- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.fBBcEurs.dpuf Casa de Sion: August 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Self Sufficiency

We are big proponents of self sufficiency.  We think the poor should be cared for, but we also hope that they will one day be able to care for others.  Welfare should be short term.  With that in mind we strive to not handicap those we are helping by making them dependent on us.  We are hoping that the babies we feed will go to school, that the school kids we tutor will continue to highschool and the highschool scholarships we pay for will lead to leaders in the community and stable families and that some day, we will not be needed.

In that spirit, here are some pictures of the scholarship students from Chutiestancia doing the work they do in return for the scholarship they receive.  This Saturday they are clearing some of the land at Los Robles.  The boys brought their own machetes and the girls picked up everything they cleared.


Our students

If any of these great kids stand out to you let me know, because they will need scholarships again in a couple months.

Thank you for helping us help these kids!

Friday, August 24, 2012

From Sex Trafficked Child To Child Advocate: Into Another World


Into Another World


"These memories are 22 years old. At the time "Child sex trafficking" were not words being used by people in the field of child abuse. Words like "multi-perpetrator" and "ritual abuse" and "satanism" were the politically correct words for the kind of abuse I was remembering. Today, August,23,2012, after having read many stories of children used in the sex trade, I know that this is what was happening to me. My dad and his buddies had a for-profit business going on and me and other kids were the commodities they were offering. The masks, rituals and satanic symbols were just a way of instilling fear into us children and helping the abusers believe that what they did was okay. But the johns were ordinary men and some women who were attracted to kids and had found a way to live out their fantasies.  This was just one of the groups my father had me in that sold kids for sex. Over the next 8 years there would be 6 more, all different and all with their own bents for evil. The one thread they had in common was the sale of kids for sex.The memories are being told as they were remembered including the language that we used at that time."


These new memories came more slowly and took much longer to process.  One of the hardest parts was determining whether they were real.  Sexual abuse was easy to understand and it was validated by the men she knew in her men's group.  Even though people did not want to talk about it, everyone knew it was going on.  Estimates ranged from 25% to 40% of adults were sexually abused as children.  But this was something different; it stretched credulity.   Aside from the one group leader--no one we knew had heard of ritual abuse; it wasn’t real.


The emotional strain on Vicki was certainly real—much more so than the memories of sexual abuse.  To be raped by half a dozen men at a gathering was not unusual.  And the fact that she had been handed over to the group by her father invoked more shame.  But there was also torture and violence in these groups.  In another memory of the Hawaii group, she witnessed the leader call one of the women into the center of a circle of members.  “You told!” he railed at her, “you know what you must do.”  The leader handed her a large knife and she stabbed herself in the stomach.  “This is what happens to people that tell,” he intoned to the group.  With the hindsight of twenty years on this memory work,  I don't  know if this happened for real.  I know it seemed real to me as a child and that was the terror that I remembered some thirty-five years later as an adult.  Real or not it was meant to instill fear and it certainly did that.  It was a potent form of brainwashing.   The feelings of needing to stab myself in the belly were so dangerously real.  But my maternal feelings of needing to protect my unborn baby were stronger and I knew I could never hurt her.  After this memory Vicki, more than once, was grateful for being pregnant.  While an incident 35 years old in a very dimly lit past seemed to hold an immense amount of sway on her present life, there was no way she was going to kill her own baby.


As winter deepened Vicki was unable to make therapy sessions in either direction.  With spring she made a couple more sessions with Isaac before closing down therapy for the birth of her baby.  Isaac was initially puzzled by these new memories and seconded her notion to postpone any memory work until after the baby was born.   But her memories had their own schedule.  As a present to herself after the baby was born, she bought a set of expensive cotton sheets for our bed.  They had a rich and colorful tropical floral print and as soon as she put them on our bed she knew she had made a mistake.  She was reminded of Hawaii and the jungle where the meetings were held.   A series of flashbacks came and more horrific nightmares.   Those sheets went off our bed and were not used for several years.


When she returned to Isaac in mid-summer, his attitude was different.  He had been reading about ritual abuse because another of his clients was revealing similar recovered memories.  He did not want to work with Vicki anymore, ending the relationship of over two years abruptly.  The truth was that Isaac was afraid.  Like Vicki, Isaac wondered whether her father was still involved.  Therapists were often a target of these groups.  And when Vicki came home with that bit of startling information, she was more terrified than ever.  Isaac had been her trusted talisman and now she didn’t have a counselor to help and guide her.  Besides, if Issac was scared enough to drop me, I knew there was good reason to be afraid.  Isaac was ex-military and packed a gun.   Life was so hard at that point, surrounded by fear--it was part of every waking moment and impossible to explain.  Also, I was taking care of a houseful of 8 kids and getting little sleep at night, becoming more and more undone.   Jody, angry and confused that things were getting worse and not better, was always there to do memory work with me, no matter how strange, but he could not do night duty--and that was the time I dreaded.   The routine of housework and the love of family kept me going.  The kids were always needing love and attention and giving lots of love in return. 


