Sunday, 13 November 2011

This family consists of a grandmother, five aunts and uncles, four cousins and six orphaned children.  With such a huge family getting enough food for everyone is a great challenge.  This family is lucky to have a sponsor donate $200 each month to help feed them, but this food lasts only three weeks after which the grandmother searches the dumps to look for things she can feed her family.  This family needs additional food, traditional clothes for the girls and additional beds.

The Children

Pedro Jose, 17, was born August 22, 1994. His student number is 762 and he will be in 8th grade in 2012.

Roni Oswaldo, 14, was born November 10, 1997. His student number is 764 and he was in 7th grade in 2011.

Luisa Ismelda, 15, was born January 24, 1996.  Her student number is 763 and she will be repeating 7th grade in 2012.

Evelin Azucena, 11, was born April 9, 2000. Her student number is 765.  She will be in third grade in 2012.

Zuly Eliza, 9, was born March 7, 2002. Her student number is 766. She will repeat first grade in 2012.

Dalila Rosi, 8, was born June 10, 2003. Her student number is 767. She will repeat second grade in 2012.

Their Family Situation

The father of these children used to drink a lot. On Friday nights, when the mother knew the father would be coming home drunk, she would take the six children away to sleep somewhere else. One Friday night four years ago, when the father was home alone, he was murdered. Was he involved in drugs? Was it something political? The family didn’t know and never got an answer.

After his death the mother got sick and depressed. She stayed in bed, wouldn’t eat, rejected visitors and then died ten months after her husband. Her family says she died of ‘nerves’.

Luisa was not at home
The grandmother, Dona Andrea (age 62) began caring for the six children in her home that already included her husband, four of her six children (six others had died), a daughter-in-law and four other grandchildren. Three months ago the family had a tragic accident. They ate some herbs and tortillas for their dinner – a typical meal – and several of the children became gravely ill. Three of the non-orphaned children died and several of the orphaned children had to be treated at the hospital.

The grandfather works but he keeps all his money for himself, eating meals away from the home and sleeping alone in a corner of the room. He does not care for the children and does not give the grandmother any financial support for the family. The son who is married with one child and the daughter whose child died from the poisonous herbs both give their mother $13.33 (100Q) a week in an effort to help the family. The grandmother washes clothes by hand and any other work she can find, but often she goes through trash bins looking for items she may be able to sell and discarded food she can feed her family.

Their House

The family lives in a house up a long, very steep, unstable and narrow foot path off the road going to Sololá, in Patanatic. Half way up the path sits the deserted house where the mother and father died. The house they live in consists of two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The house belongs to the grandmother (not the grandfather) and the children technically own the house that had belonged to their parents. The kitchen ceiling leaks so badly that the grandmother can’t cook when it is raining. The bathroom is a toilet over a hole in the ground. They bathe by using a bucket of collected rain water.  The house was notably dirty and flies were everywhere.  Even the chickens acted sick.  

When Mayan Families first learned of this family, the grandmother was cooking in a small plastic bathtub and she had no kitchen utensils. Everything they owned had been found in the dump: the blankets, the clothes, the furniture. They now have four water filters, a large pila and an Onil stove.

Ten people sleep on the large bedroom. The four girls sleep together in one bed that needs a new mattress. The two boys sleep on an old mattress on the floor. During the day it is propped up against the wall so they can walk around. Dona Andrea sleeps on a bed with her daughter, also in need of a new mattress. They have one blanket for each bed.

The girls wear western clothes though they should be wearing traditional. Mayan Families bought them each a new traje after their mother died but that is all they have so oftentimes they have to wear Western clothes. They can’t afford more clothes when food is so scarce. Pedro’s shoes were hurting his feet because they are too small but they are all he has.

A donor gives $200 monthly for the family to have food. This amount lasts them two to three weeks and when this food runs out the grandmother searches trash bins for food. They need another sponsor to donate $75 each month for the family to have sufficient food.

They are all in good health, though they need to visit the dentist because of some tooth pain.

The family told us about a troubling financial situation they are in. The cemetery where the mother of the orphans and the three young children who died a few months ago require people to buy or pay rent on the burial plots after six years. It would cost $200 per month to rent the plots. If the family can’t afford this expense the bodies are tossed. Dona Andrea is very worried about what is going to happen to her daughter’s body in three years, and the bodies of her three young grandchildren in six years, because she knows that they cannot afford to pay the fees required by the cemetery.

What They Need

$75/month    Food donation

$116 each    Traditional clothes for the three youngest girls

$150             Traditional clothes for Luisa

$170 each    Three double beds – frame and mattress

Repair kitchen and bedroom roof

How to Donate
  • To use PayPal, click the button below to go to Mayan Families' donation page. Enter the donation amount in the Family Aid field. Enter FA66 for the Family Name. Specify the purpose of the donation in the Extra Notes box.

  • To pay by check, include a note specifying FA66 as the recipient and the purpose of the donation. Mail to:
Mayan Families
PO Box 52
Claremont, NC 28610