FYI - to make a tax deductable payment for our sponsored families - please go to http://www.mayanfamilies.org - donate to the food and milk program. Please be SURE to note in the payment that the money should go to one of our sponsored students,
Our student numbers are:
Student # 592 MARCOS - Sponsored by The K family & friends
Student # 594 OSCAR - Sponsored by The K family & friends
Student # 605 RAFAEL - Sponsored by The Katter Family
A contribution of $65 will provide a month's supply of basic food items for an average size family.
A contribution of $125 will add poultry and meats to the basic one month supply.
I have seen first hand the amount of food given; and it is a very good amount of food... after visiting Mayan Families and seeing how the organization works, I can honestly say that Sharon is NOT in it for the money. She truly is in it to help others. Her house is fairly small, and she has taken homeless into her home - she has taken stray animals into her home to help save them (they are literally skin and bone when going into her program to begin with)... I feel confident that our families ARE getting what we have sent them.
We sponsored all three families to have food for a month when we went to see them. This was the week of May 10-17.
It would be great to read Daphnes blog in conjunction with mine. :)
It is just past noon, and hopefully we will have a day of rest. I am going to get into my Bible... as I have not really been able to do that as much as I wanted while I was here. We were busy pretty much from sun up to sun down. We go home tomorrow. I cannot wait to see my family. My husband is awesome, and I cannot wait to tell him about everything and to post photos for everyone.
However, we went down the the dock and relaxed... in awe of Lake Atilian. We took many photos of the valcanos. We met a boy, 13 years old... his name is Antonio. He was so sweet, we talked to each other pretty well, he knows a little English and we know a little Spanish. He told us next time we come to his villiage, he will take us up to the top of one of the valcanos. He said, it takes 3 hours. One hour to go up, one hour to go down and one hour to rest after. LOL
We took the 3 hour ride back to Guatemala City, not seeing how horrible we looked until we walked into the hotel. Daphne, Candace and I looked a mess. Dirty, stinky and we all needed showers. As soon as we checked in, we had showers and then ate real food.
Candance met a little girl who is 8 years old. Her name is Veronica... she lives with her mother. Her mother would beat her daughter whenever she would tell her mother she was hungry. They are so poor and could not afford food. Her daughter was literally starving. The mother is ¨not all there.¨ We do not think she is doing drugs, but lack of nutrition, most likely having worms and who knows what, she could not care for her daughter. The ladies in Panajachel do beautiful work, weaving and making jewlery. They just do not have people in the area to purchase their beautiful items. The mother of Veronica, cannot find work and they have been living down by the lake outside, because they had no money for rent or food.
Candance, paid 200Q for rent... which equals about 13.75 per 100Q.... meaning about 28-29 US dollars per month for rent and gave them food for a month.
We are in the process right now of figuring out how we can help the families long term, when they do not have people to buy items they make... because they have no one to sell to... as everyone in the city is hurting for money.
Get this, I bought a table runner for a friend, it cost about $20 US... the hotel we are staying at tonight in Guatemala City sells the same type of thing for $250 US. The people in the rural areas are basically being ripped off. How can we stop this?
I have lots to think about when we get home. Guatemala is not a one time trip for me, I want to go back and help many more people.
We were able to help so many, I could go on and on about the stories of the children... sitting outside of restaurants crying because their tummies are hungry and they have no money for food. They are basically skin and bone.
Hunter gave his sunglasses to one of the little boys on the street, he was so happy... he skipped away as fast as he could with the biggest smile on his face.
It saddens me to see the wealth that goes in and out of Guatemala City, when only 3 hours away is so poor, people are dying because they lack food or very simple medications.
Remember the market I told you about yesterday? Well, here is a story of something that happend today at the same market...
A peaceful market where people are just trying to make a living.
Three gang members come in to the market, demanding money from a vendor at the market.
The market vendors do not want to put up with this.
All of the members in the market decide to do something about three gang members.
The vendors strip one of the gang members down to his under pants... and beat him.
The other gang member is taken to the middle of the market and torched.
This is a true story and happend just yesterday.
This my friends, is how they keep gang violence to a minimum.
Last night we did not sleep well at all. The hussle and bussel on the road in front of us did not stop until wee hours of the night. Finally after midnight I think I fell asleep. My son and I did get into bed around 9pm, after sitting in the lobby in wooden rocking chairs. We were able to talk to each other for about an hour, we had great conversation.
Oscar, Rafael and Marcos all get along great with my son. Soccer is truly a universal language, I have seen it first hand myself.
At 8am, Mayan Families picked us up at our Hotel. We stopped along the way to pick up bread and juice to hand out at the El Tablon School. We went to a market where ¨gringos¨were not the norm. The market smelled strongly of fish and chickens. There were many markets, with Guatemalans selling jewlery, fruit, clothing, food and more. The market is located on the side of a very large Catholic church. We went up to the church gate, and observed two old women, most likely homeless... along with a stray dog eatting garbage.
The driver to the van we were taking to El Tablon School picked up bread while we walked and took photos.
We met back at the van, and headed to the school. Upon arriving to the school, children ran to the van to greet us. They were very happy and jumping with joy.
