Tag: Guatemala

Feb 14 2013

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Guatemala

CFCA-Guatemala celebrates Valentine's Day

Irma, an Unbound social worker, and the “secret friend” gift box for Valentine’s Day in Guatemala.

Valentine’s Day in Guatemala is known as “the day of love and friendship.”

In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, some Unbound staffers organize giving activities to make the occasion extra special!

“On Feb. 1 we make little pieces of paper with our names on them,” said Irma Leticia Raquec Ros, an Unbound social worker. “Everyone gets to pick one. The person whose name appears on the little piece of paper will be your secret friend for the next couple of weeks.”

Every day after that, Irma said, staffers will bring small items such as cookies, chips and candy into the office and put them into the “secret friend” gift box (the bright red box pictured next to Irma).

“We have fun playing this game,” said Rocio Esmeralda Suguach, another Unbound social worker. “At break time we all come rushing to see what we got!”

On the big day, Feb. 14, the Unbound staffers will bring a larger gift such as a teddy bear, roses, clothing or special chocolates. Then the gift-givers reveal themselves to their no-longer-secret friends!

“Every day is a special day, but Valentine’s Day gives us the opportunity to say ‘I love you,’ ‘You are special’ and ‘Thank you’ to our friends, family and everyone that touches our lives,” Irma said.

CFCA-Guatemala staff celebrate Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day from this Unbound office in Guatemala!

Feb 8 2013

Sponsorship = ‘A blessing from God’ for CFCA sponsored youth

A recent CFCA awareness trip to Guatemala provided this precious opportunity for sponsors to hear from Mariana, an 18-year-old CFCA scholar who was sponsored as a child in 2000. Mariana

For me it was a great blessing to have been sponsored, because in my family we are 11 siblings. For my parents it has been a little bit hard to help every one of us move forward, and much more now that my dad is suffering from health problems, just like my mother.

My sister Selva has already graduated thanks to God and CFCA’s support. Seven of my siblings have already graduated, and only four remain to finish.

It has been a very nice experience to be in CFCA, because besides giving us food, shoes and clothing every month, we have had many activities.

I really liked the CFCA Christmas celebrations. The activities that take place are very nice, and I really like to participate in them.

The CFCA social workers who have helped me for the past 12 years have been very kind, as well as the entire CFCA staff; they have a unique way of caring for the people. Read more

Feb 4 2013

Guatemala yearns for a community with compassion

Luis Cocon, CFCA-Guatemalaa-2012By Luis Cocon, CFCA communications center liaison in Guatemala

It is painful to see my country bleed.

The bodies of two little girls, ages 6 and 12, were found on Jan. 16 dumped on a street in Guatemala City. Police said that both girls had been asphyxiated.

As I watched the evening news, I could not help but think of what these helpless children went through and the pain that their family was suffering. I was moved; our whole country was moved. These could have been our own children.

Violence has affected my life and the lives of those in my country in many ways. It has affected the way we live, play and go about our daily lives.

I remember as a child playing in my neighborhood streets for as long as I wanted, even after street lights came on. My children cannot enjoy that kind of freedom. Read more

Jan 11 2013

Guatemala trip showcases ‘joyful miracle’ of CFCA’s growth

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page. Photo credits go to Ricardo Ajpuac, CFCA staff member in Guatemala.

Here’s wishing you every blessing in this special season to give thanks and begin anew.

Counting on God’s blessings, we look forward to a tranquil and relaxing journey. The coffee is red ripe on the trees. School is out, and children fill the mountain air with their giggles. Read more

Dec 29 2012

Three generations give back through sponsorship

Erin meets her sponsored friend, Jose, Dec. 28 while on a CFCA awareness trip in Guatemala.

Erin meets her sponsored friend, Jose, Dec. 28 while on a CFCA awareness trip in Guatemala.

For Erin Gaffaney, CFCA sponsorship runs in the family.

Erin learned about CFCA through her grandfather, Harold.

Over the years, Harold talked to his family about sponsorship and it stuck with them.

“Over time I think some of his children and grandchildren saw the example he was setting and we now sponsor kids or elderly people ourselves,” Erin said.

Erin, an elementary school music teacher, sponsors an elderly gentleman, Jose, in Guatemala. Sheís also using her musical talents to support CFCA’s work.

Erin collaborated with a friend to record a Christmas CD titled, “Prepare Him Room.” The duo will be donating proceeds to CFCA.

“It was never our intent to make this CD a money-making venture,” Erin said. “It thrilled me more to make a quality product knowing that what we were doing was really going to affect people’s lives.”

The musical team put on two CD release parties in their local area and had CFCA sponsorship folders displayed on tables during the live shows.

Erin said CFCA was on the top of her mind when she was thinking about where proceeds would be donated because she was getting ready to meet her sponsored friend on a CFCA awareness trip. She met Jose Dec. 28 at the CFCA center in Guatemala.

The group of sponsors participating in the trip includes her grandfather, mother and two sisters.

“It’s kind of turned out to become a generational thing,” she said, “which is really neat to see.”

