I think all of us would like to help others in great need but not many get the opportunity to do so at “the hands” on level. The satisfaction of doing so is huge but the complex inter plays that are required to make this happen are many and twisted. We are very fortunate to have come in contact with Jacqueline Mealing who has been coming to this community of 7000 on Lake Atitlan for 21 years. Over the years Jacqueline has earned the trust of the Mayan women and helped them to help themselves. They now have a women’s center as a central place to gather, learn and coordinate projects.
Our project to help the most needy was made possible by four young women; Francesca, Sandra, Petrona and Josepha who speak Spanish and Kaqchikel. They were assigned with the task of going into the community to find those in extreme need. All of them poor themselves, they were saddened to find so many others worse off than they were. They then become our guides taking us through twisted streets to those sleeping on dirt floors in tiny, poorly made shelters.
Graham Calder from the Nanaimo Rotary club who was in San Antonio Palopo four weeks before us created a bed design and found the suppliers of wood and a workshop. When we arrived the templates had been made and 30 beds already cut and ready for assembly. So while Graham did the development work we had the satisfaction of seeing the faces of those who received the beds, many who would be sleeping on a bed for the first time ever.
While other groups are working on the design and installation of a new type of stove our tasks were expanded to include repair and construction of several homes that had been damaged by flood or landslide. We also distributed pots and food supplements, slippers and bags made by our Rotary wives, constructed a latrine and assisted at the dental clinic. And oh! All of you Chemainiac supporters should be proud for your contributions and what they have done..
All of us have had deeply touching moments of either extreme joy or sadness leaving you choked up and speechless.
Signing off from San Antonio Palolo