Elderly Info

The food crisis in Guatemala is having a devastating effect on the elderly. Without enough to eat, many older people are becoming weak and malnourished, leaving them more vulnerable to illnesses that they cannot afford medical care for. They are unable to provide for even their most basic needs. In many cases, family members are unable to help as they struggle to feed themselves and their own children, leaving the elderly without any form of support and often living in heartbreaking conditions.

Please help us bring them the life-sustaining food and medical care that they so desperately need. General donations are used to ensure that we always have an adequate supply of food, medicine, and funds for meals, necessary medical treatment, and transportation. Monthly sponsorship would help feed one person, once a day for five days a week. Via blog and web album, we'll show you exactly where your aid is going and help you get to know the men and women whose lives you are changing.

If you would like to sponsor an elderly person for $35 a month, please click here and write "monthly sponsorship'' in the Other box. To make a one-time donation for medicine, rent, or other costs, please click here and enter "Elderly Care Program" in the Other box. Any questions can be directed to Amy at amy@mayanfamilies.org

Media on Mayan Families Elderly

Ancianos : Megan Gette + photos by Rob Bain, Nisa East, Rhett Hammerton and Hiroko Tanaka

Mayan Families- Ancianos Stories : Nisa East

Mayan Families Elderly Feeding Care Program : Rhett Hammerton

Facing Hunger: Elderly in Rural Guatemala

Dec 8, 2010

Manuel Miguel and Maximiliana

Manuel receiving his new mattress!
Update May 6th
Thanks so much to generous donations, Manuel got a brand new mattress for his bed. He is so grateful!!
Thank you to those who made this possible.

Update Feb 18th 2011--Manuel Needs a Mattress!
Manuel's bug-ridden mattress

Manuel's thin cotton mattress is dirty and flattened with years of use, and we found out this week that it is infested with fleas or bedbugs.  We can get Manuel a new mattress for just $45.  If you would like to help make Manuel's nights more comfortable, please go to Donate Now, and enter the amount of your donation in the "Other" box, with "A25 mattress" in the description.  Thank you!

Update Feb 14th 2011 
We distributed vitamins to Manuel, Miguel and Maximiliana today and we asked them how they are and if they are in need of anything. They are very grateful to be receiving the Mayan Families lunch everyday. Although Miguel has been bedbound since an accident at work years ago, he is continuing to do his exercises from bed - to ensure he doesn't get bed sores or suffer too much muscle deterioration. This same accident resulted in brain damage as well leaving him unable to walk. He has since been unable to form sentences, but he is always delighted to see us. Manuel has been doing much better with his health concerns, but we are keeping an eye on him and his niece is always attentive to his medical and health needs. If you would like to make a donation to Manuel, Miguel and Maximiliana to ensure we can continue bringing them lunches and provide for their medicines please go to the donate now page, scroll down to the other box and enter A24 for Miguel, A25 for Manuel, and/or A26 for Maximiliana. Thank you for your support.

* December 9, 2010 Update *

We have received $100 for Manuel's initial examinations and medications.

We're now awaiting some lab results to find out what the next steps should be and will be sure to keep you posted! Thank you so much for your support.


Manuel on December 8th
We have just been informed that Manuel Parajon, one of our Elderly Care Program members, is suffering from a very badly inflamed prostate. He has been using a catheter for two years, and it has recently been filling up with blood. The family rushed him to the public health clinic, where doctors recommended ultrasound examinations and lab tests as soon as possible in order to determine the source of the problem and whether Manuel needs an operation.

Manuel is a very sweet 78 year old man. He lives with his sister Maximiliana and his brother Miguel, who are both also in our Elderly Care Program. Manuel was born with a mental disorder (we are not told what) and cannot speak, but he always communicates such joy with huge (ear to ear!) grins and laughter. He loves Mayan Families visits, and his reaction when we come at lunchtime always brings us and his family to smiles, and often to laughs. For the past 40 years Manuel has been living with Maximiliana. He was never married and does not have children; Maximiliana, Manuel, and Maximiliana’s children are his closest family. Maximiliana’s 38-year-old daughter, Pati, also takes care of Manuel and Miguel, especially now that Maximiliana is finding herself with less energy than in her younger years.
Manuel just last week, receiving a donation of towels, soap, and a blanket. There is an obvious, dramatic difference between him then and now (see the first photo).

