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 17, 2012

Ramos Cumes Gonzalez

(A-8) Status: Sponsored for 1 year as of June 23, 2013!
Needs: water filter
UPDATE: September 12, 2012: Ramos received a new mattress!

UPDATE: September 12, 2013: Ramos was able to go see an opthalamologist for various evaluations to address his poor vision in both eyes. The doctor diagnosed Ramos  with an infection as well as an abnormal growth that is causing inflammation. Ramos also has very advanced cataracts but the doctor  does not recommend surgery because of his age and the risk that the surgery might not help and could even worsen his vision. The doctor recommended that Ramos wear sunglasses to protect his eyes from the sun, and also gave him some lubricating eye drops, as well as eye drops to address the infection. He also recommended that Ramos rinse his eyes each night with baby shampoo.

To donate one-time to his needs, click here.
For more stories and photos of the ancianos in the Feeding Program, please consider purchasing a book compiled of our participants. All profits go to the Elderly. You can preview the book here.  

Ramos sits on the curbside cradling his cane with one hand and holding out a small pan with his other. He looks at the street vacantly, as he cannot see well with his cataracts. He does not shake the pan with change in it, nor wear a sign stating his case. He sits alone, waiting, saying nothing and expecting little so that he might walk the long road up the mountain where he lives, where he might have something to eat that night.

Ramos, like many of the elderly here, walks on legs barely thicker than his bones. He walks a distance most would choose to drive, though the state of his body shouldn’t allow this. Many of our elderly, unable to work in their old age or with debilitated bodies-- without retirement funds, pensions or savings-- must resort to the least dignified of all professions when they are hungry: begging in the street. 

Where once Mayan elders were revered and cared for by their families and communities, today they must rely on the kindness of strangers to sustain themselves. Most of their families can barely provide for their own, and the elderly get pushed to the side, assumed to have lived out the need to be cared for. There is no work they can do, no nursing home where they might live to ensure that they’ll eat everyday, or have access to the medical attention they need, or have the assurance of a community that cares for them. 

As keepers of Mayan heritage, languages and history, the elders deserve more than a hot meal five days a week. They deserve the dignity and respect of those who have lived working to maintain Mayan identity through centuries of colonial and government order to repress it. Where no public program exists for them, Mayan Families Elderly Care program would like to continue providing food for those unable to work for it, or, often, walk for it.

Donations of any size provide food, medical care, or other necessities that cant be bought with dimes in a pan. Ramos is only one of many examples of a lifelong cycle of poverty in a country who turns a blind eye to those who built it.

If you would like to help in any way, visit www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow and write "Elderly Care-- (food, general etc.)'' in the comment box.

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