This past summer was a busy one for Xela Aid, which, for the first time in its history, hosted TWO summer trips to Guatemala. The first trip, held in June, focused on education; while the August trip combined medical, and construction and maintenance projects with assessment, a distribution of scholarship funds, horticulature and wonderful photography that chronicled the various efforts. Read more and see beautiful images below.
Additionally, Xela Aid wishes to welcome Susan Lominska, volunteer who has joined our Board of Directors. Susan, a well-experienced and dedicated health practicioner who was deployed to New York in response to the Twin Towers disaster, during Katrina, and more recently in response to the various hurricanes, will partner with Clinic Director Luis Enrique de León to fortify and expand clinic operations.
In Guatemala, Midwifery and Weaving Coordinator Amalia Vasquez is joined by Esperanza Ordoñez as we seek to expand our midwifery program (details to come in a future newsletter). And a new board has been formed to oversee selection of candidates for our PEX program (see image ending our PEX report below).
If you are a current supporter of Xela Aid programs, we thank you for that support which, during these difficult economic times, the people of Guatemala need more than ever. If you are a supporter in spirit and have been considering your priorities for charitable support, we invite you to join our Xela Aid family where your contribution will make a tremendous difference and in fact, might save a life.
We hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter.
Carlos de la Rosa, Luis Enrique de León, Mel Dinkel, Colleen Dodds, Karen Edwards, Debi Esquivel, Patricia Florez, Sheryl Fontaine, Susan Lominska, Leslie Baer
SUCCESSFUL PEX DISTRIBUTION, NEW SPONSORS, AND TWO BIG SURPRISES IN GUATEMALA
During the August Trip to Guatemala, Xela Aid distributed more than $6,000 in scholarship funds through its PEX program to needy children who are dedicated to their school work and determined to continue to study.
In addition, 20 new children
have been sponsored or are in the process of being sponsored! Some are being sponsored by volunteers who met a special, needy child during a recent trip; others are being sponsored by those who've heard about the program from volunteers including Martha Saatjan
and Susan Lominska
. Thank you volunteers!
Welcome to these new sponsors and their sponsored children:Alejandro Nguyen Ruiz has sponsored Mario Rene Gomez Gomez
Carol Choate has sponsored Maria Isabel Garcia Ramirez
Eleanor Linder Scott has sponsored Dulce Maria Santos Lopez
Gabriella Escobar-Ulloa has sponsored Yesica Exofilia Molina SanchezJo Foley has sponsored Maria Rebecca Juarez Vasquez
Joanna Nguyen has sponsored Henry Eduardo Guzman
John and Bonnie Switack have sponsored German Daniel Vasquez GuixKathy Thompson has sponsored Nicolas Martin Orozco Lopez
Leslie Baer has sponsored Linda Gabriela Garcia Alvarado
Linda Weidert has sponsored Andrea Yesica Gomez Ramirez
Lions Club of Avalon has sponsored Maynor Andrez Garcia Garcia
Nina May has sponsored Rosa Maria Guzman Vasquez
Toby Guebert has sponsored Diego Santiago Gomez Sanchez
Vera M. Looker has sponsored Juana Esperanza Vasquez Guzman
In the process of selecting children, are
Austin and Sally Cappon
Dr. Kathy Pezdek
Dr. Steven Ernst
Thank you new sponsors!
As a wonderful surprise, volunteers on the August trip ran into Rosa Simon Hernandez
. Rosa and her brother Adelberto
were two of the first three children ever sponsored through the PEX Program! Rosa's sponsors,
and Karen Edwards
were extremely proud to learn that
Rosa now works for a doctor in the town of Santa Cruz, Lake Attitlan, inputting data.
This is a fine job which she says she now has because Colleen and Karen
made the difference in her life through their caring sponsorship. SEE a message from Rosa
to Karen and Colleen!
In another unexpected surprize, Rosa let us know that Gregorio Garcia
another of our first PEX children, is now MAYOR of Santa Cruz.
thanks sponsor Jim Mramor
for the help
that propelled him to becoming Santa Cruz's first educated major.
Next newsletter, look for a MUST SEE message from Gregorio to Jim!
Many thanks to ALL PEX Sponsors
, and to our PEX
Coordinator Patricia Florez
for making these kinds of amazing successes possible!
Below: New PEX Board of Coordinators in San Martín who will collect and assess applications from children who wish to study and are seeking assistance through a Xela Aid PEX educational sponsorship.
JUNE TRIP FOCUSED ON EDUCATION
The first volunteer trip focusing on a portion of Xela Aid's educational mission (Study Center, Preschool, and support/interface with local schools) took place this June. (Xela Aid's PEX Scholarships are the other branch of its educational mission.) It was lead by Debi Lyn Esquivel and Sheryl Fontaine with the help of Luis Enrique de León. Volunteers included David Booker, Sommer Costens, Raquel Caceros, Doris Hand, Joanna Matuszewski, Rachel Murphree, Katherine Sanchez, Beth Saur, and Janet Taylor. Here's a quick run down of our two weeks:
In El Centro de Estudios (our Study Center), we
· Set up two lap tops and two desk top computers
· Delivered and catalogued over 100 donated books
· Painted the Studyroom amarillo del sol (sun yellow)
· Taught English
· Read stories
· Played baseball, soccer, school yard games, board games, computer games
· Hosted a monthly birthday party
· Hosted a piñata party
· Purchased and delivered a cabinet, teacher's desk, lots of school supplies
At San Martín Tots preschool, we
· Read stories
· Made puppets.
· Played with bubbles and side walk chalk
· Sang songs.
In the village secondary school, volunteers
· Taught a series of health classes to the students in the village secondary school
· Taught a photography course and provided the children with cameras
· Worked with the children to build tables for the school
And as R & R for our ourselves we
· Lounged at the hot springs in Zunil
· Took a walking tour of Xela
· Took salsa dancing lessons
· Attended a concert at Le Fonda de Che
· Participated in a Mayan ceremony
· Took a shopping trip to Chichicastenango
· Spent two days swimming, hiking, shopping and eating in Santiago Attitlan
We ended our journey in Antigua where we celebrated our work, our adventures, and our new and old friends. Special thanks to all our volunteers for making this trip a wonderful success.
Debi Lyn Esquivel and Sheryl Fontaine
WHAT DO 620 PATIENTS, 40 FRUIT TREES, A NEW GARDEN, ROOF REPAIRS AND $6K IN SCHOLARSHIPS HAVE IN COMMON?
They all "happened" during the August volunteer trip to Guatemela staffed by volunteers Alejandro Ruiz
, Camilla Ruiz
, Daniel Barclay, Diep Nguyen
, Carol Choate
, Jack Mills
, Jo Foley
, Joanna Nguyen
, Juan Ruiz
, Katherine Sanchez
, Kathy Thompson
, Kelly Thompson
, Linda Weidert
, Nina May
, Toby Guebert
, and led by Susan Lominska
, Mel Dinkel
and Leslie Baer
. Here's what the team accomplished during two weeks, and some wonderful photos, (courtesy of Katherine Sanchez):
· Volunteers worked with local children to plant 40 fruit trees made possible by the generous donation of Edward Glennon
· Volunteer (and former Xela Aid Board Member) Carol Choate
a horticulturalist, directed (and funded!) the planting of our
remaining open field with vegetables by a group of students Luis has
organized to help at the clinic
· We saw more than 620 patients over the five days of clinic, and even slipped in some reading glasses fittings for weavers and others with close-vision issues.
· Because of the amazing organizational skills of Patricia Florez
, the educational scholarhip (PEX) distribution went incredibly smoothly
· Many fine repairs were completed, including: the roof at the Preschool (clear panel replacements added light), repairs to our water well, repairs to the greenhouse (irrigation installed), and to the clinic building in general by the team of Mel Dinkel
and Daniel Barclay
with assistance by team members Carol Choate
, Linda Weidert
, and Alejandro Ruiz
who apparently didn't mind getting FILTHY!
A powerful teaching microscope was put to use immediately by lab staff. Xela Aid gives special thanks to Dr. Howard Charman
and San Antonio Hospital
in Upland for the generous contribution, and to Susan Lominska
for putting out the word that the device was needed.
Many thanks to these volunteers who gave their all to serve the people of San Martín and surrounding villages.Mel Dinkel, Susan Lominska, Leslie Bear
UPCOMING IN FUTURE ISSUES...
· Midwifery program revised
· Another special message from a PEX graduate
· Trip planned for next year
· Answers to most frequently asked questions
Clinic & Community Center
The June Russel-Glennon Clinic and Community Center is open weekdays from 8 AM - 2 PM. During 2007, Clinic staff served more than 2400 people -- most of whom otherwise would not have been able to see a doctor. An ultrasound kindly provided through Direct Relief International (DRI) was delivered mid-2007 and is now serving patients weekly. We welcome your support as a KCO Club member (for "Keep the Clinic Open") to help us continue to provide health services to those who need them most. All contributions are wisely administered and greatly appreciated. Learn more about the Clinic and KCO
Sponsor Children & Young Adults
in School (PEX)
Nearly 80 children and young adults are currently sponsored for school through Xela Aid's PEX program (Proyecto Educativo de Xela Aid, PEX). Sponsor support makes it possible for these students to register in school and to buy books, supplies and clothing required to attend. Those sponsored also received a yearly medical exam and parasite treatment paid for with sponsor contributions. Learn more about the PEX Program, or email PEX Director Patricia Florez for additional information or to sponsor a child: firstname.lastname@example.org
San Martín Tots Preschool
The preschool, or "guardaria," opened in 2007 serving an average of 34 children aged 3 to 6 each school day. The facility was built through the generosity of June Russel-Glennon, and the kitchen facilities built with contributions by Mel Dinkel. A teacher and several assistants tutor the mostly mám- speaking children in Spanish, reading, writing and local history, and serve breakfast foods and a hot meal for lunch. The preschool is a joint effort with the Guatemalan government.
Thanks to several generous donors, Xela Aid has been able to augment the salaries of teachers and provide for hot meals, learning materials, and repairs to keep the facility safe and comfortable. For additional information, see San Martín Tots or write us at email@example.com
Photo by Katherine Sanchez
San Martín CLEAN!
The program to install 30 permanent trash cans around town got off to a great start with the first one being cemented in front of Xela Aid's clinic to much fanfare. Many thanks to those who have sponsored trash cans so far. San Martin CLEAN!
"El Centro de Estudios"
(Xela Aid Study Center)
The new "Centro de Estudios" welcomes children from the PEX program and all others who wish to participate in peer tutoring and afterschool activities. Xela Aid is proud that the tutor employed is a graduate of our own PEX program. To learn more, visit Centro de Estudios, or email Sheryl Fontaine or Debi Esquivel: sfontaine@Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU or firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer Paints, 2008