- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.fBBcEurs.dpuf Casa de Sion: 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

As my teen daughter would say, I have had a very bad day. It started two weeks ago when Guatemala government raided our orphanage at 10pm and terrified the children and searched everything. When searching Pedro's office they asked about the money he keeps in a lock box. He told them it was the budget money for the month. He told them the truth. They said no it is not, it is money you made from selling the children for sexual purposes. Then they told us we feed the children pig food because we feed them fruits and veggies. Then they told us we needed to buy white sheets and blue coverlets so the beds matched and that is was criminally wrong for Aura [5] to have climbed into bed with Monica [ 7] and her sister. So we tried to change some of the things like adding much more meat to the diet and renting another house to spread the kids out more. They also interviewed every child who could talk 5 times in the last month asking didn't they want to go home to their families. The kids all said no thank you, we want to stay here and no we are not being abused, we love it here. Well yesterday morning at 6 am they bombarded us again and this time took all the children. Took them one month before they finished the school year. They will have to repeat this year. And made up ridiculous allegations of illegal adoptions and sexual abuse. We have done two adoptions in the 5 years we have operated. This charge seems to have stemmed from a missing file on one adoption. The sexual stuff is made up. I would bet my last dollar that my staff would never sexually abuse a child.
This is the 5th or 6th orphanage we know of that has had this same thing happen. The charges are always the same. The orphanages have all just recently bought land and built new buildings. There is talk that maybe the government wants to conviscate it. We have hired an attorney and will fight to get the kids back, but if we win we will be the first.
Well that's it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tonight I am writing to let everyone know that our precious Lydia died this morning. She choked during her morning feeding, the bomberos were called, but she died later at the hospital. The hospital doctor said given her cerebral palsy, fetal alcoholism and severe malnourishment, there was nothing anyone could have done. Lydia came to us last May weighing 8 pounds at 3 years of age. She gained 6 pounds during her stay with us.My staff is very upset and Olympia who received the body from the hospital and has dressed her for the funeral tomorrow is crying. My two teens here at home who had spent many hours holding and rocking Lydia are crying. I go between depression and joy that Lydia's spirit has been released from such a difficult body and that she is now free to move about at will. I would like to thank everyone on this list who spent time rocking, holding and loving Lydia and making her last 4 months in this life so much more loved than her first 3 years.
Anyone who would like to contribute to her coffin, flowers and candles, it would be much appreciated.
Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org/

Friday, August 29, 2008

We are so busy. But I know everyone wants to know what is happening. So here goes. One let me catch you up on the kids. We have had several teens leave and go home to parents. They were the kids from Xela who came to us when the orphanage they were in closed due to the owner being accused of sexual abuse. They have now gone to live with their parents. But we have had the government add to our orphanage a 5 and 12 year old. A mother brought her 1 month old and 1 year old to us as she could not take care of them. The courts want us to take a sib group. The mother is starting to use the 9 year old girl in prostitution and they want us to take her as well as her 7 and 2 year old sibs. And finally another orphanage has closed and is looking for places for their 20 children ages 8 months to 4 years. Don't know if we will take any of them. Our new building is almost done. They are stuccoing it now. The middle of this month we have a couple of ladies who are going to go and paint murals on the walls of the kids rooms.
We had a team that got about 1/3 of the septic dug and the builder is working on getting the electric in.
A couple of pieces of news. Good first. Edwin, or Josue as the staff calls him, has a family. A Guatemalan mom and dad who can't have children of their own are in the adoption process and come to visit him. He is the baby who was found on the side of the road in the bushes.
Now the bad. The same group who brought us the 5 and 12 year old decided to do a surprise visit at 10pm on a Fri. night. Their wanted to hassle us. One of their wants was that we have white sheets and blue bedspreads for all the beds. The judges that use us to send children too told them they were crazy that we had a good place and to leave us alone. Just one of the crazy things we have to deal with.
I forgot. The ones of you who know Alicia, well she is back. She left at age 18 with a woman who was going to train her in the craft business. Apparently it did work out, so she is now a new employee of ours and will live at the orphanage.
Have I told everyone of all the marvelous things that the work team of 32 did back in July. Beautiful tables, tons of shelving for the storage room and cubbies and shelves for all the rooms at the new orphanage. Plus they totally organized our storage room and worked with the children.
We alos just had another grop down here who helped some more with the storage room and got the septic 1/3 done.
Our biggest need now is CAsh to build more. I have brought back a lot of jewelry and craft items and if you are close to me can do an in home party where your guests can hear about what we are doing in Guate and what the needs are. Then they will be given the opportunity to buy any of the items I have or special order items, I can pick up when I go again in Oct. If you know of any grants or just want to do something esle, contact me and we will brainstorm.
We have an American couple who has made a year long commitment to help with the orphanage starting in Jan. We are very excited about this. He is Guatemalan and has family there.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Well we just returned from Guatemala and are spending the night in Charlotte at my daughter's house. I have a million blogs to write, but will only write a short one today as we need to get on the road and back home to our kids.
This is one that one of our donors has requested, but I know everyone on the group would like the info. So as of today here are the names and ages of the kids at the hogar.

1. Oliver-2 months [ arrived yesterday and will post his story soon ]
2. Noah- 4 months [ goes to court today; please say a prayer for him ]
3. Edwin- 3 months [ has a Guatemalan adoptive family ]
4. Lydia- 3 years but the size of a long skinny 6 month old
5. Carlos- 1 year
6. Abram- 3 years
7. Carlos- 2 years
8. Lilli- 5 years
9. Diego- 4 years
10. Ana esquit- 8 years
11. Jorge- 4 years
12. Ana Maria- 5 years
13.- jose Julian- 5 years
14. Aura- 6 years
15. Monica- 8 years
16. Wendy- 10 years
17. selena- 10 years
18. carlos- 8 years
19. Rolando- 9 years
20. Dillon- 7 years
21. Yubonni- 4 years
22. Alex- 6 years
23. pedro- 9 years
24. Manuel- 15 years
25. Rosa- 12 years
26. Lubin- 12 years
27. Byron- 14 years
28. Luis- 12 years
29. Maria- 12 years
30. Javre- 12 years
31. Juan- 13 years
32. Deciero- 15 years
33. Josue- 12 years
34. Rudy- 12 years
35. gerardo- 16 years
36. brenda- 13 years
37. fernanda- 14 years
38. juliana- 15 years
39. felician- 17 years
40. helica- 17 years
41 Marleny- 15 years

We have been told we will probably be getting an 8 month old whose mother just died and the father does not want to raise her, as well as a 3, 4, and 5 year old.
WE ARE INTERVIEWING NOW FOR A NANNY/TEACHER TO WORK WITH THE PRESCHOOL/KINDERGARTEN GANG.
We have bought a dehumidifier for the clothing room.

I want to say again how much I appreciate the volunteers. I will address shortly some of the concerns as they are my concerns also. i have had the advantage of dealing with the same issues for the last 5 years so have gained a little knowledge and will discuss it in an upcoming email.

Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org/

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jody and I head for Guatemala next week. The building is on hold until he can get down there and check to make sure all the plumbing and electrical systems are where they are supposed to be. We have been super busy here in the states. We married off child number 7 yesterday. Only 11 more to go. All my kids, their spouses and my grandkids were there and we got some awesome pictures.
Back to Guate. We are anxious to finish the new building for the children and have them move in as soon as the school year is over in October. They will have so much more room to play and be outside. Our next big project will be to raise the money to build the next building as it is desperately needed for space and kitchen and dining and volunteer rooms and staff rooms and classrooms. Our gardens are going with beans and potatoes and corn. We need to plant more as the food shortages all over the world scare me. I want to get chickens and more goats and pigs and maybe a cow out there as well as more fruits and veggies. We are having tremendous help from volunteers. Here is a quote from the leader of one of the groups that just got back.
"The volunteers there were helpful and pleasant and we were so glad to get to know them. We loved Tracey. What a marvelous girl. She has such a big heart and loves the children. I'm sure you are extremely anxious to get the kids out to the new site so there is more room both inside and out. Everyone wanted to be able to meet you and tell you and Jodi how they admire you for all your work and the heart-felt commitment you have to the children. Pedro was absolutely wonderful in helping us and being available for us.
Here's how our projects went:
Loren and his group made benches (I don't know how many), 5 kitchen tables, 4 study tables, 4 units of cubbies and shelves for the whole bodega.
Concerns: I was told there is a lot of wood left over but you should be able to put to good use. One of the tables buckled a little on top because it didn't have time to completely dry after the resin was put on so Jodi or Pedro will want to glue that down.
Kathy Bartlett and her group at the bodega pulled out everything, went through every item that was there on the shelves and in the suitcases. They sorted everything and put it all on the shelves that Loren built which they labeled by size and gender. They also bought additional plastic containers for the small items.
Rocking the babies was something we all enjoyed although the workers were upset that we were changing their routine and the routine of the babies. However, since you had told us to rock, we rocked. We also did activities and played with the older ones. They are all so dear. (I'm sure that's not true all the time -- no child is, but we loved them.)
Concerns: We need more $ to hire workers who will just rock, play with and nurture the children. Also, of course, more space which should be taken care of shortly. One of the women suggested that you inquire about a trained pre-school teacher to train the workers who will be working with the children and then stay there for a couple of months to get them going.
Planting the potatoes was accomplished without any difficulties and done in just a few hours.
Building the new orphanage seems to be coming along. Dave Anderson and his group did all they could with what Diego gave them to do. They built a retaining wall in front of the porch and perhaps a couple of other little jobs."
This group and what they did means so much to us. Not only for the help they provided, but the emotional support they give to us and the children. Things get very discouraging from time to time and we need the energy of others.
We receive two new children on Monday. They were in the adoption process and in a big fancy adoption orphanage, but were moved somewhere esle when they was a question about the birthmother. Now they are being moved to us. NEW ADOPTIONS ARE AT A STAND STILL SO NONE OF THE CHILRDEN IN OUR ORPHANAGE CAN BE ADOPTED AT THIS TIME. This is true all over the country. It makes it really hard. Alot of the orphanages have closed because of no adoption money to keep them running. Thankfully that is not what funds us. Anyway the two new ones are 2 and 3; a brother and sister. We are full except for a couple of more baby beds.
Noah, our precious 5 month old at the orphanage, goes to court Aug. 5 to see whether he stays with us. My 14 year old here at home just cried and cried at the possibility that he might go somewhere esle. It is hard to make kids understand that the government rules, we just pay the expenses and love them while they are there.
Well my last point is money. We need it to build the next building. I have gotten a $11,500 donation since I have been home and that will start the new building fund. I also have a donor who will match any money donated up to $10,000.00. So please give what you can. We had a little girl request money for the orphanage instead of birthday presents and she raised $500.00. Thanks to all of you who have sent donations. They are so helpful and needed. My husband met a man from American Airlines who is going to try and get us space to send donations down.
Well time for church. thanks everyone.
Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org/

Monday, July 21, 2008







This is some of what I have been doing here in the states. These pictures were from the name blessing of my oldest daughters 3rd child. And you can see 3 of my kids with 3 of my new grandkids. the fourth one could not make the festivities. The final pictures are of most of my grandchildren. two are missing. they are all so special to me.
We have had much help from volunteers last week. They built tables and shelves for the kitchen and the bedrooms and the stroehouse. They built a front patio for the new house. They helped plant potatoes. And they rocked little ones and played with bigger ones. And they brought much needed donations. Donations we will use all year long.
The new building is ready for the stucco. My husband and I travel to Guatemala as soon as we marry our 22 year old son this week-end. My husband needs to make sure the plumbing and electric go where they are supposed to. We have a volunteer team coming in August to dig for the septic system.
We had much trouble from four of the last eight teens we took. they had to be returned to the courts. They were using extortion to get the younger children to steal for them. Plus they were threatening violence and we feared for the younger ones.
We have been told we will be receiving 2 more children between the ages of 2 and 5 and then another 2 from another children's home that are 9 months and a very developmentally delayed 3 year old.
Well that is all for now. I will take pictures while i am ther and post them. Thanks also to those of you who have sent donations. they are so appreciated.
If you need my home address, write me privately via my email.
Vicki

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We have had a bunch of wonderful things happen for the orphanage. I hope everyone on the email group list got the picture of Lydia as several people have been asking for it. I got a new digital for Mother's Day so hope to take lots of pics when we go Guate in the next few weeks.
We have a wonderful team there right now working hard to make thngs better for the children. Thirty two people who all brought donations. They have divided into work teams and some are building shelving and tables that we desperately need. Others are building a porch onto the new building, others doing landscaping and finally others who are helping at the orphanage with the kids. I heard from my daughter that they brought lots of bubbles and the kids were loving that.
We so appreciate the work teams.
Another blessing has been a new volunteer who is working with the kids, but also helping us with the farm. She and the kids and part of the work team put in a 100 pounds of potatoes yesterday to add to the black beans and corn that is already in.
The final blessing is I met with a couple yesterday who have an adopted 3 year old son from Guatemala. They had some money they had to donate to a charity and they picked us as one of the three they gave to. They gave me a check for about $11, 400 yesterday. I started crying. It is the first of the money we need to start the new building fund. 100% of it will go to the building fund. We take no personal expenses or administrative salaries from Safe Homes.We are turning down children until we can get into our new facilities. The first building is close to completion. He will start stuccoing in about 2 weeks. It is dorm space for 64 childlren, but we need the next building for the kitchen/dining area and volunteer rooms and tutorial classrooms
My daughter has been such a great help working down there and Pedro is doing a marvelous job.
thanks for all you do
Vicki

Friday, June 27, 2008

We had some good news about Lydia. She is the 3 year old who weighed 8 pounds. Well after 3 weeks she had a hospital visit to look at her health. She had gained 4 pounds. Pretty amazing. The hospital was so impressed they want us to take brothers 9 months, 1.5 years and 2,5 years.
To explain a little about the building I sent pictures out of today. It is 35 feet by 35 feet or almost 2500 sq. ft total both floors. Each floor has 4 bedrooms that has 2 bunkbeds in each, so a total of 32 sleeping spaces on each floor and then in the middle is a common room where the kids can study or just hang out. This building will house 64 children. It cost about $60,000.00 total and after it is stuccoed will look fairly nice. We need another $60,000.00 to build the next building which will have the kitchen dining area and classrooms for both orp kids and community classes. It can also house more kids if needed or have some volunteer rooms.
The kids in the garden are planting black beans.
Vicki

