Carrying firewood in rural Guatemala
It seems like we notice something new and interesting each time we drive up into the mountains to the villages where we have the clinic. The colorful scenes and the smiling people don’t tell the whole story, though. There is so much sickness, poverty and domestic violence that we see each day.
It takes hours for the mother and children in each family to hunt for, cut, collect and return with firewood.
Only a few families can afford a cow
Only a few families in the villages we serve can afford a cow; it takes years of saving to get one, or maybe a loan at 30% interest from the bank.
The cow is a very important addition, but less for milk or meat. Mostly to sell the calves, or raise the calf for sale.
This family has a dirt floor house with adobe blocks for the first 3 feet of wall, then cornstalks for the walls and a leaky tin roof. They keep their very skinny cow close to the house to keep it safe, and during the day, the children will walk it and look for patches of grass along the side of the road. Land is too valuable to use for grazing.
Marcella, age 40 has 9 children including this little one she carried the day I took this photo. She didn’t want to smile, because she has no front teeth. Many women lose most of their teeth by age 40, due to lack of dental care and poor nutrition.
She’s very, very poor and has had a hard life so far. She comes to the clinic sometimes, and is nice and soft spoken and we’d like to help her…. but it’s hard to know just how. There are SO many families in need, so many needs and just not enough money or time or person-power to do it all.
It seems that the poorest areas in many countries, have the greatest scenery and views. Sort of a cruel joke of sorts. The beauty of Guatemala is quite amazing, such wonderful and different types of scenery. Sometimes we miss it, though, because it’s hard to see the beauty among the poverty sometimes.
Village Mayan girl in San Rafael, across from our clinic.
I love the colors in this photo. I caught this little girl off guard as she gazed listlessly at some children playing soccer in the street. She was intrigued, but didn’t seem to want to participate.
This house is across from our clinic building. Behind that yellow metal door there are several dirt floor houses made from corn stalks. We plan to build beds for the children living there.
It’s really a harm to the health of children to sleep on dirt floors, especially in the rainy season; the floors are damp and cold. The rainy season is May 1 to November 1.
8 year old boy carrying corn leaves
This 8-year old boy in our village needs to work to help his family, so he can’t go to school.
Here, he’s carrying the leaves from a corn stalk, which his mother dries and sells to others who use them to wrap little “chuchitos”, sort of like miniature tamales.