In both Santa Maria and Itzapa, the communities in which we work in Guatemala we were kept very busy helping families prepare for the New Year. Plan Ancianos, the food and support program for the elderly was first.
As usual we provided this neglected generation with food staples such as sugar, mosh, atol, rice, pastas, beans and soup. This time we have supplemented the packages with Pacaya plants- a fruit plant that will provide older people with vital nutrition once it is ready in four in five years.
We kicked off the event with a piñata which the old ladies loved. We often have piñatas for the children but this was a first for the old folks. It was a absolute hit and brought much laughter and fun to welcome the year ahead.
With food sparse after the bad weather has destroyed almost all of the crops our older people's food plan couldn't have come at a better time in community San Andrés Itzapa. Every three months we hand out the food parcels to the grandparents of the children who regularly attend our school. This quarter we gave out sugar, atol, mosh, oil and four medicinal plants: Pericón and Romero for stomach problems, Maria Luisa for coughs and Salvia Santa for headaches and blocked noses.
These are all typical ailments that the grandparents suffer from. We are hoping to give them 24 medicinal plants in total over the next year that they can use to improve their health and the health of their family - and this was a great start.
Once again thanks to all who have supported the project without your help we would not be able to do any of this.
This week we were back up in the community to hand out food parcels to the grandparents and this time in the community San Andres Itzapa, we added fruit trees to their parcel! Each grandparent received five pounds of rice, ten pounds of sugar, loads of porridge and an apple and peach tree to plant ready for next years fruit.
To tie in with or educational aims in the community the grandparents of children who attend the school regularly are the ones to receive the parcels, this gathering also serves as an opportunity to bring everyone from the community together which is always very useful.
The hand out was great and went without a hitch, thank you so much to all donors to the project who help us to continue this support.
Recently, we have doubled our reach to the elderly in Guatemala by expanding into another community, so now around 250 families from this scheme. The elderly receive a basic food parcel, with all the essentials like cooking oil, sugar, rice, pastas, mosh (a liquid breakfast containing iron, calcium, vitamins etc) every three months. A huge success, though they only receive the parcel if the children go to school, so basically, the children earn the food package, a great system for responsibility.
Many thanks to everyone
The Plan Ancianos has been a huge success this year, with over 100 famlies benefitting from the scheme. Each month they have received their parcels of oil, rice, pasta, soap and other useful items. In 2010, we plan to roll out the plan in another community aswell, instantly doubling the size of the scheme, though the benefits are showing, with the younger children now eating a bit more, as the older generation have their food as part of the Plan Ancianos.
Thank you to all our donors who make this possible.
Happy New Year
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