Monday, June 23, 2008

I know everyone thinks I dropped off the face of the earth, but I am still here. We arrived in the US 5 days after our passports had been unfrozen. I was so.... glad to touch US soil. I know we need to change alot in this country, but it sure looks good after having lived in a third world country. We had supper with several of our kids and grandkids when we flew in and then headed for our mountain and home. we got there at 1 in the morning.
We saw another son and his two daughters and then went to work getting our gardens planted. Our sil had planted alot of things and we planted more. I got to see my 6 goats and two great Pyrenees that I had gotten for a present for Mother's Day.
The next week-end we went to see our oldest son's son get dedicated. Jake was born in Jan.
Then we went to see our 2 month old grandson that we had not met yet. At that point we had seen all 10 of our grandbabies.
The next week i started again on orphanage work. Man you guys and gals did a great job on the donations. My whole living room and my upstairs den are stacked full of donations. i am spending some of each day sorting and packing buckets to go back to Guate with us. thank you so much for all your efforts. There are some great things here and will come in handy when we get them down there.
I got to be at my 4 year old grand daughters birthday on Sat. and had a homecoming barbeque on Sunday for my daughter who had spent a semester abroad in China. This next week-end we have the baby blessing of the two month old and all the kids and their kids will be there. I will get to see my 4 new grandsons together for the first time. it promises to be an awesome experience.
For orphanage news: things seem to be gong well. Lydia our 8 pound 3 year old went for a cat scan. She is alos CP and fetal alcohol. The babies are getting fatter. The government people visited us and said how pleased they were with the care of the babies. We had to turn down an 11 year old as there is no more room in our current facility.
The new residence home is progressing. The are pouring the floor for the second story.
We have a large, 32 people, group coming the second week in July who will build shelf units, a porch on the residence building and work with the kids.
Will try to write more.
Vicki

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I just had the most wonderful spiritual experience. The reason I do this. We got a new little girl at the orphanage. She is 3, but severely malnourished. She weighs 8 pounds and has the muscle tone of a 4 month old. She has the sweetest smile ever. And the spirit that radiates from her is so awesome. Her name is Lydia. She came from the hospital in Xela and I shutter to think where she might have gone if we had not taken her. My staff is totally mesmerized with her; the reason I love my staff. Let me know if anyone wants to sponsor her; I am sure she comes with extra blessings.
The same court is sending us a 5 year old and 9 year old girls next week. And I have someone begging me to take 5 teens in a bad situation.
We have our passports back.YES................................
It will be hard to leave the kids tho. They are so cute.
Well my last blog until we get settled in the states sometime next week.
Vicki

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

One group member asked about the children we receive. She wanted to know where they came from and what the court system was like. (By the way, feel free to ask questions. Email them directly to 20.vicki@gmail.com)

Vicki mentioned last time about the eight children from Xela that we got because we offered to take a few, trying to help out. They are desperate for places to send children and we are one of the few places still taking them. They tried to send 13 and Pedro pled that we had no beds, only cribs left. We did not want to take too many teenagers at one time. When teenagers come from the courts they have usually been severely abused or out on the streets (probably doing prostitution). A 25% increase in unruly teenagers would have been disasterous but luckily these kids had all been in an orphanage and were well mannered and little trouble. They did , however, come with only the clothes on their backs. The other ones were left at the old orphanage and are unavailable. We have scurried all week to find clothes and shoes and rain gear for these kids. Not to mention the extra money for food.

We seem to be at a critical junction because there will be many, many more children in desperate need of our services as the economy winds down.
Pedro just told us the courts are sending us a malnoruished 3 year old girl tomorrow and a 5 year old girl who has been physically abused by her dad.
We have had rain for 5 days and are told it will contiue for 5 more. First it was tropical Storm Alma coming from the pacific. Now it is tropical Storm Arthur coming from the carribean and going inland. The mudslides have already started and we don't know where it will end. We are trying to increase our storable food supply so anyone who wants to donate grains, cans of meat, dried milk, or dehydrated fruits and veggies, they will be much appreciated.
For those of you who put stuff on the container from Utah, I have had word about it. It has arrived and Julio, the main recepient of the items is trying to gather the money to pay the taxes. They were like $4000.00.
Good news and thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts. The judge told our atty. today she would write the letter we need to unfreeze our passports. He will pick it up tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It has been a soul searching last few days. The first thing that happened was a 50 child orphanage near Xela was closed down due to sexual abuse of children by the male director. At least that is what they said. Now I take everything with a grain of salt. Because sometimes the government just wants to close someone down for political reasons and will use any excuse, real or imagined. So that having been said, we have been asked to take some of the children and they are processing the papers this week. We had to buy some new beds. I found out about this on Fri.
Sat. a gringo man, who works with handicapped children, came by our house to speak with us. He said he comes across children all the time who are handicapped ; don't have parents who can deal with it and need a place to go. Some are at death's door from malnourishment. There is a big orphanage that used to take the kids, but they have reported they can take no more until someone dies. Plus even tho this orphanage is very clean and the kids are well fed, they are left in cribs for 22 hours a day.
Today, the Pensa Libre--the big newspaper for the country--had a one page article on how the children are being abandoned and there is no where for them to go. With adoptions ended many orphanages are closing and are refusing to take the children. It is causing major problems in the cities. Especially no one wants the newborns. They, btw, are my favorites.
I am willing to take any and all of these kids, but need money and supplies and volunteers.
It breaks my heart to see the pictures in the paper of the firefighters holding the infants and toddlers that no one wants. Or to think about the handicapped kids in their cribs 22 hours a day or starving to death in a hammock behind their family's shack. My heart is so sorrowful as I write this because I know I am just one person who can only do so much. But with your help I can delegate and manage a team of people who can do alot. All we need again is money, supplies and volunteers. So please think about it.
I want to thank the people who are contacting me and are working hard to help us to help the kids. You know who you are.
Vicki

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just had a weekly staff meeting and I have to say it went quite well considering almost everything I had to say was hard to hear. First was dealing with the ever challenging lice. The staff had been slack and the lice had gained a foothold that ended with all boys getting baseball cuts and two of the little girls, per the reccommendation of our volunteer doctor. So the first order of business was that the lice be dealt with on a daily basis and the kids hair combed out with lice combs everyday so if any problem develops it is conquered right away.
Second we went thru economic issues. They were going to have to start using cloth diapers and wash cloth wipes. Not a big hit among my staff. And third they could only use two tanks of gas a week as gas has gone up 30% in the last few months. The cooks like to start boiling their water for cooking 30 minutes ahead of when they actually need it so I went over some economic ways to conserve.
They handled it pretty well; perhaps because I had brought them sub sandwiches as a treat.
GOOD NEWS. We hit water in the well at 60 feet still being dug out by hand. They are laying block on the house. We have someone who knows someone in ATandT that may help us get the money for the second building. The two babies are getting FAT. Carlos is walking. We have enough volunteers that the littles get to go for walks everyday. Our volunteer psychologist is being a big help with troubled kids.
We got a new 11 year old boy yesterday and he had been with us one hour before he ran. It took 4 staff people 6 hours to find him sitting on a bus ready to leave for Guate City. They brought him back and he tried to escape by taking out the glass in the window upstairs. We have asked the courts not to send us runners as we have no means to confine them. This boy it turns out has run numerous times and they knew it.
Well gotta go supervise supper for my family.
Vicki

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
















We have been so blessed with donations and volunteers lately. The first picture is off the orphanage van full of all the donations we brought back from Price Smart. Thanks Mike.Then we got a suitcase of boys clothes. Thanks Stacy. Vanessa brought down a bunch of stuff. Little girls clothes, OTC meds, plastic sheets, a kid computer and much more. Sunday we had a touring group of opera singers who left a ton of personal care kids with shampoo, soap, toothbrush, etc.

We just got an intern for 5 weeks from my University. NC State. And in mid July we have 25 volunteers coming for a month to work on the land planting, landscaping, etc. that is in addition to our other already planned groups. It keeps me busy and inspired. And a couple of girls are coming from Utah for a month.