Manuel started having prostate problems two years ago. He has been using a catheter since then. He used to take medicine, but since Pati got very sick 4 months ago with major hernia, the family hasn’t been able to afford it for him.

The past few days have been the first that we have seen Manuel not smiling. He urgently needs medical attention, but Pati’s illness has drained the family of their resources and they simply cannot pay for it—In this family of 15, there are 11 dependents, including 8 children and 2 very unwell adults, and only 3 adults earning very low and very inconsistent wages (about $20/month each). Please help Manuel get examined and treated as soon as possible. We estimate that $100 will cover preliminary examinations and temporary medications to ensure that Manuel remains stable until further treatment, and we'll update the blog as soon as we have more exact cost information. To make a donation, please click here and enter “Elderly Care, Manuel Parajon” in the Other box. We will be sure to keep you updated on his condition. Thank you so much for your time and support.

Miguel on November 9th, receiving some clothes donations, and very excited about it!

Dec 6, 2010

Josefa Quechi - Sponsored

Feb 2011
Josefa receiving some of her donations
December 8, 2010 - Josefa Quechi is 83 years old and lives with her 56-year-old daughter and primary caretaker, Juacina. Josefa and her husband bought the house that she still lives in 35 years ago—5 years before her husband passed away. Since then Josefa and Juacina, who was never married, have been living together.
Josefa receiving diaper donations
Josefa broke her leg in Dec 2009 and has since then been confined to her bed and a bedside chair because she can no longer walk. Josefa has 6 children (3 sons and 3 daughters) and 13 grandchildren—She had 14 grandchildren but one passed away. All but one son live in the same town, Panajachel, but because Josefa’s children are struggling with their own families' needs, Josefa relies on her sponsorship, the lunches we bring her, and Juacina's care. Except for the occasional sale of homemade popsicles, Juacina hasn’t been working for 8 years because her mother eventually needed fulltime support and because good work is very hard to come by. Juacina and Josefa’s diets mainly consist of beans, onions, and tortillas (now in addition to Josefa’s daily Mayan Families lunch). Fortunately they do not have to pay rent, so Juacina’s main expenses are the electricity and food. Josefa has been using diapers since she became bedridden, and she takes two types of pain and anti-inflammatory medicines to help deal with her slow recovery.
Josefa and her daughter, Juacina, in the
bedroom that they share

Josefa is deeply religious, and one of her sons is a pastor. She was very enthusiastic when we had a pastor from Indiana visit our elderly clients (in November 2010). They prayed and cried together for a long time. Josefa tends to well up when she talks about faith and her condition, but she normally greets us with a wonderful smile and lots of energy, as well as hugs and kisses!

Thanks to wonderful support from donors, Josefa has enough support to cover the cost of her diapers and pain medicines. Whatever is leftover from the monthly donation Josefa receives (after the cost of Josefa's medical needs is deducted) is used to buy food for the family. This is a tremendous help for the family, and one that Josefa would suffer without. Josefa and Mayan Families send deepest thanks to her sponsors.
If you are coming to Guatemala and would like to bring something for Josefa, we know that she would love Spanish-language Christian gifts. Thank you so much!

Dec 2, 2010

Domingo needs to see a doctor

Domingo Lopez Ahu is in his 80s, and his health has been deteriorating for some time.  The last time he saw a doctor, at the public hospital in Sololá, doctors told him that he had only one functioning kidney, and that his prostate required surgery, but he was not strong enough to have the operation.  They sent him home without medication.  That was two years ago.  Today, he is mostly bedridden, and he suffers from fainting spells if he gets up.  He has had no medical treatment at all since, and suffers from pain without the help of any medication. 

We heard about Domingo’s condition through his grandson, Marco, who came to Mayan Families because of another medical emergency—his wife had been the victim of malpractice.  Sadly, though we were able to ensure that she had quality care, Marco’s wife passed away.  This tragedy came just 6 months after the untimely death of Marco’s younger brother.  This has been a disastrous year for Domingo’s family, many of whom live together in the same home as Domingo.  Medical bills have left Marco over 50,000 Quetzales in debt, and put a heavy strain on the family’s finances.  They don’t have the money to take Domingo to a doctor.  The family knows that there isn’t much they can do, but it hurts them to see him in pain, and they would like to get Domingo some type of pain medication to make him more comfortable. 