We delievered many books (thanks to Daphne), orange juice and bread. The school has about 85 children in it. Each child came through and gave us a hug and said thank you. I told every child I hugged, ¨Jesus loves you.¨
I took many photos and my son video taped.
After visiting El Tablon School, we went to see Marcos and his family. This in itself to me was an incredible journey. Marcos and his family live just about in the middle of no where. They live up a mountain, that is VERY steep. The path is narrow. It was very hot, and we should have brought more bottled water with us.
Upon arriving to Marcos house, we were out of breath. Marcos mother wiped down an old plastic chair for me to sit on. I was not worried about making my clothes dirty, as they already were... I dont know if I have ever been as dirty as I am at this second. As I type, I smell. LOL. I smell like children who have not bathed in clean water, I smell like chickens, dirt and sweat.
Marcos house is simple. They do need a cement floor. This will help the home from feeling so damp. The cost to put in a cement floor will be between 300 and $400. This will be my next fundraiser when I get home.
I think I might have mentioned in my blog, we bought food for all three families, the food will last about a month. This will help very much so.
Today I found out an amazing thing, all three of the families we sponsor are in fact Christians.
Rafaels mother and I ended up crying together today. She spoke to me today for about five minutes and I understood every word she said. We did learn something about Rafaels father. He is not dead. He suddenly has resurrected. Okay, maybe not... but here is what happend. Rafaels father left the family, he has a severe drinking problem. Rafaels mother told Mayan Families he was dead so that the family could receive help. At this time, I do not think it is wise to purchase beds or anything else for Rafaels family, as I am afraid his father will sell it so he can fund his drinking habit. Rafaels mother is trying to leave the father.
Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
I have numerous photos to share with you all upon returning back home.
We are in for the night, it´s a new day tomorrow and we have much more to do.
I forgot to tell you about the one ¨boy¨who was not pleasent. Someone on the street wanted us to buy a piece of jewlery. Saying no, he was not happy. He said he did not eat all day long, breakfast lunch or dinner and he needed to eat... however, someone on the street had already warned us about this teenage boy, I guess he is not very happy and will not leave you alone until you buy something. We did not give in, we did not buy anything and he did leave us alone after we ignored him... that´s all.
This is something not uncommon here, every where you turn there are people who have not had a good meal in days, sometimes longer than that.
However, I will say... everyone else has been very kind. Very compassionate... every wonderful.
This morning started very early. We went to the Hyper Piaz in Guatemala City. We were able to buy our sponsored students soccer balls. We went back to the hotel to find a guard holding a double barrel shot gun. He had a shirt that said Wakenhut on it. I am not sure if he actually worked for that company or not. He had a bullet proof vest on the outside of his shirt.
We quickly went to our rooms, packed up and the shuttle arrived at our hotel at 10am. We loaded the shuttle up, and the three hour ride began. We stopped for gas one time.
Guatemala is a very poor country. It is dirty, and filled with smog... yet, I have met the most beautiful culture ever. Everyone thus far has been very loving and kind... except for one I will tell you about later in the blog.
As we drove up to Mayan Families... there was a large block wall with a door in it. I was not sure what to expect. As we rang the door bell, a couple of young boys answered the door and many dogs. 21 to be exact.
We were able to meet Sharon, who has been wonderful... as well as a few other who worked for Mayan Families. They served us a delicious lunch of rice, beans, plantations, chicken, and other Guatemalan food. So far, we have not been sick...
Soon after eatting, Oscar and his family arrived. Hunter was loving every second. Oscar and Hunter played Soccer for quite a long time... Hunter gave Oscar his soccer ball right away. We also gave the family blankets and clothing Candy sent. I am POSITIVE these items will be used and very much appreciated.
Next, Marcos... his mother and his brother arrived. I was so surprised to meet them... as I did not think I would be meeting them until tomorrow. We will be going to their home tomorrow. Marcos arrived VERY happy to see us. It was like he knew exactly who we were. He ran up to me, and gave me a hug... he was jumping because he was so excited.
Mayan Families is not a Christian Organization... they did not tell Maros and his family we were Christians. The first words out of his mothers mouth were, ¨Christ sent you to us... thank you, thank you, thank you. Christ is wonderful.¨
At that point, I began to tear up, but nothing major. lol... I tried not to be a baby.
For those of you who know me, from the beginning... God laid it on my heart that I meet Marcos and his family. We found out they are Christians... they know Jesus Christ. We could even see it in their eyes.
I still have yet to learn exactly why it´s so important to be placed with his family and getting to know his family... but it is important. Not only do I know it, but Marcos´mother. I am amazed those were the first words out of her mouth! I cannot wait to go see Marcos and his family again tomorrow.
Marcos brother Carlos was AMAZED by the crayons we had. I asked him to draw a picture for me... I handed him the crayons and paper. He did not know what the crayons were. He kept asking for a pencil... we had to show him what to do with the crayons. Once we did so, he colored two beautiful pictures for us. A bright yellow house and two children playing soccer.
Marcos drew me flowers... I drew him a funny picture of myself... with a heart and I wrote my name.
