Families in the Park April 10, 2013 No Comments

In order to touch base with all the parents, Mynor and I got the word out that I would be hanging out in the beautiful park near the Catholic church in the evenings. Nearly every family stopped by to say hello, some of them more than once. I’ve chosen a few photos to post below and you can click here if you’d like to see more.

Tono and his parents
José Antonio and parents

Juana and family
Juana Micaela and family

María Cecilia (in orange) and family
María Cecila (in gold) and family

Mariano (on his 14th birthday!) and family
Mariano and family

María Elena (center) with her sister and mother
María Elena (center), sister, mother

Evelin Elena with her daughter, (less than enthusiastic) brother, and mother
Evelin Elena, daughter, brother, mother

María Concepción and her mother
María Concepción and mom

¡Pizza! No Comments

Another activity I couldn’t squeeze in this trip that I’ve enjoyed the last 3 years is providing a big celebration meal for the Beca students and their families. In lieu of that, Mynor suggested I take the kids out for pizza which turned out to be a new joy.

We hosted 4 lunches for bunches of Beca kids grouped (with a few exceptions to accommodate schedules) by the year they started in the project: 2010, ’11, ’12, and ’13. The groups got larger but quieter as the week progressed. It was wonderful to catch up with each of the kids and talk about families, school, and future goals.

I’ve posted a few photos from each group below and you can click here to see a larger set in my flickr collection.

Mynor serves pizza to Josefa and Rosa
Josefa and Rosa with Mynor

Andrea, pizza artist

2010 Group
2010 Group

2 Pedros
Pedro Abimael and Pedro Nehemías

Pizza San Pedrano: ketchup, salsa, and mayonnaise (ew)
Pizza with ketchup, mayo, and salsa verde

With María Osorio, José Nehemías, and Evelin Elena
With María Osorio, José Nehemías, and Evelin Elena

2011 Group
2011 Group

Ana Marina helps Julissa (left) fill out my form for an email account
Julissa and Ana Marina, signing up for email

2012 Group with Mynor
2012 Group

Noe, Miguel, Emerson, and Juan Gonzalez
Noe, Miguel, Emerson, and Juan

Vicenta, Rosario, María Concepción, and Ana Petronila
Vicenta, Rosario, María Concepción, and Ana Petronila

2013 Group
2013 Group

2013 Home Visits No Comments

Greetings from Oregon! I just returned after 2 lovely weeks in Guatemala. Usually I visit in July and stay longer. With other family plans in place for July 2013, I grabbed a few extra days either side of spring vacation and celebrated all things Beca along with Semana Santa – Easter week – in San Pedro La Laguna.

I usually visit every family but with more than 40 students, that was not possible this trip. Mynor and I set our sights on visiting the families of each of the 13 new students and I’ve included some of my favorite photos below. You can access the whole, gigantic set on flickr by clicking here.

With Vicenta and her mother
With Vicenta and her mother

With Eneyda
With Eneyda

Paulina with her aunt, cousin, grandmother and father
Paulina's family

Varied reactions to a gift hen at Ana Petronila’s
With Ana Petronila's family

A treat at María Concepción’s house
From Maria Concepción's family

Gift from Emilson
With Emilson

Mayke’s bunnies
With Mayke and her mother

Lucia Adamari and her mother
Lucia and mother

With Juan Gonzalez and part of his family
Juan Gonzalez' family (part)

Noe and brother

At Rosario’s
With Rosario

The guys at Emerson’s house
Emerson's family

At Francisco Adolfo’s
Francisco Adolfo's family

The Navichoc Pacay house is complete! February 18, 2013 No Comments

I’m so happy and proud to announce in this blog that the Navichoc Pacay family has moved into their brand new home! Here’s the photo we received in 2009 when older daughter Andrea became our very 1st Beca student.

Navichoc Pacay family

The Cooperativa School directors started their Kamoon home building project in 2009 and this is the 2nd home they’ve completed. A former student of the school made this video about the project which makes it very clear why this deserving family needed a new home.

I’ve posted a few photos to show the process below. To view a set of 20 photos on my flickr page, click HERE; there’s a place to click and view a slideshow of the photos.

Old house: now you see it…
Navichoc Pacay house outside

…and now you don’t.
Navichoc Pacay house

Construction begins
Navichoc Pacay house

Walls going up
Navichoc Pacay house

Mixing cement for the roof
Navichoc Pacay house bucket brigade

Mynor lends a hand
Navichoc Pacay house bucket brigade

Cooperativa Spanish students help with the bucket brigade
Navichoc Pacay house bucket brigade

Cooperativa director Antonio says a few words
Antonio speaks

Andrea’s parents enter their new home
Grand entrance

A new deserving family has been selected for home #3 – Petrona and kids – and fundraising is already about 80% complete, in large part due to the generous donations of Beca sponsors. Donations gratefully received!

In this video you can learn more about San Pedro, see the family and the condition of their current home, and listen to the local Maya language, Tz’utujil. You can click in the image below to watch it here or go to the Youtube page for a larger version.

I’m looking forward to visiting in March 2013 to (among other things!) see the Navichoc Pacay family’s new home and to meet Petrona and her family. Happy trails!


New Beca students for 2013! November 29, 2012 1 Comment

I am delighted to announce we have 14 new Beca students eager to continue their education in 2013 thanks to generous donations to the Beca Project. I’ve posted a photo of each of them below and you can view the complete set HERE on my flickr photo site. That brings our total to 44 students with renewable scholarships!

Lucia Adamari Mendez Cortez
Lucia Adamari Mendez Cortez1

Francisco Adolfo Marroquin Coché (in gray) and family
Francisco Adolfo Marroquin Coché4

Noe Gonzalez Pop
Noe Gonzalez Pop2

Paulina Velasquez Quiacaín
Paulina Velasquez Quiacain1

Juan Gonzalez y Gonzalez (left) and family
Juan Gonzalez y Gonzalez3

Emerson Danilo Ajcabul Ajpop
Emerson Danilo Ajcabul Ajpop2

Rosario Griselda Larios Navichoc
Rosario Griselda Larios Navichoc1

Vicenta Ermelinda Chavajay Navichoc
Vicenta Ermelinda Chavajay Navichoc2

Maria Concepcion Puac Rocché
Maria Concepcion Puac Rocché1

Emilson Benjamin Vasquez Choy (right) and family
Emilson Benjamin Vasquez Choy4

Ana Petronila Ambrosio Mendoza
Ana Petronila Ambrosio Mendoza1

Mayke Alexandra Sarai Acajabon Quiacain
Mayke Alexandra Sarai Acajabon Quiacain1

Eneyda Magdalena Gonòn Toxcón
Eneyda Magdalena Gonòn Toxcón1

Diego Yancor (joined us mid year)

Basica Graduation, 2012 November 4, 2012 1 Comment

I just received a wonderful set of photos from the 2012 graduation ceremony at the Escuela Luisa y Benjamin Paul that our Beca students attend for their middle school years. 7 of our original Beca students graduated from the equivalent of 9th grade this year. They’ll each pick a career field and choose a Diversificada school – like a combination of high school and college – for the next 3 years. One student, Miguel, was unable to attend graduation but here are some of my favorite photos of the others. Three of the Cooperativa’s directors – Mynor, Griselda, and Luis – are pictured in the final photo with the students.

The girls are ready for the ceremony to begin – Josefa Angelina and Andrea Guadalupe are 3rd and 4th from the left.
Girls - Josefa and Andrea 3rd and 4th from left

Rosemary and her walking partner.
Rosemary and her walking partner

Andrea prepares to walk.

María Cecilia and her walking partner head out on a bed of pine needles, common in important Guatemala ceremonies.
María Cecilia

The audience and the stage; note that many of the mothers are wearing matching blouses.

Juan Carlos receives his diploma
Juan Carlos

A proud moment for Josefa Angelina
Josefa Angelina

Rosa Yanira’s turn

Andrea and her parents
Andrea and parents

From left: Andrea, María Cecilia, Juan Carlos, Josefa Angelina, Rosa, and Rosemary

The group with Griselda, Luis, and Mynor (3rd, 4th, and 7th from left)
Group with directors

2012 Beca Celebration October 1, 2012 No Comments

The annual Beca celebration was extraordinary once again. More than 200 celebrants including more than 30 families, a dozen teachers, 2 traditional dances, 2 cultural plays, gigantic pots of pepián, and hundreds of photos = powerful memories. I’ve included some of my favorite photos below and you can access a complete set of 40 HERE on my flickr page. Enjoy!

Lorenzo’s wife Andrea cooks 20 chickens at the Cooperativa school over an open fire
Andrea cooks the chicken at the Cooperativa school

Sponsors, heading to the celebration in the back of a pickup
Heading to the celebration

The girls help each other with their hair for the cultural presentation (left to right: María Elena, María Cecilia, Rosemary, María Osorio, and Rosa Yanira)
Preparing for the cultural presentation

Some of the boys, ready and waiting (left to right: Pedro Nehemías, Mariano, Juan Carlos, Juan Navichoc, and Pedro Juan)
Preparing for the cultural presentation

Enjoying the beautiful setting (María Cecilia, José Nehemías, and Rosemary)
Enjoying the lake

Candelaria’s family is ready for the show
Waiting for the cultural presentation

Scenes from the dances
Cultural presentation - dance

Cultural presentation - dance

Scenes from the plays
Cultural presentation - play

Cultural presentation - play

Mynor introduces visiting sponsors
Mynor speaks to the sponsors

Lunch is served!
Serving pepián

Time to eat

Rosa and family

With Andrea and her parents and grandmother – I miss them and can’t wait for next year’s celebration.
S w/ Andrea (center) and family

2012 Beca Family Visits September 24, 2012 1 Comment

It is with a full, happy heart that I share these photos of some of my visits to the homes of Beca students this summer. With 31 students, that’s a lot of time invested and a lot of amazing memories of shared laughter and tears. The families are universally generous, warm, and welcoming. I’ve chosen to post 15 photos below and you can access the full set including images from each home HERE on flickr.

Looking at photos with Andrea and her parents

Hanging out with Candelaria (green blouse) and her family

Miguel’s great grandmother and Mynor laugh at my s’more photo
Miguel's great grandmother (91) and Mynor

Josefa Angelina (right) and her sisters are a lesson in devotion; they are making a happy life for each other without parents
Josefa Angelina (right) and sisters

These ducks were a gift from María Osorio and her family; I had to decline but was really touched by their generosity
My ducks at Maria Osorio's

Josefina (in blue) and her family

The hands of María Ujpan Tuch
Maria Ujpan Tuch

With Julissa and her grandmother and niece

Juana Sharon’s baby rabbit in my lap
Sharon's bunny

I was blessed to have half a dozen sponsors join me in San Pedro La Laguna this summer and some of my most powerful visits were with sponsors meeting their students for the 1st time:

Sharon with Eugenio and his parents

Juana (brown blouse) with 3 of her 6 sponsors: Sharon, Rosie (and son Jesse), and me
Juana with family and sponsors

Sue with Flor and her mother
Flor and sponsor

Juan Carlos with his parents and sponsor, Sharon
Juan Carlos and sponsor

María Elena (blue blouse) and family members with her 2 sponsors, Judie and me, and Mynor
Maria Elena and sponsors

Rosie and her son Jesse share photos of home on an iPad with Rosalinda and her parents
Rosalinda with parents and 1 of her sponsors

Planning for the 2012 Beca Visits and Celebration June 10, 2012 1 Comment

I’ve spent a lot of evenings lately (in fact for months) preparing for my group trips to San Pedro La Laguna in July: confirming lodging and family visits, organizing Spanish lessons and ground transportation, arranging cultural activities like lessons for making tortillas by hand and traditional weaving demonstrations, and planning my packing list including what gifts to take and how to manage the finances once I’m there.

I’ve recently discovered my counterparts in Guatemala have their own ‘to do’ list which this weekend included meeting with the Beca students and their parents to discuss my visit, the week I’ll have a group of Beca sponsors in tow, and the 3rd annual Beca celebration which will be held on Saturday, July 28th.

Lorenzo (right) speaks to the gathered Beca students and their parents
Beca Mtg.

I am uplifted by the joy I feel looking forward to the warmth and humor of old friends, to time spent getting to know this year’s new crop of Beca students and their families, and to inhaling the fragrances of fresh corn tortillas, earthy coffee, spicy pepián, and wood smoke in adobe homes.

Shopping for School Supplies in San Pedro January 26, 2012 No Comments

On January 22nd Mynor and Griselda took the Beca kids shopping for school supplies. They had asked the owner of a local shop to be open to them exclusively from 4 to 6pm that day and he happily obliged. I’ve pasted a few photos of the event below and you can view the whole set of 34 photos in this flickr set; there’s a slideshow link if you’d like to view them full screen.

In this photo the students are waiting to enter the store. Mynor (seated, orange striped shirt) and Griselda (light green blouse) are organizing the lists for each student based on their year in school and their specific coursework.
Waiting to shop 2

Shopping 2

Shopping 1

María Osorio Chocoy
María Osorio Chocoy

María Elena Criado Quiacaín had an especially different list because she has graduated from Basica and will be starting a 3 year program to become a bilingual Secretary this year.
María Elena Criado Quiacaín

María Cecilia Toc Criado
María Cecilia Toc Criado

José Nehemías Chocoy Natareno
José Nehemías Chocoy Natareno

Josefa Angelina González Velásquez
Josefa Angelina González Velásquez