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 29, 2012

Juana Par & Rosaria Savin Par

(A-65, A-67) Status: Sponsored as of Dec 7, 2012!
Needs: a home, food, pila, beds, mattresses, chairs, table
UPDATE: Dec 7 2012: they now have a bed and mattress, and are both sponsored for 1 year!
UPDATE: April 23, 2013: Some sad news, as Juana A65 has passed away from complications from pneumonia. 
Previous story about Juana and Rosaria can be found here.
To help, please visit 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

Rosaria says the door to the other room is closed for a reason; she does not want anyone to know how she sleeps.

The daughter and her mother live alone, as Rosaria never married, and Juana had no more children.

Their house is in the same state as the abandoned silos of midwestern prairie, composed of dirt and rotting walls, where light illuminates the absence of abundance and no more harvests. Where the women live would not be good enough to store grain, but they sleep on this ground without even a petate, a straw mat. They use boards that fell off the side of their home.

There are three rooms, two of which have doors. They are closed by string.

Three child-sized chairs face each other in something like a living room. Some gifted amenities suggest improvements in lives which once had nothing but the walls, falling around them: a water filter, a fuel-efficient stove, some thick blankets.

The house floods when it rains, Rosaria says and puts her hand to her mouth as if unsure whether to smile or cry. Each weekend she and her mother climb the mountain to find firewood, carrying the loads on their back. They carry the water they drink from the community sink. From years of this routine, Juana's feet have grown wide and whorled as tree stumps with roots hooked into the ground. There are no shoes which fit her.

Rosaria, before her bones began to ache, took jobs rinsing onions: she passed the day up to her knees in water, under the sun. She made $3 a week. Now the work is too hard on her body. The women thread bracelets now, earning $1 more than before.

Someone comes to bring the food they receive from the comedor, the Mayan Families' dining room. They wash their plates in a plastic tub, since they have no nearby access to a pila, a large sink essential to Guatemalan life.

They wash and relieve themselves in an outhouse decaying like the ruins tourists come to see.

They live as we would suspect of ghosts, haunting a home unsuitable for the living. When we visit we speak carefully, whispering so as not to disturb them, nor let them know that we are horrified: at our fear of not having or fear of not helping enough.

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