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 4, 2012

Jose Humberto Alonzo & Celestina Simion

(A-59 Jose) Status: Sponsored as of February 15, 2013!
(A-53 Celestina) Status: Sponsored
Needs: food, medicine, chemotherapy, pila, bathroom, kitchen, stove repairs
UPDATE Dec 10, 2012: Celestina has received a bed, mattress and blanket!
UPDATE May 2013: Celestina has had her door repaired!
To help them, 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.  

Six of Celestina’s children pretend to have forgotten her, leaving her living in a room lucky to fit two whole bodies inside it, though it’s just her, a bed made of boards, and a television set which sits unused on a shelf.
Even if she had electricity, she would not understand the language of its programs, as none speak her native Kaqchiquel.
Her husband died last year; the two of them had shared the tiny space. 
One more son lives up the hill past the bathroom—two holes made in the ground with wooden boxes placed over them, in their own wooden box like a stable around them—past his own bathroom which is not even this: USAID tarps, given for temporary relief housing after natural disasters, wrap around boards laid atop a hole on the ground. They are wet from use. 
He wears a hat on his head to cover the consequence of his cancer, whose treatment his family is constantly seeking to pay for.
Every two months for the past three years he has gone to the City for treatment.
Because of his illness he does not work; his wife makes beaded jewelry to make ends meet. Most of the time, she doesn’t: she borrows from neighbors, friends, whomever—so they might have enough to buy her husband’s medicine this time, or have food on the table afterwards.
When borrowing fails, they either don’t eat or don’t buy the medicine.
Though by age Jose doesn’t qualify for the Feeding Program, his mother does, who asked that he be allowed to go because of his illness and his poverty.
Bent over and shoeless, though adorned as if to suggest to the world that being poor does not mean being poorly dressed, she goes to the kitchen.
A stove is curtained in more USAID tarps.
It’s about to fall, says Jose’s wife. Just like the chimney for the stove, which fell a few months ago.
I just want a bed, says Celestina. Or something else to keep out the cold—the door’s wood’s been rotting for a long time and all the wind gets in. 

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