Because of Domingo’s age and existing health problems, it will require a visit to the doctor to determine what medication is appropriate.  We need just $45 to send Don Domingo to a trustworthy doctor who can help his family determine how best to care for him.

To help Domingo’s family take him to the doctor, go to Donate Now, and enter your donation in the "Other" box.  Under "Description," write "FA72 medical."  Thank you!

Nov 29, 2010

Another Successful Supplies Distribution!

Lencha Bocel and her great granddaughter

November 25, 2010 - We just had another successful distribution of supplies to our members and their families. This time we included shoes, soap, skin moisturizers (especially important for the bedridden), sheets, towels, and more blankets and sweaters.

The supplies that we distribute are based on the needs that we observe. Through our daily visits of our elderly members, we are also able to check up on and help their families. 

For example, through our lunch runs we found out that Jose David, the handicapped grandson of Fransisca Chuiqirin, wasn't getting any assistance. Now, with the help of Mayan Families, he is getting physical therapy twice a week. Also, when we found out that elderly member Maria Sequec's grandchildren didn't have shoes or enough clothes, we got them all some.

For more photos of the event, click here!

Maria Sequec's family receiving clothing, shoes, and blankets.

Nov 22, 2010

Maria Germana and Her Son, Victor

Maria locking up her house. Clothes that her
daughter, Maria, washed are hanging outside.
Maria Germana is a 77-year-old mother of 7 (5 sons and 2 daughters). Maria is very friendly and affectionate--without exception greeting Mayan Families staff with hugs and kisses, and occasionally inviting us to some fresh lemonade as well! Since being widowed, she has lived with one son, as well as his wife and three children, in a small, partitioned house. In the other partition live Maria's daughter, Marta, and 3 grandchildren

The quarters are cramped, but the family is glad to be staying together in this government-subsidized housing. Maria spends most of her time at home, helping her daughter Marta with the housework and enjoying the company of her grandchildren, but she also goes out everyday.
Victor and Maria; (Maria had just been crying after they recounted
to us Victor's story).
One place that Maria goes to everyday is the home of Victor Hernandez, one of her sons. Victor, now 49, was blinded in a workplace accident when he was 24. It was a tragedy that touches them deeply to this day. Before the accident he was a great athlete and very social and popular. Unfortunately, since the accident Victor has not been able to live a normal life--He was never married and hardly ever finds work. Victor now relies on support from his mother, other family members, and friends. Victor's condition is a source of great sadness for Maria; Victor himself moves in and out of depression. Blindness and poverty in combination are especially trying on the spirit.

Victor is the youngest person in our "Elderly" Care Program. Although he doesn't quite fall into the target age group, we bring lunch, too, because otherwise he would go without. 

Another place that Maria often goes to (once a week) is the public health clinic so that she can get her blood pressure measured. Maria has high blood pressure, and although she attempts to take good care of herself, she often goes without the heart medicine she needs because her family cannot afford it. During the dangerous periods that Maria goes without blood pressure medication, Maria--who is usually all smiles--feels sick and weak. 

There are a few things that would greatly lighten the lives of Maria and Victor:

- Monthly sponsorship for Maria's blood pressure medicine (just $6.25 a month!)

- A new bed and mattress for Maria ($170); She has a very old and uncomfortable bed (especially unsuitable for an elderly person), and--although our members rarely complain or ask for anything--she has said that it pains her, especially given her worsening arthritis. In the photo on the right is Maria's bed. The metal frame, which does not fit the old spring mattress, can be felt as Maria tries to sleep (in a room shared by 6 people). 
- A new bed and mattress for Victor ($170). His bed--almost the only thing he owns--is also very old and uncomfortable.

