Monday, October 7, 2013

Elotada 2013 - Crazy for Corn!

On September 12, Pop Wuj students, teachers, coordinators, and directors visited the community of Chirijkiak to celebrate with an Elotada, also known as the corn harvest.  Elote means corn on the cob in Spanish. 

Pop Wuj has worked with this community for over 18 years, providing scholarships to students, participating in reforestation projects during the rainy season, and in previous years also building latrines and safe stoves. 

At the Elotada, Pop Wuj students were introduced to family members of the scholarship recipients (becados), learned about the community, and then began the feast on elotes.

Everyone from Pop Wuj was given at least two or three!  We dressed the elotes ourselves with a range of toppings including lime, salt, mustard, ketchup, mayonaise and hot sauce.  All dressed, an elote transforms into an elote loco, ‘crazy corn’.

Full of corn, and grinning from ear to ear, the Pop Wuj group returned back to Xela for the afternoon.

Gina, looking very impressed at Caroline's elote loco
Fredy halfway through his third elote!
Aleya with one of the becadas from Chirijkiak
Carmen and Roney
Amy, Carmelina and Lesley having a good laugh at.... they still won't tell us at what!
Doña Aniceta, one of the mothers of the becados

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pop Wuj Nutrition Meetings in August and September

On August 8 and September 14 Pop Wuj held nutrition meetings in the communities of Llanos del Pinal, Buena Vista, and La Victoria.  
  • August ended our third and final month of expansion, and in addition to our continuing participants, we had approximately ten infants entering the program, and two new graduates as well.  
  • September was not an official expansion month, but we had five new entrants.

According to statistics from the Guatemalan government, in 2012, 48% of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, and within the indigenous population, the percentage increases to 80%.

The Nutrition Program, with the funding support from the Pop Wuj Spanish School, individual donations, and in large part from Timmy Global Health, provides well needed supplements such as Nutributter and Pumply'Nut to infants and children between the ages of six and twenty-four months to assist in growth and development during this critical period.  

Enjoying Nutributter!

At each monthly clinic, Pop Wuj students from the Medical Spanish Program and the Social Work Spanish Program prepare a short educational presentation for the mothers in the program.
  • The August Nutrition Meeting included a presentation on healthy eating behavior for babies: what to do if your baby is sick, as well as the type and quantity of food and drinks your baby should be eating at various age groups.
  • The September Nutrition Meeting offered a presentation on family planning - types of contraception available, a quick comparison of the uses and risks of each, as well as a discussion on the optimal time period to wait in between pregnancies, for both the mother and her baby.

 Jeff, Joanne, Liz, and Anna (left to right) offering an educational session on infants' diets
Left to Right: Ali, Myriah and Jenny sharing a presentation on family planning and contraceptive methods
Dr. Carmen Rosa, Tina, and Jeff discuss the Nutrition Program

After our presentation to the moms, volunteers from the Pop Wuj Medical and Social Work Spanish Programs measured the height, weight and head circumference of each baby.  While seemingly easy during our nutrition program training, this proved to be the most difficult part!

Baby Ashley being very cooperative

Medical Spanish Program students, Anna, Jack and Ariela measuring height

Medical Spanish Program students Theresa and Pascual carefully prepping one of our participants to be weighed
After being measured and weighted, mom and baby moved on to visit one of our local doctors on site, an evaluation of the infant’s progress was made, and depending on the outcome, Nutributter or Pumply'Nut was given.  In addition to the supplements for the babies, we offered children multi-vitamins for siblings, prenatal vitamins for the mothers and Incaparina, a fortified soy and corn-based protein powder, to be shared by the whole family.

Post and Photo Credit:  Caroline Yung

Two of Doña Luisa's children at the meeting in Buena Vista

Three generations of participants in the Pop Wuj Nutrition Program (going right to left) Grandma, daughters, and each of their respective babies)

Amy describing information on an upcoming surgical mission by Dr. Ryan Brown

After a long and fun morning - ready to head back to Xela!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birthday Party at the Family Support Center--Let's Party!

Let's Party!

Photo Credit:  Caroline Yung 

On August 29, Pop Wuj held a huge birthday bash for fifteen of the students at the Family Support Center.  This party celebrated all of our students who will have their birthdays in the months of June, July, August, and September.

There was a festive mood in the air during the entire week leading up to the birthday party.  All of the kids eagerly anticipated the upcoming celebration as the week progressed.  Oscar, who was about to turn five years old, asked each day, "¿Hoy es mi cumpleaños?" or  Is today my birthday?

Oscar getting ready for his turn at the piñata; Photo credit: Caroline Yung

The party included key birthday activities: piñatas, cake and birthday presents.  While the coordinators and Pop Wuj students prepped the piñatas and stuffed them full with candies and peanuts, the kids relentlessly played tug of war - what strength and determination!

Jonathan, Evelyn and Oscar giving it all they've got!
After a lengthly game of tug of war, finally came the piñata.  The little ones were surprisingly good at this, and the piñata broke open after only several hits.  The older ones took a bit longer, but perhaps it was because even after blindfolding and spinning the students around, we also tied the piñata to a wheel, and the kids were faced with a perpetually moving target.  

Finally, the second one fell to the floor and the older kids scrambled to pick up the contents.

Anibal - ready to strike!

With bags full of candies and peanuts, we all returned inside to sing happy birthday, cut cake, and distribute birthday gifts.  Presents had been selected for each of the birthday students, but everyone went home with at least a 'goodie bag'.
After an afternoon full of candy, cake and laughter, the volunteers, coordinators, and Carmen returned to Xela.  

Ingrid, Evelyn and Amy - full of cake and candy; Photo Credit:  Caroline Yung