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 28, 2012

Vincenta Chiyal

(A-34) Status: Sponsored
Needs: food (beans, corn) vitamins, water filter, bed & mattress
Past stories about Vincenta and her late spouse, Juan, can be found here.
To help, click here. Write "A-34 and [needs]" in the Other box.
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.  

Update September 20, 2013: Vincenta is now sponsored for daily meals!! Thank You!!

Vincenta had Juan by some years, but her being older, nor their both being poor, didn't stop their marrying.
The couple slept together on a bed of cardboard over bedsprings and under ragged blankets, unfolding love from boxes they found in the street while their backs, over the years, began to bend.
They raised seven boys. When they became men they found women to marry and left the town where Vincenta and Juan had spent all their lives.
They got by on Juan's small salary he earned from working in the fields, spending the days when there was no work in either of the two rooms they shared: one for the bed, the other for prayer. In it was an altar adorned in wooden statues and vases filled with mountain flowers, one chair and some Christian portraits.
There were also stone figures that held cups once used for bloodletting, in ceremonies of rebirth and pleas for corn, but which had become effigies when the belief changed from Mayan gods to Catholic saints; the cups held candles and the figures stood for a new faith. There were bowls of ash from incense on the dirt floor and full bottles of soda for offering.
Saint Maximon, venerated in a painted doll, posed in the center with a cigar in his mouth.
Each evening candles were lit and flowers were brought to the room.
Living poor, the couple got used to their simplicity: they relied on the meals received from Mayan Families, the light they borrowed from neighboring grandchildren, and the kindness of strangers.
They were both used to waking in the mornings with back pain, which lasted till they went to sleep at night.
Then they received the gift of a mattress.
For two weeks they slept on something soft, and then Juan passed away suddenly, finally asleep.
Since his death, Vincenta has slept with her grandkids in a bed apart from the one she shared with her husband. She doesn't see well anymore, doesn't hear well and especially she cannot sleep anymore on the bed without her spouse, with or without a mattress.

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