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

Feb 15, 2013

Two men abandoned

Two men abandoned by their own families have come into the care of ours. 

Mayan Families and the help of two human rights workers located an elderly man living alone on a steep cliffside. We slid down its path to Pedro's home. There was a pit outside, where he cooks over an open fire, a faucet without a sink, and a wooden pallet where he presumably pees, though it reeked of urine in the house, and there were puddles near the bed. 

There is no electricity in the house nor candles. 

We brought our doctor, who examined him and found nothing seriously wrong with his health, despite his conditions.

Because Pedro could hardly hear, hardly see and spoke none of the three languages in our group, Pedro's neighbor told us, translating Quichee, that a local group had starting providing support for the old man. He now has a daily meal, at least, and a water filter. 

Unfortunately Pedro's story is not unique. 

Two days ago, a woman came to ask for help for a man she knew. He had no family of his own, but had spent the last eight years receiving care from her mother, who would give him food and let him sleep on their floor. Her mother died three years ago, and so her sister took him in-- and promptly threw him out into the street. "She's neurotic, she doesn't know what she's done," said the woman. 

"He was calling me from the street, 'Mari, Mari, help me please, I'm here in the street,' and he'd been there six months. Six months with the drunks, sleeping there. So now he's here with me, in my tiny house, and he doesn't sleep-- he's an insomniac-- he keeps me up at night with his breathing and his cough. And me, I'm an epileptic. I suffer convulsions and shake. I'm afraid of having an episode when he's around...I have two kids of my own, I don't work and my husband-- he doesn't make enough to feed us all. So what can we do? What can we do? This man, he's another mouth to feed."

What can we do? She said again with the surprise of someone who has thought to the end of her options and still comes short of a solution.

Mayan Families Feeding Program is still trying to find sponsors for the ancianos currently in the program, who suffer similar situations. We try to feed about 70 elderly once a day, who are otherwise unable to work and support themselves. These men are only two of a majority of indigenous Guatemalan elderly living in extreme poverty, abandoned by their families and struggling to survive.

 If you would like to support the Elderly Feeding Program, please make a donation to http://www.mayanfamilies.org/DonateNow. Write "Elderly Program" in the Other box. If you would like to sponsor an elderly person in our program, please scroll through the stories on the right-hand side of the page to see who is still in need of sponsorship. You can make a monthly donation here.Write A-# and the name of who you would like to sponsor. Thank you for your support as we try to feed those unable to feed themselves.


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