Stichting Los Niños

Newsletter December 2007

Family Project: weekly reunion with mothers
To help the families and especially the mothers of the students from Alotenango to become more involved into the project in 2008, we will start a special program for the mothers of the six year old Tulipanitos. To prepare for the startup of this new project, in the fall we have had several meetings to find out: what do they want by themselves, what can we offer them, and what can they offer us. But first we had to create an atmosphere of trust: with a cup of coffee, a piece of sweet bread and with some funny games to get to know each other, which made everybody laugh. Utilizing a few theme-puzzles, we finally discovered some interesting conclusions: the mothers are mostly interested in information about good education of children, about women rights, and about healthy food. In 2008 Los Niños will definitely work out these topics! From their side, the mothers offered to lend a hand in the project by helping in the school kitchen.

Help for ill family members (two families) in Alotenango: provided by the students themselves!
Because medical costs in Guatemala are extremely high, Los Niños has a small medical fund which can be used in case of emergencies for the poorest families in Alotenango. But in October, when there where just two cases of illnesses, the Los Niños medical fund was not needed since Headmaster Julio asked all the kids, teachers, and volunteers to make small contributions of money and they collected enough to help the two families! Long live compassion!

School in Tzamchaj ready for new school year
In 2005, in the remote village of Tzamachaj, Hurricane Stan destroyed nearly everything and over 28 families were left without their possessions and were destitute, with no school building. With the financial support of Los Niños, a school building has been finished and in January 2008 the village children can begin to attend a real school.

1st and 2nd of November: eating and flying kites at the cemetery
All Saints Day and All Souls Day in Guatemala aren't very sad or formal happenings. It's quite the opposite! On the 1st of November families come together at the cemetery with flowers to decorate the graves of their loved ones. They all decorate the cemetery and eat "fiambre" together (a typical dish with meat and vegetables and other ingredients that are easy to find in Guatemala. Also, in two villages in Guatemala, giant kites are made and hand-decorated with drawings and messages. The purpose of the kites is to deliver the messages to the ancestors - it is an enormous and beautiful spectacle! On the 2nd of November we went kite flying with the children from Alotenango who all played with their own hand-made kites. Heaven was never so richly colored....

Certificate Ceremony
In November, in celebration of the end of the school year, certificates were handed out at our schools in Chimachoy and in Alotenango. In Chimachoy, 9 students graduated! Both schools have had a very good year and many steps forward have been made. We are very proud of the teachers and students and all of the results they have achieved!

Biking in Guatemala
On November 13th, a group of highly-motivated Dutchmen biked through Guatemala from coast to coast. They asked their family and friends to sponsor them...for Los Niños! The journey ended with a beautiful 135 km tour from Antigua to Monterrico (on the west coast). Virginie joined the bike-riders and she kept up with them without any difficulty! But they did more then only bike... In Monterrico another task awaited them: cleaning up the beach which earned them another $5,000 for Los Niños! With the help of other volunteers and a few of our students from Alotenango, they made it! Thanks to all the bike riders!

Opening creche in Chocantariy
On the 11th of November we were invited to join the opening of the new crèche at the bakery in Chocantariy. In the space under the bakery they worked very hard to decorate the walls with beautiful drawings and informative expressions. There were placed 30 new wooden tables with little plastic chairs around it. In the beginning the little children (4-6 years) felt a little uneasy to have a toy in their hands, for the first time in their lives, while watching all the strange-looking and enthusiastic visitors! Los Niños took care of a part of the furnishing. All of the mothers are very happy now that their children have a nice place to play while they are working!

Actions for the construction of the new school building
After bringing to the attention of our supporters the need for a new school building in Alotenango during our five-year anniversary celebration, a lot of actions were organized and we have already received many great donations. Now we know that our dream for a new school is possible for 2008!. Although due to illness of his wife, our wonderful volunteer architect is stil in Canada , and yet, we hope to be able to finalize the building plan and make other preparations before the end of February. We will keep you informed about our progress.

Thanks to another wonderful donation we've received, it was possible to provide all families from our education-projects in Alotenango and Chimachoy with a Christmas food-basket.. During Christmas dinner in Alotenango on the 21st of December, the baskets all were handed out (the families in Chimachoy had received their baskets previously), and all the children found a ball in the basket they could play with to their heart's content!

Coffee-plantation Capetillo
For the fourth successive year every Thursday-afternoon (during the harvesting of coffee beans) we bring a little joy into the lives of the children of the coffee-pickers who come to the area from very remote mountain villages. With colored pencils, drawing paper, toys and balls the kids can amuse themselves. and there were delicious cookies and drinks to complete it all. On the 16th of December we celebrated Christmas with all the families that work at the coffee-plantation. Besides a small lunch, games and a large jump-bouncer brought a lot of happiness!

Teacher Mario becomes a father
On the 6th of December at 10.30 PM Ana-Maria received a phone-call from a very happy Mario. He announced to Ana-Maria that his wife had given birth ten minutes earlier. Mario was so happy and excited that he couldn't answer Ana-Maria's questions: was everything OK?, was the baby a boy or a girl?, etc. The only thing Mario knew was that his baby had been brouhgt to the maternity ward! In the picture you can see Mario's daughter Maria Angelica just 3,½ days old. Unbelievable how she already looks out and into the world!

Collecting goods in Holland
Because of too much great success, it is no longer possible to drop goods off for Los Niños in The Hague. Nicoletta is coordinating the collection process from her house in Noordwijk. In consultation with Nicoletta (by email: you still can still drop school materials and children's clothing. Thank you very much for your understanding!

Goodbye Alice
With pain in her heart, but with the opportunity to set off onto a new path, Alice will say goodbye to Los Niños Foundation at the end of 2007. Alice coordinated the projects of Los Niños in Guatemala for the past 2.5 years, and although Alice plans to stay in Guatemala, she will work as an editor and take time for futther orientation. Virginie, who has been working for Los Niños in Guatemala for a long time, will now take over Alice's work.

"Dear people, thank you so much for the cooperation, support and trust!"

Heidi new volunteer-coordinator
In 2008 Los Niños will receive many more volunteers arriving from Holland and Belgium. In our desire to provide strong support for our volunteers, we are pleased to announce that Heidi Kusters will be our new volunteer-coordinator in Guatemala as of the 1st of January 2008.

Board changes
On the 1st of January 2008, Jan Jongerius will be the President of the Board. Earlier, as a board member, he was giving strategic advice. Former President Remmelt Schuuring will stay active as a board member and Eduard van den Heuvel (secretary) will quit his job with the board and his position will be taken over by Nico Claassen. Els van Rossen will join the Board beginning the 1st of January. Together, filled with trust with the new board, we will start the year of 2008. We would like to thank Eduard and Remmelt for their great efforts over the past five years!