- Literature in Spanish brail for Victor, or any other special resources for blind people. Victor has very little property--Anything would be welcome. In such poverty and without being able to see, Victor has so little to do, and that is a major reason for his fits of depression.
To make a monthly donation to help Maria with her blood pressure medication, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Maria Germana medicine" in the Other Program section. To make a one-time gift donation to Maria Germana or Victor Hernandez, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Maria Germana [details]" or "Elderly Care, Victor Hernandez [details]" in the Other section. (Please make sure to include their last names.) Thank you so much!

Maria next to her bed and in her bedroom, which she shares
with 5 other people (her son and his wife and 3 children)

Nov 19, 2010


Update March 14th 2011
Esther passed away on Sunday 13th March. We would like to thank her sponsor for making sure her final months were far more pleasant and allowed her to be far more cared for than she could have been without the support provided. We are so grateful that thanks to her sponsor  she was able to eat everyday, received medicine and medical care as needed and was able to pass away in as much comfort as possible. May she rest in peace

Update Feb 2011
Yesterday, along with her normal lunch, we gave Esther some vitamins and some more medication and checked in on her. She still has a lot of pain in her mouth, but at least she is receiving appropriate care and medication and the family who is now providing for her are looking after her attentively and we always see her in a comfortable looking sofa, rather than just her wheelchair, like in the other house she was living in.

Update Jan 2011
Thanks to generous donations from a sponsor Esther has been able to have another Dr consult and has a new supply of medication. She is now living with her son and his family and they are taking great care of her.

 *November 22, 2010 Update*

Ester had a great doctor's visit! She and the family are very excited to start her new medicines and exercises. We'll let you know how it goes! Also, we just got a tamale basket donation for Esther for the holidays! We're looking forward to bringing it to her and will be sure to post photos!

Esther and her daughter, Dora, at the Rancho
Grande Clinic before their appointment

Dr. Escobar, one of our most trusted doctors, examined Esther and gave her a prescription for a different pain medicine (not surprisingly, he said that the pain medicines that Esther had been taking were not good). Dr. Escobar also taught Esther and her family exercises that Esther can do to improve her general health and perhaps lift her spirits (exercises included sorting good beans from the bad with the kids--for dinner and hand exercise!). Aside from addressing her terrible pain, Dr. Escobar emphasized that Esther must be active. Both Esther and her daughter Dora were very excited about the visit, and Dora explained to the rest of the family all the exercises that Esther should be doing. We're hoping that the grandkids will help and that it can be made into a fun family activity! Esther's new pain medicine, Topamax (generic: Topiramato), costs $27.19 for a month supply (she is meant to take 25mg every night). This medicine is especially made to address neuropathy problems. Dr. Escobar wants to see Esther in a month, though, to make sure that the medicine is adequate, and so we are hoping to have the funds to take her back for this followup appointment around the 24th of December.

Thank you so much for your support. That alone has brought Esther and her family a lot of joy and hope. We are hoping for the best and will keep you posted on progress!

Esther with the cough medicine that Dr. Escobar also prescribed her. She has had a chronic cough. In addition to prescribing the cough medicine, Dr. Escobar taught Esther various exercises that she should do to increase circulation, improve lung and general health, and thus avoid such problems.

*November 20, 2010 Update* 
We just got a donation to get Esther quality medical attention. Thank you so much for your support.
Tomorrow morning we will be taking Esther to a private clinic for a thorough exam with one of our most trusted doctors. We are keeping our fingers crossed for better treatment for Esther's severe pain problems. We'll keep you posted on the results. Again, thank you!

Meet Esther

November 17, 2010 - It has been just over two weeks since we added Esther Velasquez Mota to our Elderly Care Program. Esther is a 78-year-old woman and was referred to us by community members who said she really needed help. She is a widow and lives with her daughter, grandson, and the grandson's wife and kids.

About one year ago, Esther fell, dislocated her hip, and fractured her leg and pelvis in three places. Since then she has been bound to her wheelchair and using diapers.

When we met her, Esther was crying in pain. Her family says that about 15 years ago Ester had a botched dental operation (a tooth removal) that damaged her nerves and left her with chronic pain. The poor woman is almost always in pain. When we arrived at her house the first time, the pain was so intense that she begged us for help. Ester takes pain medicine, but it is insufficient. The family cannot afford to get specialized medical attention for Esther to see if something better can be done about her pain. Please help us get her a proper check up in a private clinic to see if we can do something to alleviate her suffering. It would cost just $75 and could change her world tremendously. To make a donation, click here and enter "Elderly Care, Esther" in the Other section.

