Tag: Guatemala

Mar 27 2013

Colorful celebrations mark Holy Week in Guatemala

In the Latin American projects we serve, Holy Week is a time for family, reflection, cultural traditions and ceremonies remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luis Cocon, CFCA communications liaison for Guatemala, sends us pictures and an account of Holy Week as it’s happening right now in Guatemala.

Please note: Our Kansas City office will be closed March 28 and 29 for Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

A mystical feeling is in the air as Holy Week processions begin in the Guatemalan city of Antigua, set against a backdrop of colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and volcanoes.

Holy Week parades in Antigua, Guatemala

Decorations and elaborate handicrafts adorn wooden platforms on which religious images are carried.

Holy Week procession symbols in Guatemala
Read more

Mar 14 2013

How to make Guatemalan tortillas (recipe)

Guatemalan tortillas

Homemade Guatemalan tortillas … mmm!

Unbound, formerly CFCA, serves more than 83,000 sponsored children and elderly in Guatemala. A great way to feel connected to the people of Guatemala is to make food from the region.

Elizabeth, mother of an Unbound sponsored youth in Guatemala, Florita, shows how to make these delicious corn tortillas from scratch! Read more

Mar 7 2013

Recycling plastic bottles to make furniture in Guatemala

At first glance, this may look like an ordinary loveseat in a Unbound office in Guatemala:

recycled sofa

But as is so often the case in Unbound, great stories abound where you least expect them. Peel back the cover and you get this:

recycled sofa

That’s right, a loveseat made from recycled plastic bottles ó a true labor of love from Unbound scholars in Guatemala!

We’ve blogged before about how CFCA scholars perform community service as part of their scholarship requirements. Unbound scholars in Guatemala perform 30 to 40 hours of community service each month.

One enterprising group of students decided to make these eco-friendly furniture pieces as their community service contribution:

recycled furniture

“The scholars who made this furniture show us that recycling can be a lot more interesting than stuffing paper, cans, cardboard and bottles into the proper containers,” said Luis Cocon, Unbound communications liaison for Guatemala.

“A couch made from recycled plastic bottles may not be something we are used to, but I was pleasantly surprised with the comfort I experienced while taking a seat in one of them.”

What are some ways in which you find new ways to renovate used or recyclable items?

Feb 15 2013

A day in the life: Preparing spring onions in Guatemala

By Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer

Juana, the mother of two CFCA sponsored children, cleans scallions, also known as spring onions, for 8 hours a day, three days a week in a small town in Guatemala.

Preparing spring onions with CFCA in Guatemala

Does she get tired of onions after all that time? “No!” Juana said. Her appreciation only grows. “Our onions are good. People in other towns and countries come to buy them. You should try them grilled,” she suggested. “It will make your mouth water!”

Women in Guatemala prepare spring onions

From left: Lucia, Zoila, Ramos and Juana start their work day at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., peeling spring onions that are a delicious part of local meals. Lucia and Juana are mothers of CFCA sponsored children, Zoila is sponsored through CFCA, and Ramos is a former sponsored child. Read more

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.”