I have a couple of pics of our newest little one. He and Noah stay at my house 3 or 4 afternoons a week. It is alot of fun for us here. His name is Edwin and he was the one folund abandoned on the road. They found a dead baby at the market here just 3 blocks from the orphanage so this week we are trying to figure out how to get the word out so other babies can be dropped at the orphanage door. Pedro is picking up our new one year old tomorrow and taking Fernanda to visit her Mother's grave and bringing back her sister to live with us. We are also supposed to get a 3 year old girl being sexaully abused by relatives.

The pics are not cooperating and going where I want them to, so you will just have to guess what pic goes where. The last two pics are of the building team. One is of the actual builders and the other of my husband and Pedro who are managing the team. My husband will write the building news next.
We hired a maestro de obra to supervise the construction of the first building. He is much like a contractor. For Q200,000 (about $30K) he will handle the labor on the construction that includes everything but the septic, which a volunteer team will do, and the doors and windows. We expect the materials to run another $30K. The building is 10.5 meters square (roughtly about a 1000 sq. ft.) with a second floor and 3rd floor balcony. We had an architect design a building and I changed the layout slightly to eliminate the hall. This first building is a girls' dorm on the ground floor and a boys' dorm on the second.
We want to build a second building adjacent to this one with about the same dimensions. It will house the kitchen and dining area, bodega (storage), offices and classrooms. We expect the cost to be about the same. While we have the money for the first, we need to raise the money for the second. We will need your help here.
We are digging a well--by hand! A hole about 3 feet wide is--as of yesterday--15 meters down which is about 46 feet or so. The soil is very wet and we hope to end about 20 meters. We expect the cost to be about $2000 once it is lined and we buy a pump. One man is down in the hole with a shovel filling a 6 gallon bucket with dirt and rocks. The other man pulls it up with a rope and then lowers it again to repeat the process.
Well gotta go work. Life is definitely interesting here.
Vicki and Jody








Saturday, May 03, 2008

Well I have alot of stories to tell. The first picture is of my adopted baby who turned 3 today. We just had a great birthday party for her. Holding her in the picture is my almost 21 year old daughter who is currently in China teaching English to 4 year olds. She wrote us on Sunday and said she had decided to go on a mission for our church. This will be such a great experience for her.
The next picture is of some of my children standing beside the children of the orphanage gardener. Anselmo has worked for us for 2 years now and his mom is my personal housekeeper. All their money goes to educating their children. Juana, my 70 year old maid, did not go to school and Anselmo, our 38 year old gardener, only went thru 3rd grade. They could use help if anyone feels so moved with paying for Claudia's high school and Alex's middle school. The kids are very conscientious students.
It has been an exciting week here. We started our first building on Monday. We have hired a building team and they are in the process of leveling the ground and will put in the footers next week. Of course, our building is the only one in the last 10 years that had to have building permits, septic permits,etc. in this mini aldea of Los Robles pop. 1000. But we managed to get it all together. We are having a well dug by hand. The diggers are thinking they will only have to go down 8 meters which will be a very cheap water supply. Start raising money now so we can afford to build the second building in 5 months.
The girl on the bridge is Fernanda. She came to live with us 2 years ago when her mom went to jail for drugs and her dad took the 3 younger children and left her, then 12, to fend for herself. The dad, btw, had broken her arm twice before the age of seven. Her mom got out of prison last spring and instead of coming and getting her, left to illegally go to the USA. Fernanda overdosed on aspirin when she heard. Well Tues. was her birthday and her grandfather visited and told Pedro, my director, that her mom had been killed by a drug gang in Guate City two months ago. Shot 15 times. Fernanda is handling it well.
Her grandad loved the orphanage and has asked us to take her 6 year old sister and 9 and 15 year old brothers. They will come next week.



The last picture is of one of my nannies. Eva [ she has a 3 year old with cancer] is holding our newest baby. He came on Thurs. He was left on the side of the road between Los Encuentros and Chichi. People walking by found him. Just born and a premie. He has been in the hospital for a month and now lives with us. What a sweetheart. My husband wanted to name him Edwin for some unknown reason. We came to find out that his legal papers were on his body when found and his birthmom had named him Edwin, much to our surprise.
We are getting a one year old next week when Pedro goes to the city to get Fernandas sibs. I don't know his story yet. Our two month old, Noah, who we got a month ago is now so fat and cute. He is starting to smile at everyone.

Well that's the news.
Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

here are the house pics. the first the baby room. the second the house. the third the kids eating in the kitchen/dining area and the last one of the bedrooms sideways.


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Here is a picture of Evelyn [ on the far left ] the founder of Pan-en-la-Boca with her sister and me [ far right].
We are standing on a hill overlooking beautiful Lake Atitlan. Evelyn was here last week and she and I spent much time planning the work projects for her team of 25 coming in July. They will be divided into several teams of workers. One team will work on the new land with the new construction helping to get the foundation ready for building no. 2 and doing some landscaping. Another will build a bunch of wooden shelves for kids clothes, kitchen equipment and the storehouse for donations. Another will work at the orphanage with the kids and a final one will buy crafts to take back in their empty suitcases [ after donations are taken out ] and sell in the states.

I always love having Evelyn come and she is such a great help to us.
This next picture is of one of our indigeneous families that we help. The four oldest children, Manuel, Rosa, Rolando and Carlos have resided at the orphanage for 2 years now. The mom and dad [ not shown ] can not afford to feed, clothe, or educate them so we do that. We give the parents enough money to come visit once a month. We are supposed to receive their sister Carolina any time now. The mom had a new baby a couple of months ago who died at birth. Manuel and Rosa are top in their class and all the kids are well behaved. Manuel has a great talent for art. I have watched him take a cartoon figure and copy [ not trace ] it onto paper perfectly. I would love to have someone sponsor him for art lessons and bring to him some art books.

The next picture is of Luis an 11 year old here. Luis was abandoned by his mom at age 1 and then raped by his male relatives until age 9 when he was taken by the courts. He has been with us two years. He is a handsome boy and can be very charming. He also has a violent temper [ not unexpected for a child who has gone thru what he has ]. He has a wonderful woman and her parents - in - law who are sponsoring him and wrote him a most inspiring letter. As well as donating to his upkeep. Our psychologist is also working with him.


The last picture is of our new rental house. It is very large inside and we have had alot of compliments on it. It is hard to please the courts in this country so that makes us happy. They came and saw Noah, the infant, the other day and were very complementary about how much he has grown and how well he is being taken care of.


The last thing I would like to talk about is our donators and volunteers. We have really been blessed lately. Evelyn has given us the money to buy two rocking chair for our baby program which were sorely needed and hard to find. While she was here and I was meeting with her, a large group of 12 churches in the states had a womens' work day and made 37 twin and crib blankets, a bunch of flat sheets, personal care kits, school supply bags, and infant gowns. They also donated a 5 by 8 trailer full of second hand clothes, shoes and toys. And an American company working in Guate City picked us as their orphanage to donate all we could haul in our van of new items from PriceSmart [ the Guate City equivalent of Sam's Club/Lowe's building supply ]. Pedro and I were able to load $3500.00 worth of much needed items in 1.5 hours. Holly has collected 77 more midwife kits that will help so much in lowering the infant/maternal death stat in this country and she had a church donate handmade clothing and quilts. In Aug., we have a youth group coming down to dig the septic system for our new buildings. These are just a few of the groups helping helping us out. You can not imagine what it means to us.

