- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.fBBcEurs.dpuf Casa de Sion: March 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Well Joel has gone home until the end of April and the blogs are back to me. i have some great pictures and great news, but first thought you might like to see what happens to missionary type families when family members come to visit. So here are some pictures and a little bit of story on what our family does down here with family visitors.
The pictures are numbered from the bottom down.
1. a picture of my husband and I with our grandchild Jake. We are redoing our blogspot and this picture will be on the about us page. The blog will be shut down for a few days while it is being redone. Thanks to Erin and Meredith for all their work on this.
2. next is a picture of Joel and his wife Carol when Carol came to see where Joel will be spending half his time.
3. three of my kids on an excursion trip to find an organic gardner to get our gardens going in Los Robles so we can provide food for more people. Gardens should go in in May. We are also building a guardian small house to safe guard the veggies and the chickens from being stolen. Third world reality.
4. my future sil Will [ connected to my daughter Hannah ] working on fixing the child's walker we have at Los Robles for the many disabled kids we work with. Will had come to officially meet us and fell in love with some of the kids and gave out glasses to some of the old ladies. He made a walker for Angel to take home with him.
5. My daughter Hannah holding our newest downs boy to join our program. He is almost 4 and does not walk, talk or see very well. He needs specialty glasses. Hannah was watching him so his mother could participate in the women's program. He held on so tight to her that she had scratches all over her neck by the time her babysitting job ended.
6. My daughter Flossie holding her son and my grandson Carson. Carson is 3 and loved going to Los Robles to visit our programs while his mother worked there.
7. Flossie's littlest boy, Cooper, holding one of my twins. This is Lilli froom the boy.girl twin set who were born back in May and adopted by the local midwife. Flossie would adopt one of these beautiful little girls in a heartbeat if adoptions every opened back up
8. the soon to be wed couple on a family outing to the lake. All 9 of us living here, Flossie and Chris and their two and Hannah and Will in a 12 passenger van. Luckily in Guatemala, no one cares
9. One of the stops we made on our way to the lake. Quite the juxtaposition. Stopping to see a family we help with food, clothes and school on our way to see the beautiful lake and have a family dinner at a nice restaurant in Santiago. This family has no electric, no clean water and sewage running thru the teeny, tiny yard 3 feet from the beds they sleep in on their dirt floor.
We enjoyed our family visitng as the hardest part here, besides the safety issues, is missing the kids and grandkids. We loved showing them the work we are doing. What we do here is a family venture and all my kids contribute to it in their own way. Flossie's husband Chris, who is a barber, cut all our hair while here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2000 Children Die in Guatemala in 2010

Over 2000 Guatemalan children died of hunger in 2010

According to a report presented Friday by the national Ombudsman office, more than 2,000 children under 5 died in Guatemala during the first 10 months of 2010 as a consequence of illnesses caused by malnutrition.

The report is based on statistics from the Epidemiology Center of the Public Health Ministry covering the period from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2010.

“It’s worrying that mortality from hunger is double that of deaths from violence. Thousands of children are estimated to be at risk and there is no sufficient effort being made to save them from this grave situation,” Ombudsman Sergio Morales told the media.

The report also noted that eighty-four percent of the children died at home, without any kind of medical care and that most of the deaths were due to respiratory infections and diarrhea, ailments caused by high levels of malnutrition.

Ministry figures show that one in every two Guatemalan children under 5 suffer from malnutrition, as a consequence of the poverty and extreme poverty in which more than 52 percent of the country’s 14.4 million inhabitants live.

Most of the children who died were concentrated in provinces that make up Guatemala’s “dry corridor,” a strip that runs through the country from east to northeast, which during the last two years has suffered intense droughts blamed on climate change.

