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

May 30, 2011

Mayan Families can now take Credit Card donations right over the phone!

Good news! Mayan Families can now take Credit Card donations right over the phone!
 And we can take recurring monthly donations this way also!
You may call in a donation to Mayan Families at anytime.
 If we do not answer please leave us a message with your name, telephone number and the best time and day to call you back.
Mayan Families accepts Visa, Master Card or American Express. Cash gifts entitle you to tax benefits in the year of your charitable gift.
If you wish to make a donation over the phone, please call Dwight Poage at 619-550-2608 for assistance.

May 17, 2011

Medical Emergency: Dolores Suffering Convulsions

Dolores is one of the newest additions to our Panajachel elderly care program--she was set to recieve her first meals this week, but unfortunately she hasn't been home to get them, because she has been in the hospital.  Dolores, who is diabetic, was sick last week with what seemed like the flu.  Her daugher, Isabel, brought her to the doctor, who gave her a syrup that he said should make her feel better.  Unfortunately, however, the syrup was sugary, and after two days, Dolores began convulsing, possibly because of high blood sugar.  Isabel rushed her mother to the hospital, where they did little more than give her IV fluids.  After two days in the hospital, with the convulsions continuing, Isabel did not feel that they were caring for her mother, so she broght her home.  Right now, Dolores is in her single room in Pana, and she is suffering from convulsions about every five minutes.  The convulsions themselves last several minutes, and Dolores is spending almost as much time shaking as not.  In between bouts, though, her mind is clear and she is able to speak. 

Dolores clearly needs more attention than the doctors in the public hospital were willing to give her, but Isabel can't afford to take her to a private clinic.  It will cost about $75 to get Dolores to a private doctor and begin treatment.  If you would like to help her get the care that she needs, please go to Donate Now, and enter your donation in the "Other" box.  In the "Details," write "A70 Medical".  Thank you!

Dolores lives in Panajachel with her husband, who also suffers from medical problems.  They live in a single room next to Isabel and her children (ages 22, 20 and 17).  Isabel and her siblings all chip in to pay the modest rent for their parents' room, but even that is a stretch.  Isabel's two sons, Antonio and Alberto, are studying, but both work taking gravel out of the river--a very difficult job, with low and uncertain pay--in order to support the family.  Her daughter Josefina, 17, is studying full time (Antonio and Josefina have scholarships through another organization).  Isabel does what she can to care for her parents, but with the rainy season coming, it is likely that the boys won't be able to mine gravel for a few months, leaving the family without an income.  Any help that you can give them as they try to care for Dolores would be very much appreciated.

May 13, 2011

Maria Vincenta

Maria Vincenta in her house
Maria Vincenta lives in the village of San Jorge with her daughter and grandson. She is fortunate enough to own her own house but she does not have electricity or running water. She has an onil stove, although she only has an outdoor kitchen to use it in. She has lived for many years with blindness, but she has never known what caused it. Her eyes still get very watery whenever she goes out into the sunshine. She has been unable to work since losing her sight and always needs to be led around by someone if she leaves the house. She is very fortunate to have caring family members who are happy to do this when they can, but she does find it very hard to walk as she is very frail and often feels too weak to do much.
Maria is very fortunate to have a caring and supportive family, however they all struggle greatly to be able to provide her with enough food, and they all often go without. If you would like to ensure Maria gets at least one nutritious meal a day at the San Jorge lunch centre it costs $40 a month. Please go to the donate monthly page and enter A62 in the other program box.
Thank you for your support.

May 10, 2011

Sad news of 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
Juan and Vicenta receiving their new mattress
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 Vicenta) or A35 (for Juan). Thank you for your kind assistance!

May 6, 2011


Santos Palas Buch is 57 years old, he lives with his daughter Candelaria, his son in law, and their three children; Jose Antonio, 10, Alex, 7, and Carlos, 5. His son-in-law is the breadwinner for the family and he works as a builders assistant whenever he can find work.
Santos has been blind since June 2010, no one really knows why he went blind. Simply he was fine, then one day his eyes started to itch, and gradually the itchiness became stronger and more frequent and then the itch turned into pain, and he finally went to a doctor. The doctor he consulted at the public hospital said that there was nothing that could be done, and Santos lost his sight in both eyes.
Santos is very fortunate and grateful that he has a caring family who look after him. His 7 year old grandson, Alex, lets Santos put his hand on his shoulder and leads him around from place to place whenever Santos leaves the house.
This family of 6 shares one bedroom and one small kitchen.  They have two beds, one of which Santos shares with Alex.
The family already have a stove and water filter.  Though they have very little, when we asked them what their needs are, they said they don't really need anything. We would like to make sure that Santos receives daily meals from the Mayan Families Elderly Feeding Program - both to ensure he gets at least one hot meal everyday, and to ensure the rest of the family can conserve what little food they can afford on one small, unstable, poorly paid wage. Sponsoring Santos to ensure he can receive daily hot meals with Mayan Families, and to provide him with daily vitamins would cost $60 monthly. If you would like to sponsor Santos for all or part of this amount please go to the donate monthly page and enter A68 in family name box.
Thank you so much for all your support!