Some of our needs are
Money for building
Money to start the pregnancy center/midwife training center; I have spoken with a doctor who will donate her time to design the program along with all the stats we need and Holly, who is a midwife, has volunteered to come and help get it started.
Volunteer teams to work on both.
Our road put in on the new land; we have a Canadian family who has volunteered to do this and another Canadian group who is helping to find funding for it. It is badly needed. I was walking the land yesterday and while going down one of the steep hills I fell and am laid up for a couple of days. Thank goodness nothing broke.A road to walk on and dirve on would help so much.
A volunteer to work as my administrative asst. and get everything and everybody organized on a program such as Microsoft Word Access.

Sorry the picture with the new house disappeared. I am still learning about computers and all they offer.

Thanks to everyone
Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A short blog today as I need to head to a staff meeting. Things are poking along. Pedro, my director, is at his home in Zacapa because his little girl is in the hospital. He picked up four new computers for us this past week-end. My daughter and son went with him because it was at a large orphanage where they are very self-sufficient. Lots of garden veggies, fruit trees and farm animals for both eating by the 250 kids and selling for cash. I wanted my daughter to take pics for me. I will try and post some of them soon.
We are thinking that my husband, who has built many houses in the states, and Pedro, who is good at bossing people around, are going to pair up and hire a crew and order the materials and do the building. It will save us a ton. We have a local man doing free consultation for things we need to know.
We have heard that the government is turning down people who want to open new orphanages and we know many are closing so it makes for interesting thoughts on what the future holds.
I did get a good lead on a doctor woman who wants to help us set up a medical program for both the orphanage and the community so plan to meet with her soon.
Oh yeah the picture. Some of my 4-6 year old gang of boys having preschool at the hogar. My cook is in the background. The kids had their first movie morning today. My 3 youngest here at home went and said it was good.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

I already wrote this once and did something wrong and lost it. So here we go again. The first picture is of my kids. My youngest bio daughter, four of my middle adopted kids and my oldest grandson [ 6 months ]. He and his parents have been visiting.It has been alot of fun having them. They kept our kids so my husband and I could have a night off in Jaibalita at an Inn we love there.
I love having my kids come. My oldest daughter gave birth in the states on Sat. to my fourth grandson under 6 months. He weighed 9.5 pounds. She weighs 120 pounds not pregnant so everyone was amazed. Her husband is in his third year of med school, but they decided to do a home birth with midwife. Sure wish I could be there to hold the whopper, but it will have to wait until we go home in June.

The next picture is the baby nursery. We have cribs for 7 babies. The paperwork is progressing on the two new ones we are supposed to get.

Next is Carlos in his new walker and Abram in his new car. In the middle is my daughter who is 2. The toys were bought with the $1500.00 that Neil, the Eagle scout raised. He also collected 2000 pounds of shoes, clothes and toys. His family is working now to buy a bus to bring everything down. They also are the ones who have committed to building our new road.

The last are some of the orp kids in front of the new rented house. They are ready to leave for school and have on the bookbags some of you donated.

Now for a little Guate news. The big City paper ran a three page article on the starving children of Guate. Gas has doubled in price here since a year ago. That affects us in two ways. One everything including food and building materials cost alot more and two we will need to take more kids. A rather gruesome story was of a baby found dead on the streets of Xela half eaten by starving dogs.
The reason I want to take more babies.

We now have volunteers helping a total of 18 hours a week working with the babies, the middle ones and teaching English. I think I mentioned last week we have a free weekly movie at a local small theater , play and group therapies and music classes going all with volunteer time.

Several people have asked what they can donate so here it is:
1] bactoban and neosporin for skin diseases; lice and also GENTIAN VIOLET which is very cheap. I know it stains permanently purple. I have used it for thrush with my babies and it works better than prescription meds.
2]lice and scabies meds. Can you tell it has been a bad week for skin problems.
3] FORMULA, esp. anti-allergenic and soy, bottles
4] diapers and pampers and wipes
5]good quality clothes and shoes in kids sizes
6]porta crib and twin bed sheets and quilts
7] wall hangings and posters
8] personal care products
9]school and craft supplies
10]OTC meds
11]toys
12] baby seats, walkers, and cars
13] rocking chair
14 ]kitchen supplies : silverware, plastic cups and plates, utensils and pots and pans
CASH< CASH< CASH for building

Oh I forgot, we received 4 new computers this week donated by a Canadian group. Now we just need to build the rooms for the tutorials.
The whole community of Mayan Indians will benefit from this gift. Thanks for the cameras.

thanks so much
Vicki
20.vicki@gmail.com
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Saturday, April 05, 2008

I noticed I had some comments. Finally, I guess some of you are saying, but you have to remember I turned 59 and this computer stuff is still new to me. If my kids have not shown it to me, I don't know about it. So one of you posted, you did not know how to contact me. My email address is 20.vicki@gmail.com. Another one asked about being summer house parents. We really need someone. Yes, you can bring your kids and no, you do not have to speak Spanish. Pedro, my director , is billingual. Your main job would be trying to keep American child raising standards into the orp. An example, next week I have to wrok with the baby staff to teach them to hold the baby when they feed them. Right now they porp all his bottles. But I bring the young ones to my house frequently and the love to be held and bonded to.
Now for the news. Did I mention last time that we heard thru the atty. for one of the big orphanages ,that has been doing close to 150 [ just a guess ] adoptions a year, that they found 5 babies in the trash cans in Xela and more abandoned at the hospital. That orphanage has decided adoptions are not going to start up any time soon. Since they depend on their money from adoptions, they are no longer taking any babies. They asked us this week to take a 2.5 year old girl who is microcephylac and developmentally like a 6 month old. Also they want us to take a 1 month old girl that is exactly the same age as my precious Noah. Anyone that knows me well knows I have always wanted boy/girl twins so that is what they would be. My husband and I went and visited the kids at the orphanage to make sure the 2.5 year would not be too much and she is adorable. We both fell in love immediately so have started the paper process of moving them to our place. It also is a money process, as I have to hire another nanny and pay for more medicals. Anyone who feels moved to help here, please do.
We moved the orphanage to a new location this week. A much better house that looks nicer and is bigger. Can take an extra 20 kids. And the rent was half the price. MY great staff pulled together and got us moved in and settled in 3 days. There is no yard, but it is right next to the big gym used to play basketball and a soccer field and basketball court. Also the only playground in Pana is a block away. I have been talking with a child psychologist from Denmark and she is going to start play therapy with the 4, 5, and 6 year old gang. We have 10 of them now. She and I are going to do a once a week therapy group for 8 of the teens. And she is going to help the orp social worker get social/psychological profiles filled out on each child. Also have lined up the music teacher at my kids school to start music classes at the orp one day a week. Also have got a local ministry that has a small movie room and a million dvds to show a free movie for the orp kids one day a week. We also think our 5 computers have arrived from Canada. We just need to pick them up and then build a room to put them in. More opportunity to help here folks.
Now for the building. Our two builders who we showed the land and the plans have dudded out. One came in with a bid way too high. Get sick of them thinking gringoes are suckers. The other is too slow. Taking over a week to get us a simple bid. But the builder we liked from back in Nov. popped into our house yesterday and said he is available. He gave us a good price back then when we thought we still needed to build the road first and we trust him and he is professional so we are showing him the new on the road location and the new plans on Tues. and hope he can get going asap. Also hope his price is still good. I would like to take a momonet and thank our many helpers. I am unable to write individual thank yous until I have a volunteer who wants to do that job. But we have an architech volunteering his time to try up very professional looking plans and many ladies sending doantions of clothes and materials as well as many some senidng donations of money. We could not do it without you.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Oh well enough philosophying. this last week was eventful. Carlos the baby in the hospital 3 weeks ago broke out with a rash over last week-end and I made the staff take him to a new doctor I want to use. She is not free, but is a pediatrician and good.. He had impetigo and still had bronchial pneumonia.The impetigo came from his stay in the hospital. My dumb staff had been dividing his bottle of amoxicillan with 3 other children with coughs. So I had to get tough [ not easy for me to do ] and give them the word that he was to be isolated with a caregiver for him only and be given his new and better antibiotic religiously. if they screwed it they were in trouble. Then I have had to check it twice a day. I made them take him back on thurs. and he is doing alot better. Monday he goes for a final check and hopefully will get an all clear sign from the doc. Then Thursday I was thrilled to get a newborn. The PGN attorny [ over the orphanages] wanted to give him to a fancy orphanage in Solola, but they would not take him as there atty. has told them not to take anymore babies to show the government that they can not just drop off kids and not compensate. I know the woman who owns and runs this hogar. She said already in Xela, they have found 5 babies in the trash and many more abandoned at the hospitals. Well I had the staff take Noah with Carlos on Thurs and have physical. He had a bad sinus infection so the doc gave him an antibiotic. I also had her run routine tests and they came back HIV pos. The woman who runs the orp in Solola said she had a 5 year old test pos for HIV and then the next day he broke out with measles. When he was over them, his test came back negative. So I have high hopes for him. Jody is not sure he wants him to stay, but I sure do, so he is here for now.
Then we spent two mornings meeting with builders on the land. gosh I love it up there. It is a real aerobic exercise hiking it. I would prefer living there.
I wrote the above on Sunday. Both Carlos and Noah went to the doc on MOn. Carlos is well; over both the impetigo and the bronchial infection. I had him and Noah at the house today for several hours as the orphanage is moving into a much better house until we finish building and it was chaos there. The docs office called my employee about 3 in the afternoon and Roy relayed the message to me. NOAH WAS HIV NEGATIVE. I yelled so loud I know half of Pana heard me. he is way too little to be burdened with so much.
As soon as we finish moving in, I am going to send my social worker to Xela to see what we can do about the abandoned babies up there.

