Saturday, September 28, 2013


This morning we had a call from Aqua Escondido...this is where we were able to buy land and build 8 houses for families who did not own land.
One of the poorest families there is a family of 11 ....9 children ...and 2 adults. The parents, Jesus and Clara...have had a very hard life. 
This family often has nothing to eat ...the signs of malnutrition are very visible on the children.
They have an older son who would have been 26 next month.  He has brain damage but the family could never afford to have medical care for him. He would often forget where he was or who members of the family were.
Last night he went out walking and didn't come home. This morning they searched for him and found him lying dead on the side of the road.
They are not sure what he died from and probably will never be able to find out whether he had an accident or if someone hurt him.
The family called early this morning sobbing. They have no money for a coffin. 
This family has no money to for food to eat daily...and if they have to buy a coffin on credit, the interest will soon mount up and they will not be able to pay it.

We need $300  US to be able to help this family.  The coffin has to be delivered to them by a pick up as they have no transport and no way to get here.  They need to go and file papers..they will need bus fare for this and to buy whatever is needed.    Because the father will not be able to work today, they will not have food. 
Those of you who have visited these families in Aqua Escondido know the situation that they live in....if you can spread the word on your social medias ...we may get some help for them.

If you would like to send a donation, please send it to and mark it for #1147....that is Ana, who is one of the 2 children we sponsor in this family.

If anyone would like to help with just a little towards this families 

This is when we delivered building materials to the family.

This is inside the very humble home.  There is only one bed and this is the bed that they have their son lying on who just passed away. They do not have a coffin for him yet. 

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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Maximo and Angelina go to the hospital

10 year old Maximo and his little, 4 year old sister, Angelina were admitted to the Govt. hospital for malnourished children.
Either the parents took them there or the govt. officials would have taken all four of their children to an orphanage and they would have lost custody of their children. 
It was a very hard decision for the parents but it was made easier by having the situation explained to them in their own language by a Mayan Families social worker.  
They were taken to the hospital in the Mayan Families pick up...accompanied by the driver, Juan Carlos, who has a very good heart and as a father knew how hard it was for the parents to leave their children.  Elisa and Vicki from the Mayan Families ..Family Aid program accompanied the parents into the hospital. Elisa speaks Kakchiquel and the parents speak Tzutjil but they understand each other, Vicki, a Canadian, speaks fluent Spanish and was there to check out the hospital and confirm the conditions for the children and what the parents could expect. 

Vicki was pleased to report that the hospital was very clean and bright...that there was a play area for the children with toys.   

She told me that the nurse that received the children was very gentle and welcoming to the family. The mother and father told the nurse that they love their children very much...that they wanted the nursing staff to know this.

The parents will not be able to visit the children for 2-3 weeks....and after that they will be able to visit every Sunday from 9-11 a.m.    I wonder how many parents can  actually make this trip. These children who are in this hospital are there because the parents can't afford how are they going to be able to afford the bus fare to get to the city.  Many of the parents will be like Maximo and Angelina's parents. ...this is their first time ever to the is very scary for them.  Is it possible for many of them to afford to do the trip and to even know how to get there to visit their children ?

Now we are focusing on helping this family. There are two other children in the family who are not as in such a severe state of malnutrition as Maximo and Angelina but they are not far behind.   Tomas  is 14 years old and weighs 72 lb...his little sister, Ana...7 years old, not only is very underweight but she also suffers from asthma......the parents cannot afford medical care for her.

The parents and the two remaining children are now coming to Mayan Families 5 days a week ...where they can eat and receive medical care.   The father is going to start taking classes at the carpentry shop this Monday.   We hope that with the father learning a skill, it will give him a chance at being able to work and have an income. Until now the father has only been able to cut coffee and work in the fields. This is often seasonal work and he makes only $3 approx a day.

We need help to be able to help this family.  
We need sponsorship for their food for the weeks that they will be at Mayan Families.
We need help to be able to pay for their medical care.
We need help to be able to pay for their transportation to and from the city to visit Maximo and Angelina.
If you can help, with even a little, it will make such a difference to this family.
There is a saying that I have seen attributed to Mother Teresa..." If you can't feed the world...just feed one"   This is definitely one family that needs this help.
Donations can be sent to
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Jesus 22 years old is in desperate need of help

Last night we received an urgent phone call about help for this family.
Jesus is 22 years old. ...last week he had collapsed and was sent to the hospital in Solola. ...he is diabetic and could not afford the much needed medication. 
He was released from hospital after being stabilized and sent home.  Last night he started convulsing and became unconscious.  

His mother, who is shown in this photo, anxiously waiting for the ambulance to arrive, is also diabetic and in poor health.

18 months ago this family lost the oldest brother from very similar conditions that Jesus is suffering from.  They could not afford medical care for him ...and he died. The family is now terrified that this may happen to Jesus. 

