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His parents have a small shop on the dock selling tortillas.
He is a cheery and helpful boy who in his own words –wants to learn everything!
Please donate $20 a month for his school fees and books.
Monica had Menningitis a year ago which she nearly died from as it was undiagnosed. The bacterial infection left permanent damage to her muscles. She has trouble walking and little strength in her arms..
Her intelligence is not affected and she loves learning.
She is a kind little girl who overcomes being teased by other children
Please donate $20 a month for school fees and books.
She plies the streets of Panajachel barefooted in all weathers trying to sell a handicraft which she carries in a large bundle on her head. This has caused neck and back pain.
A widow with nine of her children dying in infancy and one drowning in her twenties in the lake. Her only son is a foot loom weaver. Julia is also malnourished.
Pedro Santos is 10 years old.
Pedro comes from a impoverished family.
He has too many teeth and had some extracted by a volunteer dental team.
More work is needed as he has difficulty chewing which is interfering with his diet.
Please donate $250 to get Pedro braces.
Sebastiana is 30 years old and has suffered for five years from poorly treated Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is in pain constantly and hobbles when she walks often wincing with pain. They buy cheap painkillers that do not work well and are destroying her kidneys. Sebastiana wishes to be able to look after her children and do simple things such as handwashing and making tortillas.
Please donate $25 a month to purchase the latest pain relieving medication.
Carlos is 15.
His father is a night watchman and he often sleeps in a truck with him at night.
Carlos mother died when he was 9 and his father looks after a large extended family.
Carlos loves learning and tries at any opportunity to say a few words in English.
Please donate $20 a month to pay for school fees and books.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mayah and Jeffro at Laguna Lodge for making a reality out of our longtime (but unfulfilled!) desire to help a family in need in Central or South America. We love this part of the world and struggle with the inequities in life between the standard of living we are all used to in the “first” western world countries and the day to day struggles most families endure in less fortunate countries, through no fault of their own. We are optimistic believers in education being the most effective long term way out of poverty and we knew that this is where we wanted to concentrate our efforts.We just didn’t know where to start! We did know that we didn’t feel contributing through a church or an organization with high administrative overheads would be a good fit for us. Instead. we wanted to meet and form a bond with a specific family and, most importantly, know that everything we contributed financially was going directly to help them in full.We were fortunate enough to meet and chat with Mayah and Jeffro during our stay at the Lodge and learn about all of the inspirational work they have done to help families in Santa Cruz and beyond. Whilst it can be a little overwhelming and quite upsetting when you realize how many children and families in this one area of the lake alone who would benefit from any help you can give them it just reinforced to us that we cannot change the world but we can try to change one child’s world.We explained what we wanted to do and asked for their help in finding a family who would benefit most from what we have to offer.We were humbled to meet the Alvares Santos family in their home in Santa Cruz – they have 3 wonderful, happy children between the ages of 8 and 16 and a new baby boy. Whilst I speak a little spanish we relied on Mayah and Jeffro to introduce us, explain what we wanted to do to help and discussed the levels of education achieved by each of their children and the potential opportunities for each of them going forward. Unfortunately the school fees of their eldest daughter had just become prohibitively expensive for the family once all their other basic financial commitments had been met.It became clear very quickly, having met Francisca, that we should fund her education through the next level of schooling (and wherever it may lead – we don’t know yet!). She charmed us with her sense of humour, her enthusiasm for learning english and studying to work towards a job in tourism. Most impressively (for a 16 year old!) we were touched by her commitment to go out into the world and earn herself a living in order to assist her family in the longterm with their commitments to each other and their elderly extended family in the town. I think we found a perfect fit for both of our families and we are thrilled at having this opportunity to help Francisca and her family.Having spent some time with them at our initial meeting (and then having dropped in on them again on our own later in the week to take some christmas gifts for the children and Señora Alvares Santos), we are confident that her parents are delighted for her to continue her education and will be supportive of her in her efforts. We believe this support from her parents is also fundamental to her success.
We email Francisca regularly and we are helping each other with our respective languages
We hope to visit again in the not too distant future and meet her and her family when we return to Lake Atitlan.
Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity!
Jenni and Geoff Gardner
Louise with her sponsored child Rosalina and family in Santa Cruz La Laguna village.
Maria after her cataract operation to have her sight restored in her one and only eye.