Esther with her granddaughter-in-law and
great-grandchildren. When we took these photos, Esther
was suffering a bad fit of pain.
Esther with her great grandson. On the day this
photo was taken, Esther's pain was more mild,
and so she got to better enjoy the company of
the children.

Nov 10, 2010

Distribution of Clothing Donations

One of our newest members, Manuel Parajon,
with his new t-shirts and socks--Very excited!

November 9, 2010 - Today we distributed clothing donations to our male ancianos! They were all very happy to receive some much needed shirts, sweaters, vests, underwear, and socks. Click here for more photos. Thank you all for your support!

Victor Archila with his new t-shirts, long
sleeve tees, and underwear. He also got a
warm comforter. 

Nov 9, 2010

Victor Broke His Leg! ... And His Bed

Update 11th Feb 2011
Receiving pain medication and vitamins
Victor is always happy and cheery when we deliver his lunch, and never at home. He likes to sit out and watch the world go by. He still walks with a walking stick, but he is doing quite well, and only sometimes is in pain from his injuries. Yesterday we gave him more vitamins and pain medication and he was so grateful.

*November 15, 2010 Update* 
Victor got his new bed and mattress! It was a surprise, and he was so thrilled! Victor sends warm thanks to his sponsor. 

For more photos, click here! Thank you so much for your support! This is such a great comfort for Victor.
*November 9, 2010 Update* 
We have gotten a donation to buy Victor a bed and mattress!
We'll be giving him this gift on Friday--He'll be thrilled (he was so thrilled just to get clothing donations)! Thank you so much for your support. We will be looking for other ways to improve Victor's living circumstances--The photos below can give you an idea of why. Stay tuned on how you can help.
Victor slowly walking towards the entrance
to his home (left). He has been supporting
himself with crutches.
November 1, 2010 - Poor Victor (for his full profile, check the bottom of this post) has broken his leg. He just lost his footing on the way to his home and fell the wrong way. He's gotten a cast and crutches and is receiving medical care, but his circumstances at home, which were difficult before, are now almost unbearable. His bed, made of wooden planks and straw--hard, lumpy, and uncomfortable to begin with--now has a big hole in the middle of it. You can see his room and bed in the photos below. 81-year-old Victor was in very good general health before all of this happened, but having a broken leg and trying to sleep on such a terrible bed is very trying on him. He hasn't asked us for a new bed (our elderly clients rarely ask for anything), but he has been requesting more and more pain medicine.

A close-up of Victor's bed. It is made of straw and wooden
planks. Lumpy and hard to begin with, the bed now has a
hole that makes it unhealthy and extremely uncomfortable.
Please help us get a new bed and mattress ($170) for Victor. It would greatly relieve his suffering and help his recovery. To make a donation, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Victor's bed" in the Other section. Thank you!

A view of Victor's bed and about half of his room. The floor
is dirt; there is no kitchen; and there are very large (one foot)
gaps in the walls, easily letting in wind and rain.

Meet Victor Archila

Victor is 81 years old, but he doesn’t know his birthday. His wife passed away years ago, leaving him completely alone since they did not have children. He lives by himself in a small one room home made from wooden planks.

Victor has a first grade education. He does his best to support himself working as a day laborer despite chronic leg pain, and he is able to earn about $6 on days he can find work. Unfortunately, he can usually only find work about once a week, and $6 a week is not enough to keep him fed, clothed, and healthy. A sponsorship or donations to help him pay for food, vitamins, pain medicine, clothing, and shoes could make all the difference for Victor.

Nov 7, 2010

Fransisca Chiquirin

Update December 17 2010
Francisca in her new room!
Thanks to very generous donations Francisca now has her own room and a brand new bed! This has not only provided more space for the rest of the family who have been a family of 9 crammed into one small room, but allows  Francisca healthier living conditions. As mentioned below Francisca was previously sleeping on the floor without a mattress, crammed in behind the door, and doing so with a broken leg. This new bed and room are making a world of difference to Francisca's quality of life.
Thank you to everyone who provided this wonderful and vital assistance.

