- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.fBBcEurs.dpuf Casa de Sion: January 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blessed are Those Who Help with Specail Needs

Blessed are those who help those with Special Needs

Most of us are used to the many handicap specifications that are built into our society.  There are elevators in the airports next to the escalators and wide stall doors in the bathrooms as well as ramps for easy wheelchair access all over.  Our society, by law, demands that we make accommodations for many different kinds of special needs.

But we found out when Vicki broke her ankle down here in Guatemala that our sentiment toward the disadvantaged is not universal.  Neither one of us will forget the ride home on the airline.  After being promised the utmost courtesy over the phone, she was rudely treated by the Latin airline staff.   When she complained they threatened to kick her off the flight.  She had to keep her leg elevated on top of my knee for the four hour flight.  When we arrived at Dulles, an American announced to the entire shuttle that Vicki was to disembark first.  But as soon as he left and the door opened, we were pushed back in our seats by Guatemalan throng and forced to wait to the very last for our own safety.  Vicki absolutely refuses to fly Taca again.

There is no safety net for the poor here.   While there is a National hospital system that does help without cost, it is not free because of the many other services that are often beyond the pale for most of the indigent in Guatemala.  You must bring your own food to the hospital, medicines and auxiliary procedures are not necessarily free and you must have a family member be the nurse because that service is not included.  Neither is transportation or the cost of an overnight stay if you are not being treated in-hospital.

With this knowledge and a heart for the many special needs kids that come to our programs, we try to help get medical treatments for the poor that we often take for granted in the States.  For you that support a medically fragile child here, know that sometimes you are literally a lifesaver but always a good Samaritan.

On Vicki’s first visit to the Momma’s and Tot’s program this year she had a ready line of those asking for help.  First was Eli (his name is way too long to write).  He was two months old and his head was the size of a basketball—hydrocephalus.  The mother was young, poor, with one other child and no husband.  She had been to the National hospital once already and they had drained the fluid from his head.  The incision was visible.   Since the fluid returned he was going to need a shunt but she didn’t have the money for a return visit nor the series of visits it would take to treat this condition.  Vicki gave her Q100 for travel as well as two cans of formula because she had no milk of her own and obviously could not afford formula on her own.   She lives in a village next to Godinez.

Next was Flavio, the 5 year old, blind Downs boy that Peter, our Boston pediatrician, has seen several times.  Peter recommended a professional examine and the child has diagnosed with cataracts.  Again his family is VERY poor.  (Dominga checks these things out for us.)  The next step for him before he can be considered for surgery is an appointment to get an echo-cardiogram since Downs kids often have weak hearts.  That procedure is Q275.

Eduardo was next.  His parents have been regulars at our programs for years.  He needs a hearing aid that we hope Peter can come up with.  Meanwhile, we have a faithful donor paying for his transportation one day a week to go to a special school for the deaf in nearby Panajachel.   His mother would like for him to go every day and is willing to do the leg work if we can find a sponsor to pay for the other days.  Sorry his picture was in the shadows as he has the sweetest, most humble eyes of any child I can think of.

This was just an average day in a land with abundant need.  If you’d like to help any of these situations or any of the numerous others that are going to pop up, let us know.

I, Vicki, gave the money for the preliminary needs knowing I could trust you to make the donations to replace it and also knowing I did not have the words to turn them down.

thanks for the help


Human Trafficking Month

Human Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities


Human Trafficking Myths

President Obama declared January National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, making now a great time to raise awareness, donate to an anti-trafficking organization, or get involved in a volunteer project to combat trafficking.
In order to make real change, though, we need to understand the issue—which is even larger and more complex than most people realize.
Through my experience researching human trafficking and migration in Asia, Africa, and North America, I’ve come to understand the origins, networks, and culture behind it. Most recently, I’ve worked with the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia in Chiang Mai, Thailand, an organization that provides intervention, education, and empowerment opportunities in trafficking communities.
At first, I found the magnitude of the issue difficult to grasp: Trafficking occurs in nearly every country, and its networks are vast and formidable to investigate. According to the United Nations, there are between 27 and 30 million modern-day slaves in the world. And the U.S. State Department cites that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across borders every year. But these numbers are often under-reported and victims are usually hidden in the shadows, meaning that real, concrete statistics are often elusive.
It also means that there’s a lot of incorrect information out there. Everyone talks about human trafficking as a problem we need to tackle and eradicate, but to do so, we first need to separate the facts from fiction. Here are some of the most common trafficking myths, and the truth about what’s really happening.