Important Info from a Haitian Missionary's Blog

Thinking through STM
STM = Short Term Missions/Missionaries
LTM = Long Term Missions/Missionaries

Below are random (but true) examples:

A.) Team comes to visit. They go on a walk through the small village they are visiting. One boy speaks English. Everyone migrates to him because he can be communicated with easily. He asks for a bike. One man in the group tells the boy offhandedly that he can have a bike. STM gets to be the hero and make promises. For two years the boy asks the LTM why the bike has not arrived. He does not forget that the white guy said he could have it. The LTM has to field the requests for delivery on the STM promise.

B.) A bike arrives for one kid in a village of 700 kids. A well meaning STM sent it because they really love their child they sponsor in the feeding/school program and they want him to have a bike. The LTM begs the ministry partners in America not to force them to give that bike. The LTM fears the trouble it will cause. The ministry wants to make the donor of the bike happy. They say the LTM must give the bike and take photos. The boy gets the bike. The donor gets the photos. The donor is happy. The boy gets beat up and his bike gets stolen by bigger older boys that are angry that the mission did not give them bikes.

C.) A STM group comes in wanting to help build houses. The LTM suggests they work with Haitians and get their input. The LTM makes many suggestions based on the years in country and the things they have learned about the culture and its building practices. The STM wants to build the house according to their practices and styles of building. They force their way of building onto the group of Haitians they are building the house for and refuse to believe that the Haitians way of doing it has any merit. They finish the house and take many photos of their good work to go home and show their church proudly. The following Sunday the group is sharing their photos at church and the Haitians are tearing off the roof of the house and re-doing the way that they prefer.

D.) A STM group focused on medical care come to offer a one-day free clinic. Word gets out that the team will give out peanut butter if you say that you have a child at home that is anemic. Suddenly every child in the village is anemic.

E.) STM group comes in to host a VBS not having any cultural context or awareness. Gifts are given all week. The kids continue to come to see what gift they will get. Songs are sung and taught in English. The kids speak Creole. A large number of children are "saved" the group does not know that four other STM groups have come through that year and the kids now know that praying for Jesus to come into your heart equals a congratulatory gift.

F.) A STM comes to distribute food. They don't have relationships in the area they are distributing. They don't know what is needed. They don't know who else has worked in that area prior to them. They hand out food for two hours only to realize that there are 300 people that did not get food waiting outside. Fighting starts between those that got food and those that didn't. The group is forced to tuck tail and run before they get stuck in the middle of a fight.

These are just a few examples among dozens and dozens. Haiti is close and easy to visit from the USA. More STM trips happen here than any other country in the world. Since the earthquake teams have increased. Every week - all year long - team after team visits Haiti. Some come to "save" and tell and some come informed and ready to learn and observe. Some come thinking that relationship doesn't matter and they walk around handing out $5 bills and gospel tracts and some come to sit and listen and learn. Some come trying to be aware of what others before and after them will do and others come thinking that what they do matters more to Haiti than any single thing that ever happened here.

A while back we went to a conference where one of the speakers was the author of "When Helping Hurts - How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself". If you are coming to Haiti or Africa or Asia or Guatemala or Timbuktu we think it is wise to read it.

I don't believe the man who offered the bike ever meant to cause so much trouble for the LTM or the kid. I don't believe the VBS group meant to pay kids with gifts to become Christians. I am fairly certain that many groups have not considered that they are one of thousands of STM groups that will come to Haiti this year. I don't think groups come here wanting to foster dependency and send a message that Haitians cannot do things for themselves. Sadly, for many many years we've been doing just this. Not because we wanted to - but just because we came in with the wrong attitude.

