COVID-19 IN GUATEMAL A
10 April 2020
Many of you have been wonderfully generous with donations of food to your sponsored students and to the Emergency Food Fund set up to assist with the acute food situation here. The biggest problem facing the indigenous community is severe malnutrition and even starvation. For four weeks, we have been delivering food to families provided by their sponsors and also providing emergency food to families who have literally nothing to eat. This is solely because of your donations.
For this, we cannot thank you enough!
Our Emergency Food program has been depleted, and we need your help to continue to provide food for the many families in need during this COVID-19 pandemic.
We know this is a difficult time for everyone, everywhere, but hope you will support our General Emergency Food Fund by clicking below. ( If you wish to designate money for a specific FundaMaya student, use the donation button at the bottom of this newsletter and include the student’s number and what you wish to purchase .)
As of April 10, 2020, w e now have 126 cases of COVID-19 in Guatemala, with 3 deaths, and 12,000 people in quarantine.
With the fourth week of businesses being closed, all public transportation stopped, schools suspended, and no tourism for restaurants and hotels and a stay at home order, people have no work to be able to buy their daily food. They have quickly gone from being very poor to being desperate.
Most of the families that we work with earn their daily income to be able to buy food for that day.
When families here have nothing to eat, it is not the same as it is in developed countries; when there is nothing to eat, there is literally nothing to eat in the home. There is usually a basket with corn, rice, beans, and eggs. Many of these baskets are now empty. The communities we work with are used to having little to eat, but they need something. Right now, it is impossible for people to work to be able to buy even a small amount of food for their families.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
We are calling our students to find out how they are doing and we are sending updates to our sponsors so that they know what is happening with their students.
We are delivering food to all the families whose sponsors have sent food donations.
We are giving food from our Emergency Food Fund to families who do not have anything to eat.
We received 30 boxes of food from Kids against Hunger and have distributed them to local families as well as to the Panajachel Bomberos (Volunteer Fire Department Crew) which is aware of many of the community’s needs.
Bomberos Social Distancing Waiting to Pickup Food Police Working with Community FundaMaya is working closely with our community. Thanks to your support we have been able to provide disposable gloves and masks to the First Responders. Our staff member, Zoe, who works closely with the First Responders has also worked with the Panajachel community to make sure that the Panajachel Bomberos, who are nearly all volunteers and who also are mostly out of work, have a hot meal every day while they are working. The First Responders still remain in need of more gloves, antibacterial gel, and masks. There are some fire stations that do not even have masks. Today we delivered supplies to the local Police Department which asked for masks as well. They had neither masks nor gloves. Preschool/Nutrition Centers Like all schools in Guatemala, FundaMaya's three Preschool/Nutrition centers are closed. We have delivered food weekly to those families so that the children have food. Picture taken prior to COVID-19 Elderly Care Program Our Elderly care program in San Jorge la Laguna has been providing a hot meal five days a week to the elderly and sending them home with a bag of food for the rest of the week. Due to new travel restrictions, yesterday we had to suspend the hot meal service and are now increasing the food that the elderly have to cook at home. But we need help to be able to continue to supply this food. Community Mask Project We started a Community Mask Project to provide free masks to the medical and general community. It is now mandatory to wear masks in public. These are not medical masks, but they do offer some protection. This is also a project that will provide work for some of the women who graduated from our sewing classes and who can use the money to feed their families. If you would like to support this project, it is just $2 US per mask. There is a minimum order of five masks for a total order of $10. (We apologize for this minimum but our website does not accept donations under $10.) If you wish to donate masks, please use the link at the bottom of the newsletter and designate it as “masks”. GUATEMALA IS FIGHTING COVID-19 Guatemalan President, Alejandro Giammattei, who is a medical doctor, quickly took decisive measures to address COVID-19. This is a difficult task in a developing country. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has now been diagnosed in our Sololá area. Woman entering Panajachel market gets her temperature taken. People are not allowed to travel out of their area nor are people allowed to enter into other towns or villages. To enter Panajachel, the police take your temperature and require proof that you live in Panajachel. (Fundamaya received special permission to travel to some areas and deliver food as it is considered essential.) There is a curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Most businesses, hotels, and restaurants are closed. Some restaurants can serve take out and deliver. Public transportation has stopped. The pickups — country taxis — are not allowed to transport people. The streets are deserted. Supermarkets and pharmacies are open. To enter the supermarket, they take your temperature and spray your hands. Only a certain number of people are allowed in at one time. They do the same thing at the local market, and shopping days are now restricted to when people in particular neighborhoods can go to the market. The parades and celebrations that brought thousands of tourists from the City for Semana Santa (Easter) have been canceled. Churches are closed. Schools are closed. Fortunately, many schools are sending homework via WhatsApp. Universities, junior high schools, and high schools are generally doing classes online. The Guatemalan Government has also organized school classes daily on national T.V. for all grades. SPECIFIC DONATIONS COVID-19 Community Mask Project $2.00 each (minimum order, five masks for $10) 100 pound bag of corn $50.00 50 pound bag of corn $25.00 50 pound bag of rice $40.00 25 pound bag of rice $20.00 50 pound bag of beans $58.00 25 pound bag of beans $29.00 We know this is a terrible situation for everyone everywhere. We send our thoughts and prayers to you and your loved ones. We pray the world economies will rebound quickly. We hope that you are keeping safe and well. We thank you for reaching out to help the people in Guatemala. If you wish to make a donation to a specific student, please click the blue donate button below. Even a small donation will help someone to eat and gives hope! Thank you, Sharon Smart - FundaMaya Lois Reimer - FundaMaya Canada Corrine Nelson and Linda Cotton - Action Alliance International ACTION ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL FUNDAMAYA FUNDAMAYA CANADA WE NEED YOU! There are many ways to help. Please share this newsletter on your social media and forward it in your email to friends and relatives.