After leaving Sharons (where both of our families were to meet us) we went to our hotel. Immediately after arriving at our hotel, we had all sorts of venders trying to sell us things. I did not plan on buying anything.
We took our things to our room... then, we went to have dinner across the street from the hotel. While we were trying to eat a little boy sat outside the restaurant crying. Candace (I will tell you all about her when I can, we met her 3 days before our trip, and she came with us to Guatemala, she speaks Spanish fluently)... and I went outside to ask him what was wrong. His mother did not sell anything today. I bought a little magnet his mother made, it was only $1 however, I gave him $3. To top it off, Daphne had been hauling around sneakers with her from the states... this little boy fit the sneakers, she gave them to him. He went running home as fast as he could in his new sneakers... he was SO happy.
Candace was able to witness to the little boy, he already knew who Jesus was... and we let him know that God had our paths cross.
It is almost 8pm. I am VERY tired... as is Hunter. We do not have phone service, I cannot call out... I miss my husband and daughter and will call home as soon as possible... but, that may not be until Thursday or Friday.
The area we are in is VERY poor. The internet is very slow. I will update the blog when I can. I am surprised our hotel has internet. It is very rual here. Our room does not even have a fan. I think we have 3 small lights in the room. No soap, or anything special... yet, the staff is friendly and the hotel is very clean (had to throw that in incase you are reading mom. lol)
Over and out for tonight... God Bless.
Here we are at the hotel in Guatemala City. My experience so far has been incredible. It´s been very busy... last night I slept very well. Our luggage was very heavy. When we arrived at the airport in Guatemala City, the airport was not very busy at all... so that was very good!
I am using a computer that is a bit different to use than the type of the computers in the United States. It may take a while to get used to using the keyboard. When I try to make a happy face, here is what happens... Ñ)
So, that is a little fun. lol.
Tomorrow we head to the mountains. We will be meeting our sponsored children on Tuesday. I cannot wait to meet them!
We ate at the hotel this morning. The food was different, but good. They offered black beans, french toast, regular toast and jam. They also had fruit. They offered coffee, orange juice or warm milk. I took the coffee... Hunter stuck with his bottled water.
I will write when I can.
Over and out... please keep us in your prayers that our trip will continue to go smoothly.
This morning, I was able to sleep in a little bit. Normally, I wake up around 6am with my husband. Today, we woke up around 7:45am. I had a decent nights sleep, however - sleeping away from home is never "as comfortable" as actually being home.
Right now, I am reporting from the USO club; as we are in our lay over time. I thought now would be a good time to report - as I do not know when I will actually have another time to hop onto a computer.
This evening, we will be in Guatemala. Our plans our to meet up with a family that Daphne knows of. They will be meeting us at the hotel in Guatemala... I plan on going to sleep at a decent time tonight!
My son was so funny on the airplane... I guess he does not remember riding in an airplane before. He asked questions like, "do airplanes always make that noise?"
Or, "what if the engines stop on the plane... does the plane just fall out of the sky, or can we at least glide?"
Then, before I could answer - he said, "oh yeah... never mind about my questions - God wanted us to go - we will be fine." :)
I will write when I can... we are very excited about our trip!
Today - Daphne, the children and I left for the hotel near the airport. We had to drive quite a ways (about three hours). While we were on our way, we drove by a little homemade ice cream stand. The children tried homemade peach ice cream. They really enjoyed it.
My son did not eat ice cream, as he had a snack in the van... however, he had fun feeding Daphnes children.
After checking in to the hotel, we went to find a restaurant. That did not pan out, as we discovered we were pretty much in the middle of "no where land." We ended up driving back to the hotel and eatting there. The food was good. I had a salad and Hunter had a large chicken sandwich.
After dinner, we went to the airport to check in early. The airport was pretty much empty, and we had no waiting in line. I am glad we went this evening.
It is almost 9:30pm. It's time to hit the hay. :)
A big thank you to a wonderful friend of ours... no posting names (as she has asked in the past) - but I do want you all to know that a very special friend of ours has given us $300. She said, "it's either a late birthday gift, or an early Christmas present..." I couldn't help but giggle. :)
I was so surprised & shocked yesterday, as that's when the card came in the mail.
Thank you SO much! :)
Well, it's official. We are packed and ready for our trip. My van is filled to the brim with items such as t-shirts, sweat shirts, denim shirts, blankets, books...
Daphne has collected so many books - her bags are VERY heavy. What a challenge it will be for us to lug those bags around, but I know it will be worth it! Her big bags are pushed to the weight limit of 49 lbs. Bags can weigh no more than 50 lbs.
My bags are not as heavy - as clothing/blankets do not weigh as much as the books... but, the bags are stuffed! I even used the bags that you suck out all of the air to make more room in your travel bags... what a great invention!
We leave very soon... I do not want to put exact dates on a public blog, but it is soon. :) I'm SO very excited!
I will be taking my little camcorder... hopefully upon return, I will be able to post a few video blogs! :)
I cannot wait to meet Oscar, Marcos and Rafael! What a wonderful experience this will be! I hope they fell the same way! :)