Many people, ourselves included, come with good intentions. It is important for us to recognize where we have failed and attempt to learn from our mistakes. We need to realize that good intentions are often times not enough and in the end we might do more harm than good. All of our pride needs to be laid down. Short or long term, we need to be completely open to learning from those that have been here even longer.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Odds and Ends

Here are some pictures of the students that a few of you are paying for their schooling. Look at these kids and realize that except for you they would have been able to only go to school thru 6th grade. Now they are in 7th, taking typing classes and going to school with an elite group of kids. Kids who are trying to have a better education and better job possibilities. Our teacher, Gil, at Los Robles has tried his best to maake sure that the kids want to continue on into middle school. Gil knows alot of parents can not afford it and so the kids will quit. Now that money is not the factor , these select few will keep going. This is an added benefit to our after school tutoring program. Nueva Victoria told us they had 10 students graduate from 6th grade last year and that none of them were going to middle school because of funding. We told them we would try and help, but they could not generate enough interest among the parents for them to even come to a meeting. Next year tho will be different. After a year of having two dedicated teachers working with the kids every afternoon and stressing the importance of education, Nueva Victoria will be ready to have some of their kids go on to middle school. They will then need funding. All the LR students are required to help in our programs in trade for the help we give them. The girls wash dishes or laundry. The boys work in our gardens.
The other pictures are of two girls who need medical help. The picture with two little girls is a sweet one , huh. Both girls had been helping in the kitchen after the elementary feeding program. They love washing the dishes and cleaning up and were so proud of themselves. The one on the left has one leg that is several inches shorter than the other. She needs elevated shoes or her spine will eventually give her much trouble. I figure the cost will be $150.00 as it will require a trip to the city and specialized shoes. Angelina is a sweetheart if you want to help her.
Wendy is the girl in the picture by herself. She is 7. She has juvenile rheumatory arthritis. The picture of the swollen knees are of her also. Her elbows and neck and every other joint is swollen too. If you want to help Wendy, she will be grateful . Her meds are quite expensive. We had a doctor and med student visit last week who left us with prednizone for Wendy. they also left us with many bottles of high calori preemie formula. I took it yesterday to Jeremias, our little downs twin. His mama will feed it to him to help him with weight gain. I am happy to report that he is already looking heavier and better since he now has all the formula he needs. After this special formula, maybe he will be gordo [ spanish for fat ] Keep in mind, there is no WIC program or free health care that will supply htese kids with their meds and special shoes. Their families make less than $2.00 A DAY SO UNLESS WE HELP, THEY DO WITHOUT.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Happenings at Nueva Victoria

Nueva Victoria is moving up in the world. When we were out there 3 weeks ago , we had a meeting with the committee [ the governing group of the aldea ] or in other words the men of power for the community. Usually it is men. We were talking to them about starting our elementary school children's feeding program and the possibility of starting a tutorial program. Our meeting was successful. They were very interested in starting both programs. We promised the feeding program would start right away. The children up there looked terrible. Not just dirty. Weepy eyes and noses oozing infection. Children dragging around imploring you with their eyes to feed them. The tutorials meant we had to hire a teacher.
We had a coincidental meeting there when we met the new Guatemalan director of Pencils of Promise. Noah's group is planning to build a new school there. We are hoping to work in partnership with them where they build the school including a kitchen. We come in afterwords and start our programs. First the elementary feeding program, then the elementary tutorial program and then the mama/tot feeding program. By following Noah's group, we save the $25,000.00 that we would need to put into the buildings for our programs and can use the money for more programs.
We have hired a teacher for the tutorials up there. His name is Manuel Alfredo. He came to Los Robles and trained with Gil for a week learning to teach the kids about basic hygiene and manners as well as academics. He has started at Nueva Victoria. We have over 100 children in the elementary feeding program up there 3 days a week and that many in the tutorial program each day. Today we are hiring a helper for Manuel. When we were up there last Weds., the children were already looking healthier. I have pictures of all this that will go on a later blog. And we met another group that is building part of the school. The Sienna Foundation is building the first 3 rooms and Noah's group is building the kindergarten and the kitchen. All of this will help us with our programs. Next step in Nueva Victoria is funding for the mama/tot program. Gosh is it needed. Right now we need school supplies bad and shoes.
Pictures are of the committee, my husband sitting in the committee meeting and part of Noah's group checking out the places to build.
thanks for helping us.