*December 9, 2010 Update*

Fransisca has received her first package of incaparina. Also, she will be moving into her new room on the week of the 13th-- She and the family are very excited and send out many thanks to her sponsor!


*November 28, 2010 Update*
 Fransisca just got a donation for 12 months´rent for the room next door, 12 months of pain medicine, 5 months of incaparina (a fortified starch food), and a tamale basket for the holidays! Wow! Thank you so much to her generous donors! We will be sure to keep you updated and show you photos when she happily receives all of these wonderful gifts!


*November 26, 2010 Update*

Fransisca receiving vitamin supplement
donations. These have been critical to her
recovery (since she broke her leg). When she
returned from the hospital, we gave Fransisca
a can of Ensure, a powdered and enriched meal
substitute. Because we cannot pay for the
Ensure ($11 for a medium-sized can, $22 for
a large can), we have begun to just give
Fransisca multivitamin pills.
 We have been delighted to see Fransisca sleeping like a baby since she got her new bed donation! Unfortunately, though, Fransisca still very much needs monthly sponsorship to help pay for her food and medicine. She needs diapers and medication for the intense pain in her legs and hands, as well as for gastritis and malnutrition. She also needs incaparina, a fortified starch food that is one of the few things that she can stomach. Fransisca's pain medicines cost $16.50 a month, and her incaparina costs $5 for a one-week supply.

If possible, we would also like to rent for Fransisca the room next door. As it is now, she is sharing a small, cinderblock room with seven other family members, including her handicapped grandson, Jose David. There is so little space in the room that the family has to crawl over beds to get to the kids' area (see photos at the bottom of the blog post). Renting this room would cost just $16 a month and would allow Fransisca to get more proper rest and cleaner air.

The small room that is available for rent for Q125 (~$16). Now that there is a new bed in the Chiquirin's one bedroom home, the space (which is currently sleeping 8 people, including two handicapped persons) is especially cramped and stuffy. Renting out this room next door would be a big relief.
Up front: the room for rent. Behind it is the one bedroom home that the Chiquirin family is already renting. The extra space that this room would provide would essentially be an extension of their current small home.
To make a monthly contribution towards Fransisca's needs, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Fransisca" in the Other Program section. To make a one-time donation for Fransisca, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Fransisca" in the Other section. Thank you so much!
 *November 12, 2010 Update*
We just got a donation for a new bed for Fransisca!
Thank you so much for your support. Fransisca already has her bed, a luxury compared to what she had to deal with before. Because the Chiquirin family's room was too small to hold the bed, our carpenter, Carlos, cut it a bit shorter, and now it fits perfectly. 
Fransisca on her new bed-- Comfy!
From left: Fransisca (sleeping soundly), her great-granddaughter, and her grandson, Jose David, who is physically handicapped and looking for sponsorship so that he can continue his physical therapy sessions
For more photos, click here. Again, thank you so much for your support.

*November 11, 2010 Update*
Fransisca is back home, but immobile and desperately needs a bed.

Given the serious risk that would be involved (given Fransisca's age and weak condition), she and her family have decided not to undergo an operation to correct the fractures in her leg. She is on pain medicine and nutritional supplements that Mayan Families have provided. Fransisca will have to keep on the cast and stay in 'bed' for two months.

Staff at Mayan Families thought that Fransisca shared a bed with the rest of her family (there are 8 sharing the bedroom), but we discovered today that she sleeps on the floor. 

This is Fransisca's sleeping space, behind the
door. She sleeps on top of an old blanket on
the floor.
Fransisca with her great-granddaughter, who also shares
the room with Fransisca. With 8 people sharing the small
bedroom, it is very cramped and stuffy. 

The sleeping situation is terrible, especially now that Fransisca is confined to the space and cannot move. It is not just uncomfortable--It is dangerous. The doctors told us that in her condition Fransisca is liable to get sores on her back even on a normal bed. These sores can lead to infection that among the elderly here too often lead to death. Please help us get a bed for Fransisca. It would make a world of difference. We can (after removing some items from the room) fit a small bed in the room, and this would cost just $75. To make a donation, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Fransisca's bed" in the Other section.


