A gift of safe stoves

Miracles in Action and the people of Chuiquel want to thank our donors for their generosity and caring. Many of the recently installed stoves were given by a donor instead of buying gifts for friends and family. We are impressed by the continued support to the poor families in Chuiquel, long after the donor’s first visit to Guatemala. Often when we return to our comfortable homes in the US, and are not face to face with extreme poverty, it is easy to forget how different our lives are to theirs, and how little it takes to help. Thank you for making a sustainable difference with improved education and health.

On Saturday, January 22, 49 stoves were delivered to the community of Chuiquel and staff from our partner charity, Hombres y Mujeres en Accion, spent the day setting up the stoves, training, answering questions, and enjoying the enthusiasm in this community. They will return to this community in one month to follow up on each stove to assure each one has been installed correctly and is being maintained according to instructions.

Lois Warner, President of Hombres y Mujeres en Accion, writes “Thank you for supplying stoves to this deserving community and ultimately improving the health, livelihood and quality of life for 100s of people. Please pass on our thanks to your donors who made this possible.”

Chuiquel safe stoves

Women gather around demonstration stove to learn how it works.

Chuiquel women with safe stove

Women of Chiquel seeing a safe stove demonstration.

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Tzanjomel Village School Project

Volunteers Gary and Jan Jantzen (also a board member) are in Guatemala researching project requests and here is Jan’s report, along with a heart-warming follow-up note from our partner charity.

Tzanjomel is located on Lake Atitlan on the second boat stop past Santa Cruz.  After getting off the boat, we took a pickup truck through another village and then onto the roughest road we have been on in Guatemala.  Now that is saying a lot!   The road was  just covered with large rocks which made driving VERY difficult.

Here is a photo of some mothers who came to ask for a school for their children. Check out the house in the background. It is hard to relate to not having enough to eat or feed your kids, not having a school to send your kids to. These ladies signed a request for a school with their thumb print because they can't read nor write.

The wood poles in this photo are the start of a healthy family center.  The school would go on the right-hand side. It would be 2 classrooms plus a kitchen.  There is room for a school garden.  The land is lush and covered in coffee plants.  One classroom would be for a preschool.  Most of the mother’s do not speak Spanish and cannot read nor write.  Preschool would be needed for the kids to learn Spanish as well as preschool skills. The second classroom would be for 1 grade or 1-2nd grade.  There is a school down by the Lake but it is too difficult for the small child to go up and down the hill on the awful rock road.

Amigos de Santa Cruz built a small shed and a machine that grinds corn for this village about 3 years ago.  The villagers keep the machine and shed in excellent condition and value it.  When we talked to them about maintaining the school they pointed out the excellent care they give the shed and the grinder.

The village has water from a spring.  It also has vented stoves and water filters that Amigos was able to get donated.  It does not have electricity.

There are 2 woman (one is trained as a social worker) that are working with the women.  They will be developing programs on nutrition, gardening, and health.   They also want to use the school in the afternoon for beading classes or other vocational training for the women.  They are open to teaching literacy classes for adults in the evenings or weekends.  So, the school would have multiple uses.

Gary and I think this would be a great project for Miracles.

NOTE: AFTER OUR BOARD VOTED TO APPROVE THIS PROJECT, WE RECEIVED THIS NOTE FROM AMIGOS DE SANTA CRUZ:

Today Jan called me with the wonderful news that Miracles has approved the funding of a school for the community of Tzanjomel.  These people  have never known such generosity and heart and their gratitude is beyond words. In their history, they have been forgotten people. You are changing their lives with your decision to help them build a school and in showing them that miracles can happen when faith is strong and people reach out to each other and work together.

On behalf of Amigos de Santa Cruz and all the people of Tzanjomel –who would be telling you themselves if they could –Thank you all. We are excited to begin the planning and building process which will not only provide a school in the end but will also provide the people of Tzanjomel with an experience that will empower them and their children for generations to come. This is how we change the world…one little village at a time.

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La Pila Preschool Graduation

We recently received a fun end-of-year report from the La Pila preschool, which Miracles in Action helps support.  They had a graduation ceremony for the little ones and sent the following note and photos.

With all my heart I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be with the little ones.  It was an unforgettable experience, especially because when I was with them, not only were they my little friends, but also my soul was filled by their smiles. Thank you because through your donation, La Pila has realized new dreams.

The students line up for their graduation ceremony procession.

This girl was a big challenge — when she arrived, she did not talk or smile. But now you see she is happy, made so by your donation and big hearts.

Erick is a student dedicated and very intelligent. He was always happy during the time that he was in school and says that he will miss school during his vacation (November – January). He sends hugs and greetings to you.

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Tropical Storm Agatha still having an Impact

Tropical Storm Agatha was a weak, but catastrophic tropical cyclone that brought widespread floods to much of Central America and was the deadliest tropical cyclone in the eastern Pacific since 1997. It made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border on the evening of May 29. Agatha produced torrential rain all across Central American and was responsible for 320 fatalities and $1.64 billion in damage.

Shortly after Topical Storm Agatha destroyed homes and crops in Guatemala, Miracles in Action started to send cases of food from Kids Against Hunger in the US, to our non-profit partner charities in Guatemala. Also, we donated funds to our partner charities to buy food in Guatemala. While the memory of this storm has faded in people’s memories in the U.S., the impact is still very real for families in Guatemala who were and still are impacted by the devastation. The following article explains why we are supporting food programs in 2010 and will continue to do so into 2011. Continue reading

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Thank you for voting!

Thank you for voting for Miracles in Action in the Chase Community Giving contest.  Check out our contest results. We finished in the top 200 and so have won $20,000 from Chase, which will be matched with an additional $20,000 from the Carson Foundation.  It was a wild ride at the end, with voting fast and furious during the final few days, but all of our great partners and supporters helped keep us in the top 200.  Thanks for all the support, posting, gift voting and asking for votes from others. A lot of work, but well worth it in the end since we can now rebuild the school that was destroyed during Tropical Storm Agatha.

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Chase Community Giving Contest

Chase is giving away millions of dollars and Miracles in Action is competing for a piece of the action. Continue reading

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Thank you Knitters!

Photos were taken at the inauguration of the Dorothy Goldstein Memorial School #27 in Chuiquel, Patzun, Guatemala on Feb. 15, 2010. Continue reading

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Tea Party Angels

Hello Supporters of “Miracles”,

People often tell me that they want their children or grandchildren to learn about how children live in other countries, so that they will see how fortunate they are in their own lives. Additionally, parents want their children to learn to be giving and share with those less fortunate. I’d like to introduce you to an organization that addresses both of these desires… Tea Party Angels.

Continue reading

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Incredible Work by Two Incredible Young Women

Casey Weimer and Lauren Pomerantz are medical students who went to Guatemala to learn Spanish in Xela (for their medical professions). While studying Spanish they did volunteer work with PEILE and Alirio (a university professor who has facilitated the construction of several Miracles’ schools) in HueHue, a region of Guatemala located in the high northern mountains. Continue reading

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