Friday, March 28, 2008




Here are a few more pictures of the last two
days activities . The top one is the new psychologist from Denmark who is volunteering with us. She and I are going to run a childrens' sexual and physical abuse group once a week. I used to do these groups in the USA. She will also be helping us do social/psychological histories on all the kids. The kids in the picture are the children in the orphanage who are in the preschool. The pictures were taken on the roof of our current home . It is the only place we have to hang clothes and do the preschool. We do have a certified teacher who runs it.
The picture of the little girl is Ana Maria. She just had her court date to determine where she will stay. With us or back home to her parents. She told the court psychologist she wanted to stay with us as her parents beat her with pieces of stove wood. pretty big wood to beat such a lttle girl.
The little baby to the left came to live at the hogar yesterday. He is one month old and is malnourished. We sent him for a pediatric visit and he weighs 7 pounds. I kept him yesterday and he has great sucking energy so I think he will be fine. He had no name and the doc made us give him one so it is Noah Dalia. Anyone who would like to sponsor little Noah, he sure needs one. We spent $150.00 yesterday just getting the proper baby equipment for him.
The last picture is of my youngest adopted daughter who could not stand that no one was taking her picture.
Thanks to all our donors. You are a big help.
Vicki






Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This picture is the road the land is on. My husband, Jody, and orphanage director , Pedro are meeting with one of 3 builders to get prices for construction. The buildings will start being built on this part of the property. That is a primary school in the background






Here are some pictures of the new land. the land is on four plateaus that add up to 17 acres. This is the second plateau, not able to be seen from the road, but easily accessible. This is the one we are currently clearing for the gardens. It had corn on it last year. the black area was burnt off. I want to put the cement soccer and basketball and little kids riding area where the black stuff is eventually.

The next picture is of the upper plateau, the one on the road where the buildings will get started being built.



























Here are a couple of pictures for you. The one on the left are the two youngest at the orphanage right now. Carlos and Abram.[ Although we did get a call from the courts that they are sending us a 5 month baby from the hospital in Solola. They are riding in the double stroller that the Eagle scout raised the money for. My daughter bought it in the states, second hand for $50.00 and brought it down. The picture on the right is most of our staff at the orphanage at our weekly staff meeting. The little girls mother works for us and they both live there. The little girl has cancer and has to receive chemo and the mother had not been able to find a job. She is a good worker. Anyone that wants to help her with expenses of the cancer, let me know.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I want to write about a couple of the babies at the orphanage today. This is Carlos . He is 15 months old. This was taken back in Oct. right after he came to the orphanage with his 14 year old mother. He and his mother had a court date a few weeks ago to determine where they will stay on a more or less permanent basis. It might be go back home or continue in our orphanage or go to another orphanage. We knew the mother wanted to go back home and that is what she said when the judge asked her. She must be retarded because she then told him she was getting paid 100Qs to have sex with guys and needed the money, plus she wanted to go back and drink and party with her friends. Well the judge then requested she be sent to an orphanage for prostitutes and the baby stay with us. The mother, who was holding the baby, threw the baby in the air and my social worker barely caught him before he hit the ground. We then brought him back. About that time a flu virus went through the orphanage and Henri the 4 month old baby and Carlos had to be hospitalized. If you come visit us make sure I take you to the local national hospital. I visited several times while those two were sick and it was an experience.
So they came home from the hospital. Henri and his 18 month old brother William were with us a month during which time Henri gained 2 pounds and became somewhat healthy and then the mom wanted them back. Since we had temporary guardianship we could not do anything. She moved to the city with them where there is better prostitution. I went to the states for 9 days and when I got back had company of my kids and grandkids so would just visit the orphanage and make sure everything was running right. I did not like the way Carlos was being cared for as my staff's idea of recovery was to leave him in a crib in a dark room all day away from everyone. I started bringing him to my home everyday and giving him stimulation and fresh fruit juices and yogurt [ to counteract all the antibiotics he got ] and he has made an amazing recovery. One of the hardest jobs down here to retrain my staff. My social worker/nurse got mad at me for giving him fresh air and sunshine and I had to just ignore her. Plus they want to dress the babies like they are in the middle of a -50 degree snowstorm. I will start next week having weekly staff meetings trying to correct alot of the cultural things I find unacceptable; a very hard task as this is what they have done for generations. Women who have just given birth stay in a dark crowded room in a crowded bed for 30 days after birth. Bet they have some serious post-partum depression.Carlos , or Charles, is a doll. Loves to be involved with people and loves the food we are feeding him. My whole family is working with him and he is crawling now and tried to stand yesterday. My husband taught him to say hi.
Another good story. We have paid and bought all the land; 17 acres of farmland. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had the orphanage gardner and all the older boys as well as my two older boys start clearing the fields so we can plant crops. We have several people in mind for builders and hope to get that going soon. I spent 4 hours just hiking the land all the way down to the river, really a stream during the dry season, but I am sure a raging river during the wet. I want to build our house out there so we can be close by. Fruit tress will cost us about $5.00 each and we can grow oranges, lemons, tangerines, apples, pears, avocadoes and peaches. It was a magical place and I fell in love with it.
I really appreciate the donations that were in my home in the states when I got there and which I brought back down with me. laura you sure spent alot of time and money getting the kids some great things. We can't do it without all you wanting to help. Anyone want to come and spend an extended time as an orphanage parent. we sure could use it, esp. this summer when we go home.
Vicki
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