* November 9, 2010 Update: Fransisca broke her leg and is being treated at the hospital in Solola.*

Paramedics rushed her to the hospital. Because of the road
damages, we had to take a paramedic boat to San Gorje and
and then over to Solola.
Fransisca was in a lot of pain, but they are giving her injections for that. She also got a cast put on her leg. The doctor said that Fransisca needs to stay at the hospital for at least a couple of days because she is in bad condition. He also said that Fransisca needs an operation on her leg. We are going to take her to a private clinic for a second opinion on the matter once she is in a condition to leave to hospital. We'll keep you posted.

Fransisca and Ventura, her daughter-in-law and primary caretaker, on the
ride to San Gorje. The paramedics escorted us on a private boat. 


Meet Fransisca Chiquirin

receiving adult diaper donations
Francisca is an affectionate 90-year-old woman with (as you can see) a wide, warm smile.  She can’t hear, so she communicates with her daughter-in-law Ventura, who is her primary caretaker, through sign language. Fransisca’s son Oseas, Ventura, three of their five children, two of their grandchildren, and Fransisca (for eight people total) share a small, damp room that holds only two beds and a tiny window. Oseas works as a construction worker as often as he can, but the demand for construction is severely affected by storms, and he often goes long periods of time without work due to the rain.  After tropical storm Agatha, Oseas could not get work for 5 months, leaving the family to subsist on the few quetzals that Ventura earned by selling tortillas.

Jose David, Ventura, Oseas, and a granddaughter 

One of the eight family members living in this small room is Jose David, Oseas and Ventura’s 13-year-old son. Jose David is severely disabled. He cannot walk and never went to school. But he is always smiling, making jokes, and delighting his parents. In these cramped quarters it is easy to see that this is a very loving family.

receiving gastritis medicine

Both Francisca and Jose David must use diapers, which can cost up to $2.50 a day—a heavy burden on a family with such unsteady income. Fransisca needs medication for the intense pain in her legs and hands, as well as for gastritis and malnutrition. She also needs incaparina, a fortified starch food that is one of the few things that she can stomach. Oseas uses every spare cent to buy the medicines and incaparina when he can, but very often Fransisca must go without. Your support can ensure that Fransisca has a consistent supply of the medicines and food that she desperately needs. Your support would also help relieve the Chiquirin family of the burdensome necessity to buy diapers, allowing them to use their resources to feed and provide for the education of their children and grandchildren.

To make a one-time donation for Fransisca, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Fransisca" in the Other section. To make a monthly contribution towards Fransisca's needs, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Fransisca" in the Other Program section. Thank you so much!

Nov 5, 2010

Pedro Gets His New Home!

Pedro on his new chair in his new room
Thanks to the help of so many people, Pedro moved into his new and fully furnished home this week. It was a huge surprise for Pedro--At first he didn't even believe it! And when Pedro understood that this really was all for him, his reaction was enough to bring the entire room to tears (3 Mayan Families staff members and volunteers were present, along with almost a dozen neighbors). Pedro was overwhelmed and more lit up than we've ever seen him. He thanked everyone effusively, laughed, cried, and prayed.

Surprise! Breaking the news to Pedro
From left: Pedro's new landlord, Pedro, Ronnie
(an Elderly Care Program volunteer)
Pedro's initial reactions

You already know what kind of a place Pedro had been living in--Almost anything would have been an improvement. But with your donations we got enough for a lovely home. Pedro now has a comfortable bed, blankets, pillow, table, chair, armoire, water filter, and a safe, warm place to live near the people he knows. As Mayan Families' director Sharon said, it is only a simple room, but to Pedro it is a palace.

Ronnie showing Pedro his new armoire

Pedro trying out his new bed

We want to express deepest thanks to everyone who has helped to make such an incredible difference in Pedro's life. It's is a beautiful example of the great things we can do--of how much we can better the world--when we combine our efforts.

Pedro took some time to pray,
thanking God for these gifts
Pedro and volunteer Ronnie

Click here for more photos of the event (we have a bunch).

We are still looking for sponsors and some urgent one-time gifts for our neediest members, whose stories are up on the blog. Please help us to create other success stories like Pedro's.

Again, on behalf of Pedro, thank you all so very much.