Tag: Guatemala

Oct 17 2012

Living in an earthquake-prone area in Guatemala


Suriel Ramirez, CFCA social worker in Guatemala.

Sponsored friends who live in the Chiquimulilla region of Guatemala have experienced small, frequent earthquakes for many years. These quakes have affected their lives and the infrastructure.

Suriel Ramirez, CFCA social worker, has worked for CFCA for nearly 10 years. He shared these insights about the earthquakes that affect the area.

How is this area impacted by quakes?

Our town has always witnessed earthquakes ever since I can remember. Many of the earthquake epicenters surround the mountains in this area.

We are vulnerable because two fault lines cross our state. These tremors have gotten stronger and more frequent since June of 2011.

For some reason, maybe it’s a coincidence, we can feel the strongest quakes the middle of each month.

It is scary to witness these tremors. People are alarmed and rumors of great disaster keep us fearful.

How have these quakes affected the homes of families?

A great number of homes in this area are made of adobe. This type of structure is vulnerable to earthquakes. Walls made with adobe easily break and fall with even small earthquakes.

Walls made with cornstalks and mud are also weak and can easily collapse.

Concrete and cinderblock homes are the safest, but even these homes are in danger when a strong earthquake occurs. Read more

Oct 12 2012

Bread winners thrive in Guatemala

With support from CFCA livelihood programs, Oscar and others parents of sponsored children are now able to put bread on their tables.

There was no bakery in Oscar’s community in Guatemala, so CFCA provided training and a loan for a group of parents to build an oven and start making bread. The initiative and solidarity of parents and guardians participating in the CFCA Hope for a Family program make such efforts possible.

Oscar and others in their group are eager to share their knowledge about baking bread.

Well, now’s your chance to learn, as Oscar explains the process for baking bread in Guatemala in this short video.

Related links

Oct 10 2012

‘Hugs all around’ one sponsor’s trip to Guatemala

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Stephanie Angalet, CFCA sponsor

This year I once again had the privilege to travel to Guatemala on one of the CFCA mission awareness trips. This trip was incredibly special because I was able to meet each one of the young ladies I sponsor in Guatemala.

Guatemala is a beautiful country and the people of Guatemala are beautiful people, both inside and out. I never cease to be amazed by the smiles on each person’s face, even though I know some of the difficulties they face each day.
Read more

Oct 4 2012

CFCA birthday celebrations in Guatemala, Colombia

Did you know that for many of our sponsored children and aging friends, a CFCA birthday celebration may be the first time they’ve ever formally celebrated their birthdays?

These much-anticipated celebrations often include family members and others in the local community.

Here are a few photos of recent CFCA birthday celebrations in Guatemala, Colombia and India. They were too precious not to share with you!

Edgar, CFCA sponsored child in Guatemala, and birthday celebration

Edgar, left, a sponsored children in Guatemala, is really enjoying his cake! A birthday tradition in Guatemala calls for the birthday child to eat the cake without utensils, and when they lean in to take a bite, they are pushed into it.

CFCA sponsored children in Colombia and their birthday celebrations

It’s a special day in Colombia as sponsored children wait for their birthday cake and drinks.

Leydi, sponsored child in Guatemala, and a big birthday cake

Little Leydi from Guatemala is excited to join in the CFCA birthday festivities. She can have her cake and eat it, too.

See more photos

Sep 10 2012

Welcoming a newborn baby in Guatemala

Luis Cocon, our CFCA communications liaison in Guatemala, and his wife, Mercedes, recently welcomed their third child, Cristel, into the world. Here Luis describes some local customs and traditions that take place after a baby is born.

Cristel, in Guatemala

Welcome, Cristel!

Naming babies in Guatemala is a family thing. We all get involved: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and everyone close enough will usually have a say in the matter.

We are careful in choosing names; we want our children to be proud of their name and we try to avoid those that can be offensive, funny or extravagant.

Our more common sources for names are: names of parents, grandparents or close relatives, from nature, from characteristics expected from the baby’s personality or popular names at the time.

Local customs and traditions

As soon as possible after our baby was born, my wife drank a hot tortilla drink called “atol de tortilla.” We believe this tortilla drink provides good, abundant and rich breast milk. Read more

Aug 31 2012

Putting bread on the table in Guatemala

They say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. For Oscar Manuel, father of two sponsored children in the CFCA Hope for a Family program†in Guatemala, this statement couldn’t be more true.

Oscar was a farmer with little to no income. There was no bakery in Oscar’s community, and through the work of CFCA livelihood programs, Oscar and other parents began making and selling bread around their community.

CFCA provided training and a loan for the group to build an oven and start making bread.