This blog is for you Pud, an attorney friend who helps us work thru this a year ago.
Many of you have been to our old location at Cerro de Oro. We had two small houses and about an acre of beautiful land that had not been occupied for 15 years. We were looking for an orphanage location two years ago when the attorney owner of this property called us and said he heard we were looking for a spot to locate the orphanage. We looked at it, loved the gardens and thought we had enough space to build more buildings and put in a playground. So we did a lease purchase. $20,000.00 for a year and the rest paid at the end of the year when we would get the deed. Well thru out the year, the attorney who owned the property next door kept telling us he owned half of the grass land which would keep us from having a playground. He also had his guardian chase the kids off the property every time they went out to play. So we got a little worried. Our atty. owner kept saying " don't worry ". At the end of the year, I called our atty. owner bunches of times to come from his home in the city out to the lake and let us get the deed straight and buy the land. I had a couple of work teams coming for the summer and wanted to get some work done once we had a deed. Our atty. owner never came or even answered my calls. Finally I concluded he could not give us the property he had promised and convinced my husband we needed to look eslewhere. So we did and found our other acreage. We went home for the summer and the orphanage remained where they were.
When we returned, the atty. owner called me and wanted his money all $100,000.00. I agreed to meet him at the property the next Sat.I went thru the whole above scenario and told him we were not going to buy, but would like to pay a reasonable rent rent until we finished building. He was mad and his reasonable rent was another $20,000.00 for a year on houses that were worth about $500.00 a month total. So I told him no, we would move immediately which we did. We spent time and money replanting grass where all the little feet had trampled it and replaced some glass as well as did clean ups. And then moved on with all the other orphanage crisis.
Well Tues. we , my husband and I, were served with papers to pay about $20,000.00 to this atty. owner. We had 3 days to answer. He also requested our bank accts., the ones that feed the orphanage kids, be frozen and that my husband and I not be allowed to leave the country until it is settled. He also said the orphanage was not properly registered. Man did I freak out. We straigtened the last one out first. The orphanage atty. assured us she had the paperwork to show we were properly registered. Then yesterday we talked to a Pana atty we use to draw up temporary guardianship papers and realized real quick he was out of his league. So I called the American Embassy for a big city atty. and got an answer machine that told me to read their website and leave a message. I did and they have yet to call me back. Then I called a friend who has lived here for 30 years and bought and sold many pieces of land and he gave us the name of a great atty. who also speaks English and is honest and ethical. We drove 3 hours over very bumpy road construction and met with him at 3. His first words after reading the papers were. Man this guy is a real prick. He thought we had a great case, said the judge had already refused to demand we stay in the country and he thought he could keep that from happening. He found 22 ways to overthrow the lawsuit and two criminal charges against this atty. owner. The atty. owner was petitoning the courts to have us evicted and we have not been there since Oct., plus the man was trying to sale us land he did not own. Sure hope it all works out. Hi going to draw up the counter papers on Sat. and deliver them to us on Sun. and then we will take the and file them on Mon.
After that we drove back over the same road work except this time they had dynamited the road and it would not be open until 10pm. Luckily i got out of the car to ask a guatemalan man what was happening and he rode with us and showed us a short cut over very hilly, bumpy dusty roads that got us home by 7.
Our daughter, sil and grandbaby have been visiting and leave today so gotta go. We are suppsed to get a 16 year pregnant with her dads baby and a one month who mom is nuts.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thought you all might find this interesting and also understand my desires to help pregnant women. First before you read the article. let me tell you we got 8 new children this week. Four from a mom who can not support them, all stairstep boys ages 4 to 10, two boys ages 4 and 6, whose mom has taken up with a new alcoholic and can not feed the kids, and two more boys ages 4 months and 1 year, whose mom we think is doing prostitution. She came with the mom of Abraham, Diego and Anna and their mom was beat to a pulp. She is definitely doing prostitution. Some really good news. Abraham is walking and now comes up to me and tugs at my pants and goes abuela, abuela the whole time I am at the hogar. Anna and Diego have started kindie.
We have heard that there are many abandoned babies in the hospitals now that adoptions have closed down in Guatemala. We verified this from several sources. Our social worker will be talking with some of the hsopital social workers on Mon. The orphanages that used to take them won't any more as they can not make money off adoption. I will take some, but need the financial help of all of you. We have also heard stories that some of the smaller orphanages are turning thier kids into the government as they can not afford to keep going.
Well here is the article on what birth is like for the Mayan women that live around the lake.
The Crisis Pregnancy centers in GA, USA donated many items to help these women. We are so grateful. Also we have some sterile birthing kits coming the end of the month to give to the midwives. Also we had tour groups recently who left enough money to pay for a stove, a double stroller, shoes and bunkbeds for the new kids. We could not do this without you.

ARTICLE ON CHILDBIRTH AMONG THE MAYANS
Childbirth isn't an easy process for any woman, but an article I came across this morning highlights the problems women, mostly Indigenous women, face in rural Guatemala. Part of the problem is poverty, made worse by machista attitudes towards pregnancy and childbirth
....in Guatemala, where 1 in every 71 women who becomes pregnant during her lifetime dies from causes associated with pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period. In the Latin America-Caribbean region that's second only to Haiti, where the risk is 1 in 44. Often women in difficult labor are carried down in a hammock by menfrom the 16-family community, a journey that takes about two hours. Once they reach the nearest passable road, they could try to flag down a ride. But more often they would still have to walk the rest of the way as well, taking at least another four hours.

A recent trip by the The U.N. Population Fund identified four demoras, literally delays, that contribute to the maternal health crisis.
First, the woman and her caregivers don't always recognize that there's a problem in time to act.
Second, once a problem is recognized, the woman often seeks thepermission of her husband, mother-in-law or other family member to go to the doctor or hospital. If she doesn't get it, she doesn't go.
Third--and widely agreed to be the most difficult to change--are thelogistics of lining up proper transport. Small communities often onlyhave one vehicle.
The fourth demora is making sure that women receive proper attentiononce they reach the hospital. If a clinic does not deliver top-notchcare, a woman's health may be endangered even if she makes it to thehospital.Some of the solutions being offered up seem logical, like using local midwives, training them to recognize signs of problems, and providing them with clean birthing kits. But instead of attempting to do some sort of mass education campaign so that women take charge of their own health decisions, community men are being trained to step in to urge women to seek help and are even armed with the power to give permission for the women to seek help.
I understand the need to deal with the immediate, provide sanitary conditions, create more local birthing centers, set up transport systems, etc. but once those problems are adequately dealt with, I still fear women waiting to get the go ahead from their male partners to take care of themselves.
Via / Women's e News
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Monday, February 11, 2008

First news. To everyone I sent an email to yesterday about the container being sent to Guatemala from Springville, Utah. It is not going out until next week and my contact person Marcie Williams is going to let me know details soon and I will then post them.
Second news. My third little grandson was born fri. night. He is a doll and my husband and I will travel to the states in a couple of weeks to visit him. That is my third grandson since Oct. No. four grandson is due in Mar. Isn't that awesome. First six little grandaughters in three years and then four grandsons in 6 months. We start grandaughters again in Sept. when my daughter and sil adopt our first grandchild of color. Since we are a family of many colors we are excited.
Third news. I spent two hours meeting with the woman government atty. who is over our orphanage today. It was exhausting, but I thought it went well.
We are getting 10 new children this week from parents who can not feed or educate them.
A woman showed up at the orphanage today with a 3 month old and a one year old, Henry and William. She is a friend of the mother of three other children we have. Abram, Diego and Anna. Their mother is now doing prostitution and she was all beat up. It was so sad. The two new babies come on Weds. as the mom had to go get their birthcert. and other legal papers so we can have an atty. do everything right. Tomorrow 3 children 1, 4 and 6 are coming because their dad and mom have abandoned them for other partners. Thurs. a sib set of four ages 4, 6, 8 and 10 are coming because both their parents are dead and no one can support them. And one day this week the 5 year old sister of Manual, Rosa, Rolando and Carlos is coming. There are still two more younger than her and the mom is due with another one anyday. We had to buy more beds and another high chair.
We can use many things, esp. cash for the building fund.
thanks everyone
Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org

Saturday, February 02, 2008





I am getting better about these blogs and I think I have gotten the picture thing together after another visit and another orund of instructions from my computer guy. This is my 17 year old daughter who lives here in Guate with us and another one of my grandchildren. My granddaughter in this picture is 19 months today. Can you tell I miss my grandkids.


