Friday, September 25, 2015

Nutrition Program - La Victoria

Puede encontrar la traducción a español abajo. 

Text and Photos by Albizael Del Valle

On Thursday a medical group from Pop Wuj was ready to visit the community of La Victoria. Their goal was to check babies who are part of the Nutrition Program and track their health progress. This nutrition program focuses not only on measuring how the baby is doing in their physical development, but it is also an educational day for parents. The parent attendees sat through a dynamic workshop that explained the nutritional needs of children and harmful products for them.

Per usual, doctors check the non-sick babies for preventive care while simultaneously checking sick babies and catering to their needs. Doctors also prescribed the children the necessary medicine and provided medicine to a great majority. The doctors serve these babies until they grow into stable and healthy toddlers. From there, they can graduate from the program.

Lesdi, a three-year-old toddler, just graduated the program on Thursday and is in great shape. We congratulate Lesdi's family for their work, dedication, and love for Lesdi.

We also met Victoriana, whose son could potentially enter the program if a donor could extend their support. Victoriana's son is suffering from malnutrition, well below the healthy weight for his age. Although Victoriana and her son are not part of the program, the doctors treated them as if they were and gave them enough resources to help the child get to a healthy weight for the next month. Pop Wuj is asking for people who could support this child become part of the program and receive the services necessary to reach more health stability as this baby grows.

Lesdi officially graduates

Carmen facilitating a workshop for the mothers.

Victoriana and her son 
Victoriana and her son
Programa de Nutrition - La Victoria 

Este jueves el grupo médico de Pop Wuj visitó la comunidad La Victoria. El objetivo fue revisar la salud de todos los bebés que son parte del Programa de Nutrición. Este programa de nutrición no se centra solamente en el desarrollo físico del bebé, sino también es un día de educación para las madres. Las madres que atendieron recibieron un taller dinámico que explica las necesidades nutricionales de los niños y los productos perjudiciales para ellos.

Por costumbre, los médicos chequean los bebés sanos y proveen atención preventiva mientras simultáneamente tratan a los bebés enfermos atendiendo a sus necesidades. Los médicos también recetan la medicina necesaria para los niños y distribuyen la medicina a las familias sin costo. Las doctoras apoyan a estos bebés en su desarrollo  hasta que crezcan y sean niños estables y saludables. A partir de ahí, pueden graduarse del programa.

Lesdi, una niña de tres años de edad, acaba de graduarse del programa el jueves y está en buenas condiciones de salud. Felicitamos a la familia de Lesdi por su trabajo, dedicación, y amor por Lesdi.

También conocimos a Victoriana, cuyo hijo podría entrar en el programa, si un donante extiende su apoyo. El hijo de Victoriana sufre de desnutrición, bajo peso adecuado para su edad. Aunque Victoriana y su hijo no son parte del programa, los doctores los trataron como si los fueran. Las doctoras le dieron recursos suficientes para ayudar a niño a llegar a un peso estable para el próximo mes. Pop Wuj está buscando a personas que podrían apoyar a este niño a formar parte del programa y recibir los servicios necesarios para llegar a una mayor estabilidad de la salud.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dental Check-Up Day at the Family Support Center!

The Pop Wuj Clinic is once again working with a Guatemalan dentist.  Luján Méndez Bauer and Pop Wuj are now offering discount dental care to project participants (i.e. scholarship students, safe stove families, etc.), Pop Wuj employees, and the general public.  We are still working out the logistics, but we hope to continue offering dental care at the clinic.

We even went to the Family Support Center for a check up day.  Dra. Luján saw about 30 of the 40 children and youth in one day.  We'll go back out soon to finish the rest of the check ups.  Gracias Dra. Luján!

