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

Oct 23, 2012

One story, a hundred faces

There is the kind of displacement that becomes a refugee: for example, a hurricane stripping a home of its inhabitants, or a war chasing out those will not fight. It is a word representing the forced movement of a thing from one place to another. It evokes violence, resistance, and destructive change.

With reference to a person, it is a forced exile from their home to somewhere unfamiliar. We say they have been uprooted, like the wind tears out a tree from the ground.

Then there is another kind of displacement, a change most of us only gradually notice but for others, happens as violent or unexpected as a storm: age. Instead of being a victim of the time and place of your country, a person becomes a victim of the vehicle he uses to live in the world.

Guatemalan indigenous, if they have lived long enough, experience both kinds. They have experienced the displacement of natural disaster and war, where winds or bullets had forced them to seek refuge in the mountains or elsewhere. As they age, they may also feel a body’s betrayal, as their means for work, transportation and staying out of debt begins to fail. They become displaced in becoming unfamiliar, even useless, to themselves. Where do we go? What can we do? Says a refugee, lost somewhere not his home.

Many elderly are accustomed to carting large bundles of wood, food or water on their backs and heads. Others work in fields plucking seeds or leaves with fingers that will not close around them. Most walk to where the water is, to where they can get food, to where there is fuel for their fire. What can they do when their body slows? The slightest health problem incurs a debt too large to repay, since it is their very bodies which must work to pay to repair them.

And sometimes, to rely on the family they’d raised is to rely on the support of disaster relief housing after a landslide: the relief is not built to last, as the families, like the houses, can barely support themselves.

The indigenous elderly's ailments are great and means are few. It is one story with a hundred—thousands of faces. 

We are asking you to help us feed just one. The upcoming photos and bios will feature one human being displaced by time— a body become foreign in a familiar context--as one face in a world of faces.

We aim to provide nearly 80 people with one meal, once a day with a monthly sponsorship of $35. 

Please consider helping someone who does not have, nor will have, a way to help themselves. Visit www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow 

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