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

Apr 15, 2011

Vicenta and Juan

Update May 9th 2011
Today we heard the very sad news that Juan passed away this afternoon, shortly after lunch time. No one was aware that he was unwell, and we believe he went peacefully. Thank you to those who contributed to making his last few days of life more comfortable. He was so grateful for the new mattress, and to be receiving daily hot nutritious food. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his wife and family in their time of grief.
We would greatly appreciate any donations toward the funeral, which is always a very costly event for Guatemalan families.

Update April 19th 2011
Thanks to generous donations, Vicenta and Juan are now getting a brand new mattress for their bed!! They will be so delighted when they find out! Thank you so much, this will improve their quality of life considerably. We are also happy to announce that their first month of medication has also been covered by the same generous donor.  Thank you for making this wonderful difference to Vicenta and Juan's life.

Original Post
Vicenta Chial is 93 years old, and her husband, Juan Ramos, is 87.  They live next to their grandchildren, who give them what they can for breakfast and dinner, to supplement the lunch they get from the program.

Vicenta and Juan outside their grandchildren's home.
Vicenta and Juan have a bed, but no mattress.  The lack of a mattress must be especially painful for this couple, since Juan has constant lower back pain, and Vicenta recently fell down, landing on her back.  She went to the doctor following the fall, but Juan is distrustful of doctors, and hasn't gone, despite pain in his back and feet.  He told us that he would like some over the counter pain medications, though, if we are able to provide them.

The bed, without a mattress, that Vicenta and Juan share.
Vicenta and Juan could most use a mattress, pain medicines, blankets, or a water filter.  If you would like to help them, please go to Donate Now, and enter your gift in the 'Other' box.  Enter A34 (for Vicenta) and A35 (for Juan) and the purpose of your donation ('mattress', 'meds', etc) in the 'Details' box.  It will cost $60 each to keep Vicenta and Juan eating a daily hot meal with Mayan Families, if you are able to assist with them with this  please go to the donate monthly page and enter A34 (for Vincenta) or A35 (for Juan). Thank you for your kind assistance!

Savina Bocel Palax

Savina Bocel Palax is 73 years old.  She lives in San Jorge, with her husband--sort of.  As Savina explained with a chuckle, she's separated from 81 year old Nicolas.  He sleeps in the only bedroom, while she sets up a small cot in the kitchen.  Each morning, she packs her few blankets and puts them in a bag, so they won't smell like smoke from the open fire.  

Savina and Nicolas have children, but they are all grown with families of their own to care for, and for the most part they can't provide their parents with any help.  One son occasionally brings his mother some beans, but this support isn't regular.  Savina's diet is inconsistent--some days she has food, and some days she doesn't.

Despite the hardships in her life, Savina is constantly smiling and laughing.  She was happy to have visitors as she showed us her small house, and she laughed as she explained why she keeps her blankets packed up during the day.

She is receiving a multi-vitamin each day at the feeding program, but she would like to try some pain medicine for the pain and swelling in her feet and knees, which at the moment keeps her from making tortillas.

If you would like to help Savina, either with support for pain medication or food, you can do so at Donate Now, by entering your donation in the 'Other' box, and putting A51 and the purpose of your donation ('food,' meds' etc.) in the 'Details'. To continue giving Savina a daily nutritious hot meal at the feeding centre, it will cost around $60 monthly. If you would like to provide a monthly donation for Savina please go to the donate monthly page and enter A51 Thank you!

Maria Luisa Coroxon

Update May 5th 2011
Maria receiving her new mattress and blanket
Thanks so much to kind donors Maria now has a brand new mattress and a nice thick woolen blanket to keep her warm. Thank you to those who made this possible!

Original Post
Maria in the doorway of her room.
Maria Luisa Coraxon is 89 years old and is entirely alone. She has no children to take care of her or provide any form of support. Because of the lack of family support the only food that Maria is able to eat is the lunch provided by Mayan families. She told us that she saves the tortillas from lunch and brings them home so that there is something to eat in the evenings for dinner. Maria rents a room for just 10 Q a month--essentially nothing--because the landlord knows that she has nowhere else to go.  Her tiny home consists of one room, and she has no electricity, no running water, no stove, and no water filter. The walls of her room are covered in a thick black soot from the open fire that is burning inside.

Maria suffers from chronic back pain, which is not helped by the fact that she sleeps on a wooden bed with no mattress.  Her aches can be alleviated with simple over the counter painkillers, but she cannot afford to buy them.

Apr 14, 2011

Juana and Rosaria

Rosaria recieving her new blanket
Update Dec 2012
They have a water filter and an Onil stove. Thank you!

Update 19 April
Thanks to very generous donations, Juana and Rosaria now both have a brand new thick blanket each to ward off the cold mountain air at night. Thank you for helping these two lovely ladies out!

Original Post
Juana Par, 75, and her daughter, Rosaria, 28, live alone in a house made of wooden boards.  They have no family to support them, and before being added to the Mayan Families elderly feeding program in San Jorge, they supported themselves on the $3.30 that Rosaria earns cleaning onions each week.

Juana, 75, and her daughter Rosaria
They cannot afford to buy firewood, so 75 year old Rosaria goes down the mountain to a wooded area to look for it herself, and then carries the heavy load on her back up the mountain to their home.  At home, they do not have a water filter, a fuel efficient stove, or a pila to wash clothes and dishes and store water for the frequent times when water is not available in their home.  Though they would greatly benefit from help to buy any of these things, what they would most like is blankets to help keep them warm during the cold mountain nights.

Juana at the center
If you would like to help provide some of the basic necessities that Juana and Rosaria are lacking, you can do so at Donate Now, by scrolling down to the "Other" box, and entering the amount of your donation.  Enter A65 and A67, along with the purpose of your donation (i.e. 'blankets,' 'filter,' 'stove,' etc).

Good blankets cost $20.
A fuel efficient Onil Stove, which would dramatically decrease their need for firewood--and therefore the amount that Juana has to carry--costs $160.
A water filter, with the filter cartridges which provide clean water for 1-2 years, costs $50.

Apr 5, 2011

Maria Felipa needs food

Maria Felipe with her newly donated bed

Maria Felipa Coros is 75 years old and lives in a house in the hills above San Jorge. She has lived alone since her husband died roughly 30 years ago, and she has no family to assist her. To say that her house is hard to get to would be an understatement. The trek up the long dirt path, which is interrupted frequently by rocks and roots, is difficult for a healthy person; for Maria, who has trouble seeing and cannot wear real shoes, the walk is downright treacherous.  Because her home does not have running water, she must often make the hike with a container full of water from the communal water source.

Mayan Families' generous donors have already provided Maria with a stove, bed and water filter, but because she cannot work and has no family support her, her stove is usually empty.  She rarely eats more than what is provided by Mayan Families--she usually saves one or two tortillas from lunch to serve as both dinner and the next day's breakfast. 

Maria's feet, which cause her so much pain that she can't
wear any shoes, save these plastic sandals.

To help make Maria's breakfasts and dinners more substantial, you can give a one time or a monthly food donation.  To make a one-time donation, go to Donate Now--enter your donation in the "Other" box, and enter "A30" in the details section. You can also set up an automatic monthly gift in order to give Maria the stability of a regular food donation.  To do so, go to Donate Monthly, and enter "A30" as the family name.