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

Dec 14, 2012

Four years I'm like this

Maria Vincenta Xalcut Ramos
(A-37) Status: Sponsored
Needs: food, double mattress, blankets, water filter
To help Maria and her family with any of these needs, click here.
A video about the Feeding Program, featuring Maria.
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.  

"This is my problem, senora, I apologize, this is my problem. I am here, in this house.
Yes, for the moment I can’t make any money. I have desire still to do things, I could still work, I’m 62 years old, but I can’t go out alone. Yes, senora, this is my pain. I’m here in this house."

It is uncertain sometimes  if Maria is crying or if the tears are just the prolonged & unwanted consequence of her glaucoma, to which she'd lost her sight four years ago. 
Since then her daughter has been the sole breadwinner of the three who live in the house, though she hasn't left it in months; she cares for her teenage son and her mother. She'd married at 15, but shortly afterward her husband left her for another woman. She returned to her mother, who she says is also a widow. "We haven't heard from him since, so he is as good as dead to us." 
Maria's father passed away in February of this year, following the death of his wife two years ago and leaving a medical & funeral debt the family could not repay were it not for the donations they'd received.
He too had been in the Program, relying on the food he got once a day to sustain him in his one-room house whose ceiling and walls were well-blackened from the smoke that came from the fire made on the dirt floor.
The house where Maria, her daughter and grandson used to live was about to collapse: the adobe had rotted through to its bamboo supports and the ceiling was caving in. Mayan Families built them the wooden house where they live now. 
It is far from luxury, but far more posh than the former home. Chickens use the space as their own and weave in-between the legs of the table and three chairs that comprise their furniture, scratching in the dust of the floor. Two large hope chests full of clothes are piled on the two beds of the other room. They cook just outside the house, using a stove--also a donation--where the chickens roost.

"Ay, Dios, things are better than before: when I was a girl there were five, six of us cooking on the ground, sleeping on mats on the rocks. Really poor, really sad. When the town was tiny everyone went to the coast to harvest coffee. There was no bus, we walked or took a boat. Everyone left, everyone left to cut coffee. We didn't have money. We still don't have money--solo Dios, solo Dios-- only God, only God.

I can't make a cent, like this [blind]. Thank God my light, they gave me light, this year they put in my light." 

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