Anyway another exciting week at Lake Atitlan and the orphanage. The orphanage was basically the same old feed the kids, clean, wash send kids to school, pick up kids from school, have tutor help with homework, more cooking, washing clothes and cleaning. That is good that we had no emergencies. We had something wonderful happen in the states. A GA. crisis pregnancy center was praying about who could use alot of donations she had that she could not use. I was having my own conversations with my Heavenly Father about helping the pregnant women and children who so desperately need help here on the lake. Somehow the two of us came together and the GA people are bringing a van load of donations to my home in the states. I will bring them here the end of Feb. and we will officially begin a program to try and lower the infant/maternal death rate here among the Mayans. This week I am going to Jaibalito and bring food and clothes to some severely malnourished children and to San Marcos to hunt up the four children who went home from our orphanage to their alcoholic parents two weeks ago. I want to see how they are doing and take them food and clothes. I will try and take some pictures for you.

The other picture is of our beautiful lake and one of the three volcanoes surrounding it. Here are a couple of stories that let you know what life here is like.

We lost our electricity early Friday morning. The problem was a tree that fell on the power lines about a mile from our house. The cleanup crew came with chain saws to remove the tree but were soon overwhelmed with the African killer bees that moved into the area several years ago. We heard stories of 1, 4 and 15 workers being rushed to the hospital. The bees apparently ate the meat of the tree and weakened it. We're not sure of the number but did see the ambulance barreling by. We finally did get lights again about dusk.

And then for the Guatemalan version of the Keystone Cops: But at a local cafe we heard The rest of the story. A local man was kidnapped riding in a tuk-tuk and taken to a seedy hotel in town. He managed to escape his ropes and the hotel and called the cops. They swished down on the hotel just after the kidnapped evacuated. The cops found only a couple having an illicit lunch rendevous and arrested them and them made the local papers.

We did hear a more upbeat story about kidnapping and Americans. A year or so ago an American was taken in the city but the FBI was called in and in short order they got their man. In general, American make good kidnappees because of that very reason.


Thursday, January 31, 2008



Here is a pic of Jody and I when we were in the states for the first grandson's birth.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We are officially back in Guatemala. While we were gone the orphanage had to move again as the original place we rented in Panajachel ran out of water. The courts started harassing us about no water; as if we were not smart enough to know we needed water for 35 kids. We also had to let an employee go who was not following employee rules and he called in lies about us to the courts. So basically poor Pedro and Olympia and the rest of the staff dealt with one inspection after another. Finally they seem to be over. When I went to visit the first day everything looked good and clean, new house and kids. I brought down impressive presents for the kids for all you wonderful folks who sent things to my house in VA. The kids sure did love them.
Then the land we are buying had problems. The 10 acres is fine; bought and paid for. The next 6 acres that is on the road was supposed to be paid for one third now and two thirds in a year. This was so we could start building and have enough money to build. Well everything was signed at the attys. office and then one of the brothers we bought from went nuts and went to his sisters house with a shotgun and told her he did not like the deal she worked out. Today Jody and I went up to the land to see it and talk with the sister. I gave Bethany, my college daughter who was watching the kids, instructions for what to do with the kids if her dad and I did not make it back. Just partly kidding. As you can tell we made it back. We are just going to pay the other two thirds in the next week and be done with the fighting and have the road front land set to work on. We decided to start our buildings there as it will be cheaper and wait to build the road to the bottom land when our Canadian donors who want to build the road come down. Hopefully the money will flow in as fast as it flows out. The bottom land will be great for farm crops and I made contact with a man in the states who will buy all the sun-dried tomatoes we can raise. But that will happen another day.
I was sick the first week we were here and did nothing except get my children started back in school and visit the orphanage. I have been wanting to start some other programs here as there is so much need. Mon. 18 wonderful people from the states came to Panajachel and brought things for the orphanage. While they were visiting, the Mayan representative came to the hogar with the mother of four of our children there. The mother also brought her 1 month old baby. Her four older childlren had been taken from her because she and the father are alcoholics and left the children totally neglected. None of them went to school and the oldest boy was used to beg from people. For some reason, these children were sent back to the parents. They were crying. They were pulled out of school to go with them and looked so neat and clean. Next week I am going to visit them with our social worker. I want to start a program where we help the children in the family home as many of them never leave there. I need funds to set aside for food and meds to take to these families and to give out to families in the community. We can use the the local Mormon church to give it out and I am assured we will have plenty of people. I want to focus on the children and pregnant women as infant and maternal mortality is so high. I over heard another story while eating out the next day. It was about a baby who had not nursed in several days and a gringo man gave the mom money to take the baby to the doctor. The dad took the money, bought alcohol and told the mom to wait a few days to take the baby. The baby died. This kind of thing happens all the time as dads seriously dominate moms here and kids are not on the important list. I want to be able to hand out formula and pediolyte and pay doctors for children who need it. I need funds for this. The next day I was having lunch out [ no I do not eat out everyday just these two ] while my 20 year old daughter was having some dental work done. When I and the two little ones with me finished, there was some food left. An old lady [ probably my age, but she looked alot older ] came up to try and sell me some trinket I did not want. It dawned on me she was lusting after my left over food so I asked her if she wanted it. You would have thought it was Christmas. I got a bag for her and she bagged it and took it. Obviously the old people can use some help too. Again I need funds to try and get more food out to these desperately poor people. So these are my new programs. At the present they are just running around in my head mostly from lack of funds, but if you feel so inspired.......
We hope to actually start buildings for the orphanage in about two weeks. Finalize the land and a builder, make sure the water spigots work on what we bought and run an electrical line and go forward. We have wonderful support from a variety of people. Another tour group with donations the first of the month. A man with Rotary money checking us out to help build a tutorial room for our orp kids and community kids, a man bringing dentists the end of Feb. We love the volunteer teams who come with donations and emotional and physical help. The team last Monday was great and Ryan Williams who lead them to us and repeatedly brings us help is always welcome. Ryan brought a $100.00 raised by a young man doing his eagle scout project. We are using the money to buy a new stove. Our old one only has two burners that work. I am also buying a stroller for my two youngest at the hogar so they can go to the playground with the other kids. Also some riding toys for the little ones. Our youngest is carlos david. He has captured my heart. He is 14 months and has a 14 year old mom at the hogar with him. He was very malnourished when he came, but now looks healthy and contemplative. I took him with me yesterday and bought him a cookie and got the sweetest smiles out of him.
Well will write regularly again.
I have two new grandsons, one born in Oct. and one born in Dec. I got to spend wonderful time with them both as well as the beautiful little granddaughters. I have another grandson due in Feb. and another in Mar. Four grandsons in 6 months. To add to my 6 granddaughters. And a new adopted granddaughter in Sept. I am certainly blessed.
Vicki
http://www.safehomesforchildren.org