One of the main differences between the incest work and this new memory work was the level of fear.  According to her memories it had been programmed into her from her childhood.  If she ever told, she needed to self-destruct and if she didn’t they would come after her and do it themselves.  And now she was telling.  It was usually only me she was telling as I listened to her remember out of the forgotten abyss of her childhood, but she was breaking the silence.  Fear swept through our lives.  While I was less fearful than Vicki, she had enough for the both of us and more.  Was her father still involved?  We didn’t think so but we didn’t know for sure.  For the first time in our lives she locked the doors each night and paid careful attention to where the kids were at all times.  Could our phone be tapped?  These men from her past were her father’s age.  Had they been keeping up with her all these years?  How much did they know about our lives?  Were our kids in danger?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bottles and Breast

Most of you have probably heard of the great debate between breast and bottle.  Some of you probably have very strong opinions.  Well, we are going to give you a change to express those opinions (monetarily that is).  We first started the formula program because of a baby who died while we had containers of formula sitting in our storage, we vowed that no other child in Los Robles would die from malnourishment.  We started handing out formula and now have 100s of babies (in 3 plus communities) that are getting proper nourishment.  Most of these babies get half formula/half breast milk, some get all formula--but the deciding factor for the mother's is not which is best, it is DOES she have a choice.  Most of the women in our program are so malnourished that they are not producing milk. 

When Katie and Vicki (both big promoters of the breast) were in Guatemala last month they talked about how to help more women breastfeed their babies.  It was decided that we will offer food incentives to  the women already in our programs who want to try to exclusively breastfeed.  We are also accepting new moms but not putting their infants on the formula program.  We are weighing each child and then if the child is not gaining weight then they will be given formula, but if they are gaining the mother will be enrolled in our feeding program (which will provide lunch 3/days week).  If she does not live close to a feeding program then she will be given incaparina for herself.  We are hoping this will make a healthier mother and baby.

Katie and her group are working on getting their local Le Leche League involved.  

So how can you help (monetarily that is)?  Donate of course.  If anyone wants to sponsor a breastfeeding mom is is $30/mth.

Silver lining--it is WAY cheaper to feed the mom then buy the formula for the baby--this would allow us to include more moms in the program.  You can also help by talking to your local Le Leche League about donating or helping sponsor a fundraiser.  Please let me know if you are interested in sponsoring a breastfeeding mom (or if you are already sponsoring and want your money to go towards that just shoot me an email).

Monday, August 06, 2012


Back in June we posted about a little boy Eduardo, he is 3 years old.  Eduardo cannot hear, the hearing aids that he needs cost $2000.  (Dr Peter told us that the hearing aids would enable him to hear load noises and things that might be dangerous to him.)

We have not received any help for Eduardo, but luckily for him things have changed a little.  We have found a school in Panajachel for hearing impaired children.  We believe that if he attends this school they will help with the hearing aid he needs (not to mention sign language and all the other education he will receive).  His family can not afford the transportation to school everyday.  It will cost them $20/mth in transportation.  Can anyone help with this?

His mother is very active in advocating for him, so we feel confident that if we can get him to this school she will be able to get the rest of what he needs.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


 July was a great month for us in Guatemala.  Katie from Humanitize Expeditions came to us twice.  First she brought a group of teenagers who did their part to effect change, while they experienced the 3rd world.  They helped out with our programs, did arts and crafts, visited the new villages and prepped for the next group by weighing kids and taking stats at the clinic.  They kept a great blog and each kid wrote about an experience--you should read it, the world through the eyes of a teenager is always a little more entertaining.

After a week the kids left and Katie returned with a medical team and they held clinics all week in Los Robles and in the other three villages where we have programs. (Again, they kept a very detailed blog.)  They had lines and lines and saw hundreds of people.  Here are a few highlights. 

 Below there are a few pictures from their trip to Maria del Carmen--they went twice (to make sure they got everyone and to see some that needed to be seen twice), they handed out hygiene kits and got stats on all the kids.  (I pulled the following from their blog) "We saw a total of 28 people by 3 PM (we arrived at 10 AM) and passed out 17 goody bags composed of vitamins and tums to people who were still waiting to be seen. An elderly man and his wife came in right as we were passing out vitamins; he was an 80 year old blind man who was so grateful when we gave him some anti-diarrhea pills. Unfortunately,  no matter how many people we saw, it didn’t seem like we did enough. It was frustrating to see the problems with their village and want to do more, but we couldn’t. As we were leaving with people surrounding our car, the tears started. Julie, Tristyn, and I had tears rolling down our faces".

On the way home from Maria del Carmen they stopped to see Lucia in Nueva Victoria.  Below is a picture of Lucia, she has a heart problem. The medical team ran some test on her including an echocardiograma. Now they have to do a "cateter test"--it was going to be done last week but they found a sever infection in her teeth, so they reschedule it for August 21st.  
She has to go back to Guatemala City for these test.
They also visited Nueva Victoria and Chutiestancia.
There was a mother's program in Chutiestancia, the stats are as following.
91 mothers attended.
We gave 234 pounds of incaparina for 117 children.
We gave formula to 21 kids.
We gave eggs to 9 pregnant women.
And we served 293 LUNCHES.

They also had lots of fun eating Dominga's yummy food, touring the neighboring town and enjoying the culture.  Thank you Katie and teams!  We are so grateful for you and all you did, you made a huge difference and we can't wait for you to come back.

(read it all at http://www.humanitizeexpeditions.blogspot.com/)

If you or someone you know if interested in a trip to Guatemala let us know.  We are set up for groups or individuals (medical or other types of service).  Our housing is safe and very affordable (and includes meals).  There is lots of fun tourist stuff to do nearby and most important there are amazing people to serve.