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

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!

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