order to claim it they need to pay $300 in legal fees – if they do not process the paperwork by the end of the month the house will be forfeited to another family. With their combined medical situations it is extremely unlikely they will be able to do this on their own. 

If you can support this family in any way please donate online at http://www.mayanfamilies.org/DonateNow and quote FA-312.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recipe for Pepian de Pollo

Many people have been asking whether we could publish some of the wonderful Guatemalan recipes that we teach in our cooking classes. 

So first off here is a recipe for Pepian de Pollo – a traditional Guatemalan stew. Every Guatemalan makes it a little differently—richer, spicier,  thicker or meatier so feel free to experiment with the quantities. It’s typically served with an array of chilies rice, and a corn tamale and makes a fantastic feast to impress your friends with. 

(Serves 10)

10 pounds of chicken    
2.5 pounds of tomatoes  
2.5 guisquiles (or Chayote if unavailable)
2.5 carrots                      
2.5 pounds of potatoes    
1 dried chili
1 dried Huaque (Guatemalan Chile)              
1 pound of green beans
2 ounces of squash seeds
1 ounce of coriander                  
2 medium onions                          
2 ounces of sesame seeds
4 loaves of French bread (sliced)    
1 bell pepper                   
½ head of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil the chicken, carrots and guisquiles for 10 minutes with water. 
  2. After the ten minutes, add the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes. 
  3. Drain and set aside
  4. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, toast the tomatoes, onions, chilies, garlic and coriander in a skillet.
  5. Separately toast the squash seeds (but you have to be careful or you’ll burn them!)
  6. In the same skillet, toast the sesame seeds & bread on a low heat (again - make sure not to burn them!) but keep them separate for blending. 
  7. When everything is toasted, blend the squash seed and sesame without water (just those two ingredients)
  8. Then blend the tomatoes and the remaining mixture including the bread. 
  9. Slowly add water while blending these ingredients (make sure it is not too liquidy). 
  10. Add to the pot with the chicken. 
  11. Continue to stir until thickened. 
Buen provecho!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Volunteer Jim Britt...back and spreading joy again!

Jim Britt has a love for Guatemala, its people and in helping them. 
He has made several trips to Guatemala and has established very warm relationships with the
students that he sponsors and their families.
Jim is a shining example of what one person can do.  He spreads the word as much as he can on 
social media to let people know what a difference they can make in a young person's life...for just a  small amount of money.
He tries to raise awareness when ever he can about the depth of the poverty in Guatemala and how educating a child will give that child
a chance for a better future.
We are very grateful to have Jim as a supporter of Mayan Families .....and we know that the people he visits when he comes to Guatemala feel very grateful to have Jim in their lives!
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity


Mayan Families June/July 2013 Newsletter!

Mayan Families June/July 2013 Newsletter!
Click on the link:  http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs175/1103559743325/archive/1114003484882.html

Mayan Families Medical Clinic

Mayan Families has a small medical clinic in our compound.  
It is small but very busy.
Dr. Louis de Pena attends approx. 40 people a day with a huge amount of different and often dire illnesses.
We do not have enough funds to be able to pay for the medicines we need.
We rely on donations to supply most of our medicines.
We are grateful for the donation of today's medicines for the clinic at Mayan Families.
The medicines for the clinic today are sponsored  IN HONOR of Sharin Lin Matras by her loving family.
This sign made by one of our sponsored students hangs in the medical clinic ....so that everyone coming in knows that the medicine they are receiving today is in honor of this lovely woman. 
We are all very grateful for this donation that has made it possible for so many people to receive care today.
If you would like to honor a loved one or would like to support the clinic for one day...it is just a donation of $60 US.
Please contact   Sharon@mayanfamilies.org 

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

Global Dental Expeditions!

Many of the children of Panajachel have received wonderful dental care during the last two weeks.
Thanks to a collaboration with Global Dental Expeditions, the local town Municipality and Mayan Families... over 1,000 children were able to receive fluoride, sealant, cleanings, fillings and extractions.  They also received educational instruction on how to look after their teeth and the importance of taking care of their teeth. 
Thank you to the wonderful volunteers of Global Dental Expeditions, the collaboration of the local council in providing a location, a generator, chairs, tables and two very efficient and helpful staff members who stayed with the group all week...Mayan Families was able to facilitate this clinic and make arrangements to have the children from the local schools receive this great gift of dental care. 
Thanks to the kind and caring hearts of these dentists, one young girl who had to have 8 permanent teeth removed is now receiving follow up care from a local dentist ...who will be able to replace the teeth she has lost with false teeth, thanks to the generosity of the dentists from Global Dental Expeditions!
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

A very productive visit from Global Legacy Programs!

We were fortunate to have a visit from the volunteers of Global Legacy Programs  !
This group brought with them the gift of two sewing machines.  Both the women who were graduating the following day from the 6 month sewing course were so thrilled to receive these sewing machines.  One woman, Estella sells traditional clothing in the market . She started this business with a micro loan that she received from Mayan Families.  She has learned how to make to aprons from the sewing class and is now making them to sell along with her traditional clothing.
The group also helped paint the Mayan Families Pre school area...they repainted the bathroom doors and they painted some of the walls that had been a "cement grey" a very cheery blue!   
Then at the end of the day, the group sponsored a little girl from the Mayan Families Panajachel Pre school! 
Thank you Global Legacy Programs for all your help!  We are very grateful for your support.

