There are certainly homeless people in Guatemala. I'm guessing that I see them everyday but do not recognize them. There is no such thing as a homeless shelter in Santa Ana. There might be one in a bigger city; I'll have to ask someone.
However, I do happen to know of several children who have been abandoned by their parents or whose parents have died. I think we could consider these children homeless. Generally, these children are unofficially taken in by relatives. Whenever I see or talk with these children, I am very aware that they may need some extra loving care. They get extra hugs and help from me.
Here is a baby girl and her grandmother. The mother left and the grandmother cares for the child. The woman has drop foot and Dr. Lane fitted her with a brace which was what SewHope could do to help. However, the woman lives at the top of steep hill. I had difficulty climbing it and I have two good legs. Another worry about this family is that there is a deep open well off to the left of this picture, very near to the edge of the porch. I am sure that the grandmother worries that the baby will fall into the well. This child lives in El Chal. All the others are in Purushila.
The baby pictured here is Esmeralda. She is cared for by relatives as her mother and father did not want her. I have written several other blogs that include Esmeralda.
The girl in orange is Jaime who is six years old. Her mother left her and went to the USA. We don't know if her mother will return. Jaime came to our afternoon classes and we worked on letters and numbers and colors. She improved greatly. When another little girl was having difficulty with her letters, Jaime became her teacher!
Julian is 12. He and at least two of his brothers are taken care of my the grandfather.
Juan is the little boy in the white shirt. He was abandoned as a baby and is raised by relatives. He is precious. It seems that when he started school at age four, that he was very skinny. The teachers at the kindergarten made sure that he pt on some weight. He looks healthy now.
There is an orphanage about 30 minutes from where I live. It is run by sisters. I visited once but do not have any pictures to show you.
When I first came to Guatemala, I spent two months studying the Spanish language in a city called Antigua which is about one hour from Guatemala City, the capital. I stayed in the home of Isabel who works very hard to help her people. For one thing, she started an orphanage for girls. I had the chance to visit there once. Some pictures from my visit are below. When the students have vacation, Isabel meets every week with the caregivers to plan adventures for the children. The children are well taken care of, but they still do not have their parents.
I find it interesting that The Sisters of Notre Dame were founded 163 years ago by a woman who herself was an orphan. When both of her parents died and she was still a small child, she was taken in by relatives.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012