Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nutrition Meetings, January 2014

Nutrition meetings were held in Buena Vista and La Victoria on Wednesday, January 15th and in Llanos de Pinal on Thursday, January 16th.  In preparation for the three nutrition meetings, the Pop Wuj Medical Spanish students and staff prepared bags of vitamins and Nutributter and/or Mani+ to be distributed to the participant families. 

Luby, the Pop Wuj staff nurse, begins registering the families as they arrive in Llanos del Pinal.

Pop Wuj Medical students and staff reviewed appropriate feeding practices for babies depending on their age.

Pop Wuj Medical Spanish students perform an educational skit for the mothers.
Carmen reminds the mothers about the best way to use the fortified peanut butter supplements.
The Pop Wuj Nutrition Program is slowly switching to Mani+ (Mani Plus) which is a different type of fortified peanut butter.  Mani+ is formulated to meet the deficiencies in the typical Guatemalan diet.  Mani+ is manufactured in Guatemala and we hope that the supply issues will be resolved shortly so that we can make the final transition from Nutributter (produced in the U.S.) to Mani+.

Snack time!

All the babies were weighed and measured before meeting with a doctor for their nutrition consult.  There are currently approximately 80 babies enrolled in the project.  The largest group is in Llanos del Pinal where we expanded our program in June, 2013.  In Guatemala 48% of children under 5 years of age are chronically malnourished.

Some babies love nutrition meetings!
At the end of the meeting each mother receives a month's supply of prenatal vitamins as well as month's supply of children's vitamins for each older child in the family.  Each baby between the ages of 6 and 24 months receives a month's supply of fortified peanut butter (Nutributter or Mani+).

Some babies do not.
Pop Wuj will return to Buena Vista and La Victoria on February 6th and to Llanos del Pinal on February 13th for the next meeting.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scholarship Program Annual Assembly and Year-End Summary

On December 11, 2013, Pop Wuj hosted scholarship program students and their families for the Annual Pop Wuj Scholarship Assembly.

The day started will a health check-up for the approximately 90 students who attended the assembly. The Pop Wuj clinic was bursting with students who were weighed, measured, and given anti-parasitic and fluoride treatments.  Any student that was ill also had a full consult with one of our doctors.

Carmen Maria measures a scholarship student

Ashley handles the fluoride treatment.

Next the students prepared cards and letters to send to their padrinos and madrinas (scholarship sponsors).

Working on cards and letters

Carmen de Alvarado, director of Pop Wuj's social projects, began the formal presentation by acknowledging the families' strength and effort in supporting their children's educations.

Next we honored the students who graduated from primary school (6th grade), basico (9th grade), and high school.  This year seven girls and eight boys graduated from primary school (6th grade), twelve girls and one boy graduated from básico (equivalent to 9th grade), and two girls and four boys graduated from high school. In addition, two students continue to study in post-secondary programs.

Some of the 2013 high school graduates
Some of the 2013 básico (9th grade) graduates

Some of the 2013 primary school graduates

After a delicious lunch of tamales de arroz (rice tamales), each family met individually with Carmen to confirm educational plans for next year and receive their December scholarship payment.  The day ended with "photo shoots" for each community group or family.

Chirijkiak Scholarship Students

Costa Sur Scholarship Students

Llanos del Pinal Scholarship Students

San Juan Ostuncalco Scholarship Students

Pacaxoj (Momostenango) Scholarship Students

A small group of the Xeabaj Scholarship Students
Roney Alvarado, Pop Wuj Director, Doña Silvia, Carmen de Alvarado, and Juan Luis

Vasquez Vail siblings

López Calel siblings

In 2013 the Pop Wuj Scholarship Program provided scholarships to 127 students, ranging from kindergarten to university level. Carmen de Alvarado, the Pop Wuj Social Projects Director, and Pop Wuj social work Spanish students met monthly with the scholarship families in Chirijkiak, San Juan Ostuncalco, and Llanos del Pinal. Carmen also met with the group in Xeabaj and with individual families who traveled to Xela to submit report cards and discuss educational challenges and school plans for 2014.

The 2014 school begins in mid-January so students are just now returning to class.  We expect to have well over 130 students in the scholarship program in 2014.