Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mayan Families

Sometimes it is very hard to give back to a country that has given us so much because we simply do not know what we could possibly do for the gift that we have been given. Our hearts will forever be in Guatemala and we will one day be back to visit our son's native land. But in the meantime, Greg and I wanted to do something for another family; one that is very much in need of both our love and support. So here I introduce you to Juan Jose and Maria Elena. They are two students that we are sponsoring and with our donations they are able to go to school. They are part of a group called Mayan Families. Please visit this site for more information. But what really is hard for me to swallow at times is how we complain about gas prices, property taxes, a possible recession, an unknown future, etc but chances are if you're reading this entry, you have a computer, a table, a chair, clean water - either tap or bottled, and most likely a roof over your head. Juan Jose and Maria Elena aren't so fortunate. It's simply a little bit of perspective to show you how much you really have. That has been such an eye opener for Greg and I.

Here's what we know about their family and how they live.

Maria Elena is 9yrs old. She is in 4th grade. Juan Jose is 15yrs old. He is in 5th grade. She lives in El Barranco, an agricultural village above Solola. Maria Elena wears traditional Mayan clothing. She lives with her mother, Juliana, 54yrs old. Her father died 9yrs ago of cancer. They were not able to afford medical care for him. She has two brothers and two sisters. They are Olga is 22yrs old. She is married. Juana is 21yrs old. She lives at home and is in 10th grade. She works part time in a photo copy store. This money she earns pays for her studies. She earns $20 US per week. Juan Jose is 15yrs old. He is in 5th grade. Jose is 13yrs old. He is in 1st grade.

The mother works weaving at home. She earns $8 US per week. She also has a small business selling chickens. When she sells her chickens she can make $8 US per day but this is the culmination of three months of work. Juan Jose works in the fields when there is work, or he sells chickens when they have them to sell. The reason that Juan is so old in 5th grade is that when the father died they had no money to put him in school. He had to be out of school working, quite often to raise money for the family. There also was no money to be able to put the other children into school.

They are living in a family home. It is not theirs but they are allowed to live there. The house is made of mud brick. The roof is tin sheeting and the floor is dirt. They have only one room and an outside kitchen. They have an onil stove. They do not have a water filter. They have a pila. They have two beds. They have two closets. They have tables and chairs. They do not have enough blankets for the bed. They have water connected and pay $4 US per year. They have electricity connected and pay $10 US per month.

Here are some pictures of their home:

Again, for more information, their site is

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow - that is a wonderful thing yall are doing, M. Really makes me think about what I should be grateful for...