Caroline during her check up

Even the littlest ones saw the dentist

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mini-Fair in Llanos del Pinal

 Text and Photos by Albizael Del Valle

Last Friday on the eve of great celebration in Guatemala as the independence day approaches the Family Resource Center organized a "mini-feria" (mini-fair). Fairs are celebrated all over Guatemala during this season specially in Xela. However, there is not much celebrating going on in Llanos del Pinal where the center is located. This event was done by and for families and students who might not be able to attend or partake in the celebration of the upcoming week.

The event began with a civic act. The children with the highest grades carried both flags representing Quetzaltenango and Guatemala as they were escorted by eight other students also members of the honor roll. The Guatemalan national anthem and the unofficial anthem of Xela, "Luna de Xelaju" were sung by all in the room showing homage to their country and city. Carmen gave a few words on the history of Guatemala and a quick review on the past 194 years of Guatemala´s independence from Spain. She also reminded everyone their vision of not only empowering future professionals but also forming people who are good and responsible.

After Carmen left the stage the students were greeted by a familiar face, the famous Magician. The Magician astonished everyone in the room with his tricks and magic.

Then the fun continued...

 There were plenty of games to choose for both students and parents. Every winner had the opportunity to choose for themselves a prize. Not to mention the great food provided by the mothers of the community.

The Magician

Honor Roll Students 

One of the Games

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Improvements and Repairs at the Family Support Center

Text and Photos by Amy Scheuren

Last week, Christian, a former Pop Wuj student contributed his handyman skills to the Family Support Center.  Christian and Gustavo, a Family Support Center teacher, worked together to build a wall between the recycling bin and the adjacent corn field.  The kids used to take the shortcut through the neighbor's cornfield and he was upset.  In addition Christian and Gustavo improved our recycling container, building a second level to hold additional bags of  plastic.  We re-used some of the materials that were previously part of the playground. 

The pathway and the recycling container before the work started.

The recycling piles up quickly and we did not have enough space in the container.

Gustavo, preparing to install the new wall.

The old playground materials that are available for reuse.

The new corrugated tin wall and the new and improved recycling container.

The space is much cleaner and more organized now.
If there's time this week, Christian will also work on roof repairs in the outdoor kitchen at the Family Support Center and add an extra support to the recycling bin.  Gracias Christian y Gustavo!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Big Changes on the Playground at the Family Support Center

Text and photos by Amy Scheuren, except as noted.

As many of you know, the Family Support Center is based in a private family home in Llanos del Pinal.  Pop Wuj pays rent to use certain rooms and the outdoor space with the idea that the project provides an alternative home for the participants.  In fact, some of the children and youth have lived there with their mothers when their families have had particularly rough patches.

Las chicas enjoying the swings in January, 2015

Unfortunately much of the outside space belongs to other family members and we are no longer able to use it.  The playground was torn down and the land is now a construction site for a new house. The kids, understandably, miss the playground, the soccer field, and outdoor space in general.

The land was cleared in August, 2015

Eventually the soccer goals were removed as well.

We're reusing some of the materials in other projects at the Family Support Center and
hoping to eventually reinstall the swings and soccer goals in a new space.

For the last month we have been talking with Family Support Center mothers and family members in an effort to find another piece of land that would be suitable for the playground, i.e. relatively close to the project, currently unused, flat land, and free or inexpensive.

Carmencita and I traveled to Llanos to look at three options and we decided on a piece of land owned by the relatives of one of our participant families.  It's geographically very close to the project, but due to the construction site where our old playground was, the kids have to walk down the road instead of just crossing the fields.

The land for the new playground

Including a lovely view of Santa Maria

And (temporarily) including cows
On Friday 8/28/15 we walked to the new site with the kids and started moving the rocks.  The goal is clear the land of the rocks, level it a bit, and get rid of the weeds.  Unfortunately, the process will be slow and the site is still considered temporary.

Moving a rock that might be best left alone.  Photo by Gustavo Gomez

Finding different ways to move the rocks, Photo by Gustavo Gomez

Photo by Gustavo Gomez

Even the little ones helped! Photo by Gustavo Gomez

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we're hopeful that the kids will soon have a playground again!