This morning they need to be able to buy medicine and do tests for him. 
Jesus's father is a fisherman and he does not make very much money at all. It is barely enough to keep the family fed.  He has two younger children who are still in school and it is very hard for them to even manage to keep them in school. 

Jesus was told last week that he needs to have a Electroencefalograma examination of his head and he needs to have a test for his pancreas as well. 
We need $300 US. to be able to pay for the insulin that he needs and get these tests done. 
If you can possibly help with even the smallest amount, it will mean a great deal to this family that has already suffered a terrible loss and are dealing now with the fear of losing their other son.
Please send your donation to and mark it for FA #335. 
Any help would be so appreciated.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

These two children are in desperate need.

These two children are in desperate need. Angelina is 4 years old and weighs 16 lb ..her brother, Maximo is 10 years old, very stunted and weighs 28lb. They are the worst affected in a family that is starving, there are other children in this family. The children were hospitalized for a week but they now need to have food to take home. We need to be able to provide this family with food till they are able to take better care of themselves. If you would like to help them, please send a donation to and put the name Maximo #931 in the notes section. This money will go directly to purchase food for this family.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saturday and Sunday classes in rural Guatemala

Hi everyone,
The Saturday classes are not just a tutoring class, they are formal school classes. They are held on Saturday or Sundays for students who have to work ..or for students, like Claudia who are so much older than the kids in their regular school classes. these situations it is often embarrassing for students to continue school ..when they are 16 years old and everyone in the class is 8 - 10 years old.   These  are accelerated classes...and they often do two grades in one 3 and 4 th grade....etc...and they give the students a lot of homework to do during the week.  When the student graduates from these classes , it is as if they have graduated from the classes at school. These classes are totally accepted by the Minister of Education.  
Apart from these classes...Claudia is coming regularly to computer classes twice a week.
She is also working a few days a week babysitting.
She is also going to church and is taking the classes to be baptised.  Here in Guatemala this usually means one or two nights of study and all day on Sunday.   
So she is keeping pretty busy.
She has asked if we would give her a job at Mayan Families but we just do not have the money to pay for her.  If you would like to sponsor her for work ...we would be delighted to have her. 
I am also very relieved that she has gone in a different direction...we were all concerned for the direction it looked like she was going. 
For her baptism ...she needs to have a traditional outfit  ....( we just gave her a second hand outfit for her birthday was in good condition but it was obvious that it was not new )   If she could have a new guipil ( Blouse ) to go with the corte ( skirt) that would be great.  The skirt looks a lot newer than the guipil.  A new guipil is approx $80 US...these are the woven ones for her village.  ( there are plenty of other guipils that are a lot cheaper) 
I think she needs a veil...I am not sure how much that is...and I think she may need a bible and a special candle. 
Most families will then go home and have lunch but as you know it is just Claudia and her grandmother and they will not have any food. If you would like to give them some tamales for their special lunch...we could organize that.   I think that a photo frame is also nice...and we could get the photo from the baptism and frame it.   All of these things are just suggestions ...and any of them would be appreciated. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A busy day at the Mayan Families Clinic

This week we have been doing evaluations on the children who are in the milk program and the Incaparina program (cereal ). 

They came to our small clinic run by Dr. Louis de Pena....and he weighed, measured and examined them for health problems.

It was a great relief for the mothers to be able to discuss problems or concerns that they have about their children.

Our small clinic relies totally on donations. The clinic is open Monday to Friday to 5p.m. .   We have some medicines that are donated but usually any medicine that is needed like antibiotics has to be purchased.

One way we support the clinic is by suggesting that you may want to honor a loved one by sponsoring a day at the clinic.  It is just $60 US to sponsor a day's medicine at the clinic ....and a poster with a photo of your loved one is put on the wall of the clinic ....we take a photo of that poster and send it to you .

This is a great way to honor a loved one ...and to help a lot of people in need at the same time! 
If you are interested in doing this...or if you would like just to make a donation to the clinic...please write to or to donate go to
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A visit to our pre school in San Antonio Palapo is never complete without taking a quick stop to look at the women weaving

A visit to our pre school in San Antonio Palapo is never complete
without taking a quick stop to look at the women weaving and also to
see the beautiful pottery being made in the village.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

This is the reason our milk and nutrition programs are so important here in Guatemala

This is the reason that our milk program and nutrition programs are so important.

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

This week's happenings in Guatemala with Mayan Families!

This week we have welcomed back the dental group , Kids, which has been coming for the last 4-5 years attending to the dental needs of the children here.
Monday they saw 200 children in Panajachel.
Today they went to Nahaula and saw over 200 children.
Tomorrow they are in San Jorge.....
Thursday ...they are in Tierra Linda.
Friday they are in San Jorge.

