Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Supporter Appreciation: Grace of Guatemala Comes Back!
We were happy see Grace of Guatemala back for their first trip of the year!
Connie (pictured on left), the founder of Grace of Guatemala, brings groups twice a year. This February's group was filled with a range of incredibly big-hearted people gathering from all around the US. We saw a lot of familiar faces, and every year we see new friendships form between participants of all ages based on their genuine commitment to making a positive difference to families here in Guatemala.
Grace of Guatemala has been particularly committed to the remote agricultural community of El Barranco. A visit to the newly constructed El Barranco preschool was full of joy, as the children performed traditional dances, bringing smiles and laughter as they took the hands of their sponsor families, pulling them forward to join in! Donations of clothes, shoes, and sanitary products kindly collected and transported by the group were distributed to the preschoolers and their families, before the group divided to visit sponsor families in their homes.
The group was also excited to get their hands dirty, with everybody helping transport the heavy parts across the fields of El Barranco. The results were two brand new stoves and two extremely grateful families!
Returning sponsor Brian has been warmly embraced by all members of the family after years of sponsorship. Brian is endlessly thoughtful in his gifts, and the whole group had a blast (literally) when Brian brought the children water guns on this visit. Very soon we realized that no one was safe from getting drenched!
Brian and one of his sponsored families
Sponsors and sponsored families often build strong bonds despite the physical distances that separate them, as they get a chance to watch each others' families grow over many years. Mother-and-daughter sponsor duo Melissa and Sandy were delighted to see that a newly constructed road led them almost to the door of the brand new house proudly owned by their sponsored family, who were immensly grateful for all their support. The children beamed with pride at their sparkly new shoes and unwrapped exciting new toys Melissa and Sandy brought with them.
The dynamic Toriello trio has come back time and time again to visit their sponsored families. This year they had the chance to welcome a new member to one of their sponsored families: baby Laurin. It came as no surprise to see this trio ensure that the new mother had all the necessary items to bundle her new baby girl in her arms.
Group members Mike and Jan were delighted to see the family of their two sponsored girls living in a newly constructed house with a bedroom, a kitchen, and a courtyard. Mike and Jan were very touched when the mother showed them a further new addition: a sacred room used as a shrine and workspace for their father, who had recently recovered from a near-fatal illness, believing his faith helped cure him. Their thankfulness for Mike and Jan’s support was clear, as, without them, it would be impossible for the family to both own their home and send their children to school.
A second mother-and-daughter sponsor duo, Natalie, and Alex paid an emotional visit to a member of our elderly support program, 76-year old Adrian, who they have just started to sponsor. Tears of sadness and joy were shed on both sides as they exchanged stories about their lives, their work, and their families, before bidding farewell with a promise to see each other again in a year’s time. These visits are incredibly meaningful for the elderly that are sponsored through Mayan Families.
Natalie and Alex delivering a stove
Once again this year, thanks to the generosity of Michelle Schultz, all Grace of Guatemala's sponsored families came down from El Barranco to share a delicious meal, good laughs with a clown, burst big piñatas and obtain handfuls of candy! A fun night was had by all.
Michelle and some of her sponsored children
We would like to thank Connie and Grace of Guatemala for all the work they do for El Barranco and so many other Guatemalans; they truly are the benefactors of incredible warmth and generosity!
Education Program Manager Amy Porter contributed content to this blog.