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 15, 2012

I: Juana Coroxon Ramos

(A-44) Status: Not Sponsored
Needs: food, medicine, mattress, water filter, table, chairs
UPDATE Dec 11, 2012: Juana needs medical care
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.  

Juana begins to cry. Her spouse, to whom she’s been married 55 years, is away trying to find work as a day-laborer, the work he’s done all his life. 

It is the work of a younger man. She had done it too. She says there were no buses, no trucks then. They walked for days to coffee farms that needed to be harvested. During a portion of the year they walked to the coast—a distance of 100-150 km, depending, as the crow flies—to work seasonally in the fields. They never went to school.

She was used to carrying heavy loads on her back or head.  Juana's toenails curl like snails embedded in her feet, which look wooden for how hard and dusty they are. Her arm does not leave from where it covers her face as she tells us how the light hurts to look at, and she does not move, since that hurts too.

Her daughter, who sits behind us on another bed, stays home to care for her mother. She talks through her like a ventriloquist, telling us of her mother’s pain: she hurts here and here, she explains as Juana combs her side.

The daughter is one of three remaining children. Three others had died as kids. Because their parents could not pay for a doctor, she says, they tried to cure sicknesses with herbs or other remedies. Sometimes it worked.

We can’t leave her alone, repeats the daughter. They have very little: the two mattressless beds, collections of photographs of family hanging on mud walls—light and air intruding where the ceiling doesn’t meet them—and a kitchen separated by tin sheets. 

The daughter is quick to dismiss the kitchen as being hers, as if the rubble of tortillas on the stove and its tenants of flies belong to no one. A bathroom exists somewhere, shared by others in the compound. There is no table, no chairs, no water filter. A large bowl of milled maize sits on the floor uncovered.

To help Juana and her daughter with these needs, please go to www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow

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