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

Thanks for the life of one very special little girl.

Today is two years since 8 year old Gabby Lewis had the terrible car accident that took her life and changed forever the lives of her parents, Shane, Becky and her little brother, Tucker. 
I have followed Becky's posts on facebook and sometimes here in our group and I am always amazed at her courage, honesty and how much she has inspired so many.  Many of us have grieved along with her, dreading to even imagine the kind of horrendous pain that she and her family have gone through.   
Another dear member of this group, Becky also lost her beloved son , Travis about two years earlier .   Both these mothers have shown me what it is to live with courage and to cope with unending pain and to go on living their lives and looking after their families. 
Today , if I was Becky , I don't know what I would do .......... I think I would be consumed with my own pain and loss.      
But today Becky got up , used her computer to send money to her sponsored family to be able to have a basket of food....she didn't say anything on her donation for this family ...but I know that it is done in honor of Gabby.   She can't feed her own daughter today but Becky is thinking about another woman's daughter.......a family that has become so fond of Becky and her family and so grateful for the help that she and Shane have given them,      Then we received  another payment from Becky....she is co sponsoring a little girl, Ana Lucrecia  in Tierra Linda...  .  Ana had received a co sponsorship from donations received from a fundraiser to honor Gabby. a few months ago... .....and today Becky took the other half of the co sponsorship in honor of Gabby. 
Today in Tierra Linda, children will be in the Gabby Lewis Memorial Library,. They will have books to read, puzzles to play with , they will have computers to do their homework...and they have a teacher to help them with their homework.   They have a comfortable loft to climb on, cushions to sit on, legos to play with ....and from the wall is a beautiful photo of Gabby, smiling down on them.     
We are so grateful for the this library....we just wish it had not come because Gabby is no longer with her family.
Becky Hilfer and her family gave water filters in honor of Travis.    I still see these water filters and they have Travis's name printed on them.  I think of Becky and her family every time I see one. 
I am humbled to know such incredible loving, giving women ...who in the face of their own heart breaking tragedies manage to go on ....and while doing so ...think and care about others. 
Mayan Families

Friday, July 19, 2013

Some fantastic news!!!

Dear friends,
As many of you know , we have struggled to find a location for Mayan Families.
We started Mayan Families out of our house in Panajachel.
We used Zoe's computer in her bedroom. Sandra, our Social Worker and I used to share that computer....when one got off, the other jumped on. 
Then we moved into having an office  in my bedroom.  There were three of us working in there during the day.
Then we had 2 rooms built outside in the garden and we had the offices moved over there, but we continued to use our bedroom as my office.
After the flood in 2010 ...we had to evacuate our house and moved into the building Marti, which we had the use of half the building, the other half was used by a school.......then we moved to Calle Monterey, where we had a house with 5 rooms and a large garage outside that we used for many different activities....but anyone who visited us knows how squished we were. There was barely room to move in our offices.
Then we moved to the present location about 9 months ago now.  It is a huge space...a two storey building with 60+ rooms. ( a few of them are really storage rooms, no windows and small.)
But the other rooms are fantastic...we now have space for all the staff to have office space....we have the small medical clinic, the physical therapy room, the volunteer room, the pre school has four rooms and a large playground.   We have two kitchens, one for the pre school and one for the Elderly care program.  We have emergency accommodation room for families who have to go for medical care and need to stay over, we have three rooms for the four children that we have in our custody, two bedrooms and a kitchen for them. We also have a library for students, a computer lab.. two sewing rooms, a meeting room.and we still have some space. 
We have been concerned because we have a 3 year lease on this building and were worried about where we would go when the lease ran out. Where would we find anywhere to be able to fit ?
Well , now we no longer have to worry about this.
We have had the most amazing miracle !
A small , private  U.S. family foundation has gifted the building to Mayan Families!  
We have just been pinching ourselves ever since we got this news.
Mayan Families now owns the building and does not have to ever worry about moving again, finding a place big enough to rent or finding the money for the rent.
We are more grateful to these wonderfully generous  and kind  people, more than words can express!
Thanks to this gift we are also able to open the Mayan Families Manicure and Pedicure salon - Trade school - Beauty School on Monday...we have two store fronts that we do not have to pay rent on ..and now have this space available for the small school we are starting.  On Monday, 9 women and one man in a wheel chair will start taking classes to learn how to do manicures and pedicures!!   We hope that they will be learning a skill that will help them to earn an income in the future.
We are so grateful for all your help that made it possible for this gift to be given to Mayan Families.
It is thanks to your support that we have been able to grow! It is also thanks to your support and efforts that Mayan Families has be able to help the community here in Guatemala as much as we have!
It is thanks to all that you that have made this all possible, that the family foundation thought that Mayan Families was worth giving this wonderful gift, of this building to us. 
We are humbled, relieved and so grateful to have a permanent home where we know so much good will happen to  be able to help the impoverished families we serve.
Sharon Smart-Poage
a registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity