News from Xela Aid

October 2008  
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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.

The Directors
Carlos de la Rosa, Luis Enrique de León, Mel Dinkel, Colleen Dodds, Karen Edwards, Debi Esquivel, Patricia Florez, Sheryl Fontaine, Susan Lominska, Leslie Baer
PEX Children

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 Sanchez
Jo Foley has sponsored Maria Rebecca Juarez Vasquez
Joanna Nguyen
has sponsored Henry Eduardo Guzman
John and Bonnie Switack
have sponsored German Daniel Vasquez Guix
Kathy 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
Alicia Stout
Austin and Sally Cappon
Bob Lominska 
Dr. Kathy Pezdek
Jean Lominska
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, Colleen Dodds 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. Gregorio 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.
New Coordinating Board for PEX Applicants


New CabinetThe 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:
New Laptop
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
Piñata 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 camerasXela Aid Logo
· 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

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
Let There Be Light· 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!

New MicroscopeA 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

· Midwifery program revised
· Another special message from a PEX graduate
· Trip planned for next year
· Answers to most frequently asked questions
In This Issue
Surprise Reunion with First PEX Students
June Trip Focused on Education
August Accomplishments

Xela Aid Logo

June Russel-
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:


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


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

Volunteer Paints 2008
Volunteer Paints, 2008


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