Oscar and others are eager to share their new skills with others.

“With happiness in our hearts,” he says in this video, “we will teach what we have learned.”

Aug 30 2012

A CFCA Christmas

The children are ready to play and have fun,
While the youth are ready for school to be done.

Santa Claus, aka, Kris Kringle

Santa makes a stop at a CFCA-Guatemala Christmas celebration last year.

Aging friends wait with anticipation
As Santa arrives to a Christmas celebration!

The CFCA Christmas fund brings gifts to all
Be it shoes, or clothes or a shiny new ball.

The day is filled with excitement and joy,
It’s a wonderful day for all girls and boys.

They share with each other, stories and laughter,
And a meal is shared by all soon thereafter.

The CFCA Christmas Fund is good to consider,
Your friend will feel special and honored this winter.

You can donate on the website or by mail,
Or simply call to let your donation prevail!

Related links

Aug 28 2012

CFCA communications centers: San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala

CFCA has five communications centers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, India and Colombia.

Although we call them centers, which sound like a big operation, they actually consist of one or a few local staff members. They help us find and feature stories from our sponsored children and aging friends.

We’d like to introduce you to each communications center liaison, continuing with Luis Cocon in Guatemala.

Luis CocÛn, CFCA communications center liaison in Guatemala.

Luis CocÛn, CFCA communications center liaison in Guatemala.

Nothing happens by accident. I believe that God decided to bring CFCA into my life so that I may learn from my people and present their incredible stories to the world.

My name is Luis Cocon, and I am Mayan. I was born in a small community in the central highlands of Guatemala.

My father is a farmer. He has worked most of his life raising vegetables such as broccoli, sweet peas, potatoes and, of course, corn and beans. My mother, like most indigenous women, embroidered fabric to bring additional income to our family. She also took care of me, my younger brother, Kevin, and our home.

Being a Maya indigenous farmer was not easy for my father. He worked long and difficult hours under the weather with no steady income. Above all that, my country suffered 36 years of war from 1960 to 1996; it was fought between the Guatemalan government and various guerrilla groups, mainly supported by Maya indigenous people and poor peasants.

Forced recruitments around our town by the army forced my father to leave the country. I don’t have a clear memory of this because I was only 4 years old, but I can imagine how hard it was for my parents, not knowing if we would ever see each other again. Read more

Aug 20 2012

Going back to school: Mothers of sponsored children

It’s never too late to learn!

That’s one lesson that mothers of sponsored children taught Diego Felipe Coj Guarchaj, a CFCA staff member in Guatemala who has worked with CFCA for 13 years.

CFCA scholars and mothers go to school in Guatemala

Mothers of sponsored children in Guatemala are going back to school with the help of CFCA scholarships.

It began in 2007, when CFCA staffers started a literacy program in the town of Nahuala for mothers who wanted to learn how to read and write.

CFCA scholars taught the mothers as part of their community service project.

In 2008 more mothers wanted to learn, so the CFCA office in Nahuala contacted Guatemala’s national committee for literacy, a government-run institution that helps people finish their primary education.

In 2011 more than 75 mothers graduated from primary school with that literacy program.

Several of these mothers expressed a desire to continue their education, so the CFCA office encouraged them to apply for CFCA scholarships.

In 2012, Diego said 23 mothers and two fathers are now CFCA scholars. Classes include natural science, social studies, math, computers and writing.

“Twenty-three of the students are in seventh grade, one is in eighth grade, and one mother is in her first year of high school,” Diego said.

(Related link: Read more about the value of education for sponsored children in Guatemala.)

In a country where only 15.6 percent of the female population is educated to at least a secondary level of schooling (think junior high), according to the Human Development Index, the mothers’ achievements show their perseverance despite tremendous challenges. Read more

Jul 30 2012

He said, she said. . .

Our field staff does some serious research whenever we need information for a story. Unfortunately, we can’t use all of the quotes from our sponsored individuals. Instead of storing these gems in a file waiting to be archived, we decided to share some of our favorites with you.

Please enjoy a few quotes from the sponsored individuals in our Hope for a Family program!

Gregorio, CFCA sponsored aging, plays the guitar

Gregorio plays music for his pets

“I think the birds do because when I start singing or playing the guitar they start whistling.”
ó Gregorio, CFCA sponsored aging from Mexico, on whether or not his pets enjoy it when he makes music.

“Breaking the Santa Claus PiÒata and trying to collect many sweets, that’s where I have more fun.”
ó Hermes, 11-year-old CFCA sponsored child from Guatemala, who answered, honestly, about his favorite part of the CFCA Christmas celebration. Read more