Mayan Families ~ Kind people doing amazing good deeds

December 4 ~ Guatemala

Mayan Family in traditional dress

A Mayan family in traditional dress

We fell in love with this country over 8 years ago when we traveled here for the first time. I have been showing you pictures of the colorful clothing, natural beauty, glorious flowers, intricate beadwork, an opulent wedding, and a few examples of the sites to be experienced here in our beloved Guatemala.

But this is only one side of the story. Sadly there is a huge contrast between the haves and the have-nots. 

Many of the indigenous Mayan people have suffered greatly over the past years. The 36-year long Civil War wiped out large numbers and greedy bureaucrats made land grabs cheating families out of their homes and property.

Many small villages have limited or no education available for their children, access to clean water may still require long walks where women carry heavy containers back to their home balanced on their heads, food quality and quantity (nutritional value) is sorely lacking and medical facilities and treatment either not available or not affordable.

The machismo culture where the father is head of the family often also means they are resistant to family planning, birth control or a vasectomy. Families are often too large with mothers giving birth year after year. Children are suffering from malnutrition.

Living conditions consist of small one room homes, dirt floors, walls made either of corn stalks covered in mud or cement blocks, with a corrugated tin roof. Having a bed and/or a stove is a luxury.

Children learn to sell wares from an early age and/or beg for handouts.

Stray dogs roam the streets, often abused or starving.

If uneducated, the average salary for an Indigenous Mayan may only be the equivalent of $4 USD per day!

Here are some pretty startling figures as provided by Cooperation for Education:

  • 75%: The illiteracy rate in many rural areas of Guatemala
  • Two-thirds: The proportion of Guatemalan children living in poverty
  • $4 a day: The average daily earnings of a rural, Guatemalan family
  • Nine out of ten: The proportion of schools in rural Guatemala that lack books
  • 60%:  The percentage of entry-level jobs in Guatemala that require computer skills
  • 79%: The percentage of Guatemalan middle and high-school students who lacked the opportunity to learn to use a computer prior to the start of their program
  • One out of ten: The proportion of rural Guatemalans who attend middle school
  • 1.8: The average number of years an indigenous Guatemalan woman stays in school

Is there a solution to help those most in need?

There is no one answer. One size does not fit all. There are however some incredible people here on the ground that have devoted years of their lives to helping those less fortunate. They are able to be respectful to the local culture, yet contribute to giving a hand up, not just a hand out.

Helping villagers with sustainable projects, building schools, bringing in water systems, nutritional information, medical clinics, vocational schools and training, and family planning are some of the goals.

I would like to introduce you to a non-profit group where I personally know the people involved. They are MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

Mayan Families

Mayan Families

MAYAN FAMILIES

Sharon is from Australia and her husband Dwight from the USA. Together they have built an organization that is hands on taking care of immediate needs. Sharon is a bundle of energy and somehow manages to juggle an endless number of balls in the air. When a family is desperate for help, they know that if they knock on her door, they will receive assistance.

Men, women and children of all ages can come here for assistance. Many are given training that allow them to get a better paying job.

Men, women and children of all ages can come here for assistance. Many are given training that allow them to get a better paying job.

They have a preschool program, dental and medical clinic, elder care program, carpentry shop, computer training, school scholarship program, orphan program, nutrition counseling as well as family planning help, just to name a few projects.

This young girl has brittle bone disease and is in a body cast

This young girl has brittle bone disease and is in a body cast. She was receiving a wheel chair.

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are looking for a gift idea. How about choosing one of these worthwhile projects and making a difference in the life of someone. There is such a variety of needs, that I am hoping at least one of these will touch a part of your heart. Make a donation in the name of a family member or loved one or a memorial donation to remember someone dear to your heart.

Just received nutritional supplements for her baby and was here to say thank you to her donor.

Just received nutritional supplements for her baby and was here to say thank you to her donor.

Here are some links for specific information on a variety of areas.

Are you interested in Education: Student sponsorship, preschool nutrition center, school development, tutoring program, Living on one project.

Family Aid: You can click here to see a list of those most in need. I love knowing who I am helping and what the donation is going for.

Beautiful and grateful smiles for the help they have been given today.

Beautiful and grateful smiles for the help they have been given today.

Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic: We met this young man a few years back and were so impressed by his love of life, positive “can do” attitude, and work ethic. After a horrific electrocution accident as a child, he underwent many years of difficult and painful medical treatments. Sadly he passed away this year from a seizure. It is our wish that his memory live on in the form of helping others.

The young man in the center has MS and was provided with a wheel chair.

The young man in the center has MS and was provided with a wheel chair.

Diabetes Program, and Elder Care

And of course Hope for the Animals. This program actively does spay and neuter clinics, vaccinations, education and rescue for injured animals.

When I visited Sharon the other day, she said her greatest focus at the moment is earning donations for Holiday Food Baskets. Over a few days the line goes down the block of families waiting to receive this wonderful and nutritious gift.

One of the programs that has touched my heart is the Children in Critical Need. I watched some of these beautiful children playing at Sharon’s compound. There were orphans, severely malnourished children, and the physically handicapped. These children have lost parents and/or their primary caregivers and often do not know where their next meal will come from, but this day they were simply young children playing and enjoying a fun afternoon.

The young boy in the brown shirt is badly malnourished. He is the size of a five year old, but is  TEN. He is part of the Critical needs program.

The young boy in the brown shirt is badly malnourished. He is the size of a five-year old, but is TEN. He is part of the Critical needs program.

Here is a link to their Quick Donations page with a list of a variety of different projects.

I especially like that on their web page they introduce you to individual children or adults with a specific problem or need. You can “adopt” someone and know that you are making a difference in THAT person’s life, not just making a donation to an unknown recipient.

There are two other groups that I want to introduce you to, but due to the length of this write-up, I will save them for a future post to give you more specific information about them. But until them if you want to take a quick peak, click on the links to check out Amigos de Santa Cruz run by Pat Torpie and Wings with Sue Patterson at the helm.

In addition to these outstanding groups, we also believe in the work being done by  Miracles in Action and The Ripple Effect.

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for wonderful friends who have opened their homes to provide us a comfortable bed and loving hospitality.

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P.S. If you know someone or a group that you think might be interested in learning more about these amazing groups, please share this post with them. We may not be able to help everyone, but together we can certainly help make a difference in a few people’s lives. Thank you most sincerely for helping spread the word. 

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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One Response to Mayan Families ~ Kind people doing amazing good deeds

  1. Gone Wild says:

    Thank-you for sharing this. Artsyberger.

    Like

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