Myth: Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling Are the Same

Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, human trafficking is not human smuggling. Trafficking is the recruiting, transporting, harboring, or receiving of a person through force in order to exploit him or her for prostitution, forced labor, or slavery. Human smuggling, on the other hand, is the transport of an individual from one destination to another, usually with his or her consent—for example, across a border.
It’s an important distinction—and one that must be clear in order for law enforcement andpolicymakers to properly address each issue.

Myth: Most Traffickers Are What the Movies Show You

A couple of years ago, while sitting at dinner in a trafficking village, I realized that traffickers are not always powerful gangsters the way mainstream movies like Taken tend to portray them. Trafficking occurs in a wide range of socioeconomic classes, and the people involved could be anyone—there’s no one type of trafficker. In some villages I visited, the traffickers were politicians and local law enforcement. In other parts of the world, they’re businessmen or restaurateurs.
While organized crime plays a large role in global human trafficking, communities, local governments, and even families are often involved in the process, too. Many times, it’s strictly about economics—those who sell their children are not “evil” or “bad” people, they simply feel that they have no other choice.

Myth: Human Trafficking Only Refers to Forced Prostitution

I met a nine-year-old girl from a local Hill Tribe in Thailand who wasn’t going to school. Instead, she was building one—her family was so poor that she was forced into laying bricks for many hours a day. She is free from this life now, but there are thousands of children throughout the world still forced in to this type of labor. Human trafficking does not always equal prostitution—it can include indentured servitude, other exploitation in the workforce (in factories or on farms), and even the organ trade.

Myth: Only Women Are Trafficked

Men and young boys are also trafficked, and they often get much less attention then trafficked women do. In part, that’s because it’s very difficult to get young boys out of trafficking, especially sex work, because the activity generates the kind of quick money that cannot be made anywhere else. Men and boys often remain invisible in the trafficking dialogue, or it is assumed they are only trafficked for labor. The short film Underage by photographer Ohm Phanphiroj reveals the struggles of young men trapped in the sex industry in Bangkok.

Myth: Everyone Trafficked is Kidnapped or Deceived

When women in places like Ukraine respond to ads for entertainment or waitressing jobs, they risk falling in with sham placement agencies that may confiscate their documents and force them into sex work. Or, an uncle in Vietnam may tell his niece she’s going away to work at a restaurant, when in fact, she will be shipped to a brothel.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Josefina Pichol Lastor

We have more students that need help with school.  A HUGE thank you to all of you who are supporting your students for another year, or who have agreed to support a new student.  They are all so grateful for the chance to go to school another year.  Each year of school completed means a better chance at life for them and their future families.  We still have a lot of students begging for help.  I have taken down all the blogs about students who have sponsors so if they are posted they need a sponsor.  Also, if you can't give the whole amount please think about teaming up with someone.  Remember their school year starts in Jan (as in next week!).

Meet Josefina.  She is 14 years old.  She starts her 2nd year of Basico (middle school) this year.  She was part of a1-time group scholarship last year and is looking for someone to fund her schooling this year.  It is $350 for the year--or can be paid monthly or quarterly.   

Her letter is as follows;  "I thank God for another day of life.  I thank Casa de Sion for helping me be able to study.  I am so grateful to God that all my family is in good health.  I am also grateful to those that help Casa de Sion so that I was able to study last year.  I am grateful to my parents for supporting me and helping me study.  I am very happy.  I am grateful for my father who works so hard for me.  I am going to work hard in my studies.  Thank you for supporting me (this is to you her future sponsor).
I am thinking about my future and the goal I want to achieve is to be a secretary or a teacher."

If you would like to support this very positive and happy little girl please let me know.