April 24, 2013

Hello Everyone!

We have recently returned from our annual trek to Guatemala and so thought you might be interested to hear how things went! Thank you to all of you for your continued support whether it be through financial or other donations or just well wishes. All of it has been very much appreciated both by Mayan Families Canada and those we help.

Here is our crew from the 2013 trip with some of the families that you help us support. We had just given out food, corn and chickens.

We chose a much better time of year to visit. In March, the weather was beautiful, there was no rain and the Guatemalans were gearing up for a much-anticipated Easter week. We were lucky enough to see some of the celebrations which included beautiful floral carpets and any-time-of-day processions.

As with each year, the volunteers spent much of their time installing fuel-efficient stoves, handing out food, corn, chickens and donations, putting together Easter baskets, working in the preschools, handing out lunches in the Elderly Feeding program, providing a fluoride “brush-up” with young children, visiting our sponsored students and their families, checking on the progress of houses and buildings we are having constructed and, for the first time, installing solar-powered pop bottle lights. They worked hard each day and gathered each night to share their stories! Great moments were experienced by all. Here are a few of the highlights:

SOLAR POWERED POP BOTTLE LIGHTS

We have wanted to try these lights out for a few years and this year we had the chance! David Pawliuk organized some of the volunteers and Mayan Families workers to go out to a few homes where there is no electricity. They drilled a hole the size of a pop bottle in the corrugated metal roofing. A pop bottle that had been filled with water and bleach was then inserted into the hole and sealant was applied to keep it in place.

Here our volunteer, Ben, a student from Vancouver Island, helps a Mayan Families worker drill the hole through the roof.

Upwards of 55 watts of light could then shine into the dark home as the suns’ rays stream through the pop bottle and then are refracted inside the house. Although they can only work when the sun is out, they provide light for homes without electricity or for families who are unable to afford it.

The pop bottle light in action!

THE ELDERLY FEEDING PROGRAM

Similar to our “Meals on Wheels” program, we helped out with Mayan Families Guatemala’s “Elderly Feeding” program. This worthwhile program provides lunches for the elderly who may not have any other food that day. They come down to a central building for the meal and usually wait for all to arrive. Not only is it providing them with nutrition but it also provides a source of companionship. Many of the recipients are inside or alone in their homes all day long. If a recipient is unable to come for food, then the meals are brought up to them, usually by one of the orphans who will then be given food as well.

This program costs $35/month to provide 5 meals a week. Unfortunately, the program is very close to folding because of funding. If you would like to help out with this program, please CLICK HERE.

Lynne, a teacher from BC, serving two lovely ladies

SAN JORGE PRESCHOOL ADDITION

Thanks to a generous donation made by the Costuros family in memory of their sister, Georgina, Mayan Families Canada has been able to add a much-needed third story to the preschool in San Jorge. Prior to this addition, the children “worked” and played on the first floor and the hallway of the second floor. Along with allowing the children to have more space by building a third story, the donation has also enabled Mayan Families to employ preschool teachers and tutors to work in this building. This helps the children as well as providing much needed employment for the indigenous Mayans.

The third story is up at the top right hand side of the picture. Completion is expected in early May.

The excited preschoolers greet us with songs and smiles

OUR ANNUAL CHICKEN, FOOD, CORN & DONATED SUPPLIES HAND-OUT

Fundraising happens during the year in order to provide a week’s worth of food, 50 lbs. of corn and 3 egg-laying hens for each of our families. Our volunteers work extremely hard to get the food ready to be handed out and then enjoy the interactions they have with each family when they receive these gifts.

David, a volunteer from BC, along with Ben, prepares the carrots for each food hamper.

Maddy, a high school student from VancouverIsland, helping Walter with shoes. Donated supplies, like the shoes, were brought down to Guatemala in volunteer suitcases. Mayan Families Canada would like to acknowledge the assistance of Air Canada in bringing these donations down.

One of our students, Marlily, with her mother receiving a gift of a week’s worth of food.

FLUORIDE “BRUSH-UP”

Thanks to dentists like Dr. Abdurahman from Nanoose Bay Dental, these children were provided with a fluoride treatment and new toothbrushes.

Here, Crystal, a teacher from Vancouver Island, applies a fluoride treatment.

Thank you again for your ongoing support of Mayan Families Canada.

For further information about any of our projects please visit our website at:www.mayanfamiliescanada.org

Or email us at:

info@mayanfamiliescanada.org