Dec 16 2012

CFCA volunteer hits ‘home run’ in fundraising effort

Bob Meyer, CFCA sponsor and volunteer

Bob Meyer, CFCA sponsor and volunteer

Bob Meyer has volunteered at CFCA headquarters for the past seven years and is dedicated to helping fight poverty around the world.

In addition to volunteering, he’s using his writing talents to help families in poverty realize their dreams for a better life.

Inspired by his love of baseball and a desire to help others, Bob wrote and self-published a book, “Small Town Baseball Ö BIG LEAGUE DREAMS,” focusing on semi-pro baseball in eastern Iowa from the early 1900s to the present. Proceeds from the book are being donated to CFCA and another charity close to Bob’s heart.

Bob has sold more than 600 copies so far, and is planning to donate $1,500 from book sales to CFCA.

“It was the right thing to do,” he said.

Meyer first learned about CFCA sponsorship through a priest visiting his church.

Shortly after beginning their sponsorship of Jeferson in Guatemala, Bob and his wife, Ruth, decided to visit him on a CFCA trip. Read more

Dec 14 2012

Longtime sponsor plans for Guatemala trip with CFCA

Zena Weist, CFCA sponsor

Zena Weist, CFCA sponsor

So, we talk about CFCA trips all the time.

We’ve told you the stories and showed you the pictures, but it’s still hard to translate the actual joy experienced on a CFCA awareness trip.

Until now.

Zena Weist is a digital marketing professional, blogger, mom, CFCA social media advisory board member and now a CFCA awareness trip traveler!

On Dec. 26, Zena will embark on a weeklong trip to Guatemala to meet her 18-year-old sponsored friend, Angelica.

This is Zena’s first trip to visit her sponsored friend, and she plans on sharing as much information as she can with us while she is there. Read more

Nov 17 2012

Assistance needed for affected families in Guatemala

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Friends, as many of you know, western Guatemala suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake last week (see our CFCA news report) that affected at least 80 of our sponsored friends and their families.

One sponsored child died during the quake, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. (We’re still trying to reach his sponsor, so weíre not able to publish his name yet.)

Others suffered partial or complete loss of their homes and belongings, especially as many of their houses were humbly built with adobe or mud rather than reinforced with concrete and steel.

These homes were less able to withstand the earthquake’s force and made the impact far more devastating. Many of these houses are destroyed or so unstable that remaining in them would be dangerous.

As our staffers in one community reported, a family was heartbroken because their house, which represented many years of work, was damaged in the quake. As a stopgap measure, they are cooking in the yard and sleeping in a small room that has cracks in two corners.

Our staff on the ground will continue to work closely with sponsored friends and their families to assess and monitor their needs. We’ll be using funds contributed to our disaster assistance fund to pay for repairing and rebuilding homes, replacing possessions lost in the quake, and any other support these families may need.

Please consider making a donation to our disaster assistance fund to help families affected by the quake. This will greatly help us in providing the assistance they need.

One hundred percent of donations to the fund are sent to our projects to be used where they’re most needed, as determined by CFCA and local project staffs in conversation with sponsored friends and their families.

Thanks so much, and we deeply appreciate your concern and support.

Oct 31 2012

Visiting sponsored aging friends in Guatemala

CFCA in Guatemala: Olga Argueta and Cleta, sponsored aging friend

From left are Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala, and Cleta, a sponsored aging friend.

In the countries where we work, the elderly often have no one to depend on for their well-being. They receive no social security and may not be able to count on family members for support, as adult children are often occupied with their own survival.

About three years ago, a community in Guatemala noticed some of our sponsored aging friends had difficulties traveling to the local CFCA office for birthday celebrations, Christmas celebrations and other CFCA activities. So they decided to take the celebrations to the sponsored friends’ own homes, and that’s how regular visits to sponsored elderly began!

In the words of Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala

Every three months we plan one whole day for visiting the elderly. We have identified six friends of the 50 sponsored aging friends in our community who have difficulties moving around, and they are the ones we visit. Read more

Oct 25 2012

Walking for water in Guatemala

Many sponsored friends and family members who live in the town of Santa Maria, in Ixhuatan, Guatemala, go without running water or electricity in their homes because these necessities are not readily available.

Edelmira and her family in Guatemala.

Edelmira and her family in Guatemala.

Edelmira is a mother of four: three boys and one girl. Edelmira’s son, Josue, is sponsored through the Hope for a Family program. The family does not have running water in the home, and they must travel to a community tank to get water.

Edelmira gives us an inside look into the life of her family.

What is the current water situation in your home?

We do not have running water in our home.

Every day I walk 20 minutes to a community tank to get our daily supply of water.

I bring the water home in big plastic jars. I carry two jars: one on my head and one on my arm.

I make several trips back and forth to the tank. I walk up and down hills, and it usually takes me about two or three hours every day.

I am familiar with walking and carrying heavy loads. When I was a little girl my father would have us work in the fields and carry big sacks of corn and beans on our head.

Do you ever experience water shortages? Read her answer