Tomorrow , Wednesday, we have the monthly meeting of the Diabetic club at They come early , have their blood taken, have a talk about diabetes, see the medical doctor for a check up and as soon as they have their blood taken , we serve sandwiches and a drink.

Today, Tuesday ...was a wonderful day...we had the graduation of our first group of students from the carpentry workshop.
Several came with proud parents...and brought the beautiful things that they had worked on, others are still finishing up their projects.  It was a great to see how they had learned how to make such great items.
The students were all excited to receive a diploma, photos were taken and plans made for some of them to continue on with the carpentry.

One young man made an incredibly beautiful wooden base for a small clock. They copied these items from a magazine we had brought back from the U.S.

We were also pleased that on Monday we were able to help a family contact and visit  the birth mother of the daughter they had adopted from Guatemala.  It turned out to be a great experience for all involved.

Monday we also had this amazing young 10 year old girl come to our office. Her father is American and her mother , Guatemalan.  She lives in the U.S. and decided that she wants to help she came to interview us about our animal project and how she could help raise funds for the animals.  She was incredibly mature and well spoken. .....I think this girl could rule the world one day!  In the meantime , we are very happy to have her help in any money she can raise to help the animals.

Which speaking of animals, we had 3 newborn kittens dropped off to us on Monday.... ..they were just a few days old.   I asked the people who brought in the kittens if they could please find the mother, they said that they didn't know where she was.  Today , I was overjoyed when they came in with a corn bag and they had the mother cat in the bag.    I am not sure if the mother cat enjoyed the way she was reunited with her babies but she is now in a large cage outside with her 3 little ones, and she has food and water.  Something that she looked like she really lacked.

We have another funeral to attend tomorrow...the elderly mother of our sewing teacher, Alberto passed away today.  The family has been gathered by her bedside for nearly two weeks looking after her and hoping that she would recover but it was not to be.  It is the custom here that everyone who works with you will come to the funeral.  Many times whole classrooms of children will come to funerals to support their classmate who has lost someone.  Tomorrow was supposed to be the graduation of another sewing class but we will have to cancel it now for another day.

Thursday...we have a Micro Loans Meeting.  We have approx. 350 loans out to various women...they apply for the loans in groups of 10  and they are responsible to each other. If one person does not pay back the group is responsible for paying that loan. So far, we are happy to say , that this has not had to happen.

Friday...we will be giving out bags of emergency food supplies to the elderly who will be able to have something to eat over the week end.  We do this every Friday.

Hope you all have a great week!

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

Guatemalan Independence Day is Sept. 15th

Guatemalan Independence Day is Sept. 15th
It is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm here in Guatemala.
Lots of parades.  
It is a very big event.
One of the things that is always stressful for the parents is that the schools ask for new shoes for the children for the parades.
We have given out as many as we can from donations...they always want black school shoes or white gym shoes for some of the children.
Many of you who have been here have seen the condition of the children's shoes.....when we give new shoes to children in January, this is often the only pair of shoes that they have or will have all by the time September comes around...their shoes are in terrible condition and not fit for the parades.
If you would like to help your sponsored student is one thing that they all need right now.  
The shoes that they need are $30 a pair.  If you would like to give them a pair of shoes, please send the donation along with the student number.
Just to clarify...the students all received a pair of brand new school shoes and a pair of gym shoes in January but as I mentioned earlier, this is often the only pair that the child will have all year.
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

Friday, September 6, 2013

Quisquina Castro Family

Quisquina Castro Family

The Quisquina Castros are one tough family! They have 11 children that are learning impaired or have speech impediments. 6 of the children are special needs. One has been taken to a special needs hospital in Antigua. The rest of the special needs siblings, although now adults, are not able to care for themselves. They live at home with their parents and are taken care of by their enduring mother and sisters. It is necessary to clean the house everyday as continence is a problem for the special needs family members.  

On his own, the father fights to provide for the whole family. He is a day laborer and works when he can, earning $6 on a good day. Despite their difficult situation, the Quisquina Castros encourage their only two sons currently studying to focus on their education. Angel, currently in 8th grade and Jaime, in 1st grade, are the hope of the family. Angel has vowed to receive an education (college degree or vocation) in order to help support his family. 

If you are able to sponsor Angel and Jaime’s education, the family will be very grateful. Please visit our website to sponsor these two students. to sign up for sponsorship. Make sure to indicate the family number (FA-333) and what the donation is for.

If you wish to help Mayan Families provide the Quisquina Castro family with a care package that includes adult diapers and food costing a total of $505 please visit our website to make a donation.

Any amount, no matter how small, will contribute to this necessary package. Make sure you indicate the family’s number (FA-333) and what the donation is for.

Thank you in advance for your generosity, without which we would not be able to succeed.