CORONA VIRUS IN GUATEMALA
Guatemala, like most of the world, is dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. Among the restrictions in place are travel limitations, social distancing rules, a curfew, and strict guidance on how, where, and what type of businesses can stay open, with many closed.
As you might expect, hunger and food delivery have proven difficult to manage in the poorer areas of the country. Our neighborhoods are among the worst affected. That is why we will focus on food relief until this crisis is over. Here are some of the details.
As the United States and other countries start their re-opening efforts, Guatemala remains in the early stages of its upwards trajectory.
The president continues to warn of stricter measures to hold down the spread of Covid-19 even as he relaxes some curfew rules.
Limited hours cause long lines at food stores, especially after paydays. But folks are adjusting, including many who provide grocery and food services for folks who can´t or are worried about going to the markets.
Unfortunately, thousands can´t afford to do even that, which is where we and hundreds of organizations and individuals come in.
La Cuchilla and La Isla (Feeding Programs and Women's Ministry)
Thanks largely to your donations, we delivered dozens of overstuffed bags of groceries to families in La Cuchilla and Santa Fe.
Covid-19 is present in both areas, with several of our families affected.
We have a team of women at each site providing us with updates and details of who needs the most help.
Unfortunately, we can´t help everybody. But we will help as many as we can.
Besides food, we delivered funds for gas and water, as well as tomato, cucumber, and pepper seeds. Families with small children receive writing tablets and markers to help occupy the little ones. (and cookies.)
It is a formidable task, complicated by overwhelming need all around us.
Helping Folks With the White Flags
One of the hardest parts about driving around Guatemala today is the number of people standing on the side of roads, in church and commercial parking lots, and even in isolated stretches far from anything with white flags.
More white flags dangle from rooftops, balconies, and windows.
White flags signify a family in need of food assistance. The sheer number is depressing, and they seem to multiple each day.
Even as we work to make sure "our" families are getting food, we strive to help as many of the other needy folks as we can.
Their tales involve lost jobs, ill family members, the demise of their informal business in this economy... and always fear.
It is heartbreaking to see children, often pale and weak, leaning against their mothers´leg or dozing off in the shade.
We distributed tons of produce and groceries to these folks as we drive around our sites. We offer Prayers, Bibles, and hugs where they are lacking, too.
We can´t do enough, but we can do more if you help us.
La Naranja, Cocales (Youth Church)
The pastoral family in Cocales continues to provide a hearty meal each day for dozens of children and some seniors.
They also provide an outlet for the children to burn some energy by making and selling snacks, as well as assisting with set up and cleaning for the new feeding program.
Prayer sessions and lessons are also part of their day.
We are providing funds to supplement what is raised with the snacks. This assures the program will continue throughout the crisis, and possibly beyond.
Rural Outreach in Pamamus (School)
All schools in Guatemala are closed indefinitely. When last we spoke to the principal of the Pamamus School, he told us teachers are still being paid and doing their best to keep in touch with the students.
The majority of parents work in farming-related jobs. We suspect they are still working as that is an industry not affected by many new regulations. We remain in touch.
Our Mission and Goal
Our mission is to spread God's love through His Word, through our words, through our works, and with His help. Our goal is to help people get through acute and chronic crises by introducing (or reminding) them of the Hope and Love Jesus offers.
JESUS IS ESSENTIAL...
AND HE IS ON THE JOB!
TOP ROW 1: Yesenia and Pat talking to the children in Pamamus in March. Within a week, travel restrictions and school closures went into effect. Photo 2: Yesenia praying with women from Santa Fe. We distributed 20 bags of groceries and 20 bags of produce to families of our feeding program kids of La Isla. Photo 3: A typical meal in Cocales. A pasta mix with chicken and vegetables, a drink (with blocks of ice floating on top), and of course, tortillas. Photo 4: Pamamus students flashing thank you hearts to our Spanish visitors after we celebrated Christmas in February.
SECOND ROW- Photo 1: We spent time praying with these folks, before sharing some food and bibles. Photo 2: Sharing more vegetables with unfortunate folks affected by the Covid-19 crisis begging along the streets of Boca del Monte. Photo 3: Tamalitos de Chipilin- one of the snacks Ana and the kids of Cocales make every day. Items like tamalitos and tortillas are usually side items to a meal; but during this crisis, they are the main course for many families. Photo 4: children on the side of a road with a white flag as their parents seek food assistance.
LEFT: Pickup loaded with green bags of groceries and white bags of fruits and vegetables destined for poor families around Guatemala.
Watch for more photos of our Covid-19 Emergency food Program.
SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST: One our of mission children is critically ill with a Covid-19 related issue. Because of some misperceptions and repercussions against virus victims, we dare not name her or show her photo. But we do dare to ask you to pray for her recovery and the well-being of her family. Thank you for helping us to help her and all the other children & families.