Newsletter September 2010

We are pleased to send you the third newsletter of 2010, filled with the latest news on the situation after the heavy rains as well as some positive news of our different projects.

Letter of gratitude from Julio Garcia,
Bendición de Dios in Alotenango after the storm Agath

To all our Friends. 
We cannot take our eyes off the needs of many families living in unacceptable conditions and we cannot stop using our hands and mouth to speak for them, fight for them, how to do something for them. 
So today I say that we have achieved 100% in bringing the families who were affected by Tropical Storm Agatha, thousands of droplets of love. Because I say: droplets of love, because the count on the support we've covered the basic needs that these families needed urgently.

Read more.....

Virginie is back from maternity leave
Ana-Maria is so happy Virginie has started working part time again. She has found a babysitter to take care of baby Mateo in the mornings and she's enthusiastic about being back at work. Isn´t he beautiful?

Since September 1, we have a new Guatemalan colleague, named Julio Fernando Castellanos. He speaks English and Spanish fluently and right now he's being taught the tricks of the trade by Ana-Maria and Virginie. For the moment he's doing a 3 month probation period with us, but hopefully by the time the next newsletter appears, he will have joined our team permanently.


Rob and Marlous receive a cheque of € 3.158,67 for Los Niños
On October 12, 2009, the students of primary school ‘Saint Johannes' and the residents and volunteers of Care centre ‘Bethanië' in Mierlo, organized a sponsor run for the benefit of Foundation Los Niños. This sponsor run which forms part of the "young teaches old and old teaches young"- project, was a big success.

Rob, a former student of the primary school and the uncle of Rens, the grandchild of Mrs. Janssen who lives in the Care centre, has worked and lived in Antigua for six months together with his wife Marlous. During these months they worked as volunteers for Los NiñosLos Niños.

On March 15, 2010, the couple gave an interactive presentation for all the students and the elderly about their experiences in Guatemala. People couldn't believe their eyes when they saw the images of how Guatemalan kids still live nowadays.  At the end of the evening they received a cheque of € 3158, 67. We really want to thank everyone who participated in this fantastic initiative.  Muchas Gracias

Marlous and Rob keep supporting Los Niños actively even though they are in Holland now. Should you be interested in an interactive presentation for your primary school, party or for any other event, don't hesitate to email the following address:

Volunteer Elsemieke tells about her internship at EducArte
20-year-old volunteer Elsemieke Grooters was looking for a place to do her work placement practice to complete her Cultural and Social Training studies. Through Los Niños she came into contact with EducArte, a small foundation in Ciudad Vieja, just outside of Antigua. EducArte consists of a young team which tries to improve local society situations by means of education, expression (theatre, dance and arts) and social skills. 

After the Agatha disaster, EducArte decided to help stricken families in three different villages by improving their housing conditions, using financial support provided by Los Niños. Elsemieke says: every Saturday there's a meeting with the families in which we discuss recent developments. The founders of EducArte, Rafael (sociologist) and his daughter Alejandra Hernandez, work to organize the families in order to teach them how to act as an independent community. I accompany them to these meetings and play interactive games with them. I am finishing a socio-economic research to get a better idea of the situations in which these families find themselves. Almost all the families consist of three generations. In most cases, the oldest generation owns the ground on which the house is built in which they live/ together with their children and grandchildren. Right now, they find themselves at a junction: on one side there are the owners who are being "supported" by the community and on the other side there are the youngsters who cannot rely on this advantage. To tackle this obstacle, EducArte tries to make these families work together as a team. The program offers them education in fields such as prevention and social skills.

"I'm so thankful for the opportunity Ana-Maria gave me with EducArte. It's is a once in a lifetime experience! "

Sports festival 2010
Last May, CasaSito organized a sports festival for the very first time and it turned out to be a huge success. The children from Semillas de Esperanza y Amor (San Mateo) and Alotenango were very keen on winning one of the medals. On the picture you can see Ana-Maria handing out the first prize to the girls from Alotenango for winning a basketball competition and to the boys of San Mateo for winning the football competition.

Click here if you are interested in reading more on this sports festival.


Music festival 2010
It was the second year the music festival was held in Alotenango and just like the first time, it was a big success again. .
Click here to see more images of this great day. Thanks to a special donation, Los Niños was able to hand out prizes such as cheques (money) and guitars.


Ex-volunteer makes jewelry
Edith van Marle makes jewelry and donates all of her profit to Semilla de Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo. Only the material costs are being charged but those are generally quite low. It is possible to have a piece of jewelry custom made. The goods are sent by post in a special package. Interested? Have a look at the following website:

Cooking class with Margarita
Twice a week, Guatemalan Margarita goes to Alotenango to teach the children the basics of cooking. It goes without saying that hygiene plays an important role in these classes and as you can see in the pictures, the children's beautiful black hair is covered with a cooking hat and everyone is wearing aprons. The children love it and after eating their home cooked meal, in this case pizza (see photo), there is absolutely nothing left. Margarita gets a small wage from Los Niños for her work here.


New landslides
This message dates from Sunday, September 5. The landslides caused by weeks of heavy rain have caused new casualties throughout Guatemala. Many people lost their lives when their bus was covered by a mudslide. While rescuers were searching for victims they were hit by a new mudslide, which took the lives of more than 20 people.

Rescue services have, so far, managed to evacuate more than 5, 300 people; nevertheless, 26,000 are still being threatened by new landslides according to rescue reports. President Alvaro Colom has called a national state of emergency.


He claims that Guatemala lacks money in order to give all the stricken areas the help they need, because the country hasn't recovered from the previous disaster. Colom estimates the damage caused by weeks of non-stop rain to be at about 350 to 500 million dollars (270 to 390 million euros). Over the past week the weather stabilized slightly, resulting in more sunshine and less rain; however, hurricane season isn't over yet and more rain is expected to fall in the coming weeks. Fortunately, none of the families in the projects have suffered any new damage from this terrible weather. We thank you all for your warm hearts and your many concerned emails about the situation of our families. Alice Lee from our partner organization CasaSito was on her way to a remote area when she was struck by heavy rains

Ana-Maria's new family member
The 7th of August, Ana-Maria was walking her dog near her house when they suddenly encountered of Coco Chanel, a terribly neglected puppy which was very skinny and in fact, she appears more dead than alive, and a neighbor reported that she had been wandering around the neighborhood for over 8 days!  Ana-Maria took her in without hesitation and now, 5 weeks later, it seems as if she's always been with her. Keetje still is a bit jealous from time to time but that situation is improving.

Compare the 2 photos; one taken on August 7 at the vet's and the second one on August 9 in Ana-Maria's garden. Isn't she the luckiest doggie on Earth???



Construction news from San Mateo
The new school in San Mateo is about to be painted and decorated, and the contractor is leaving the building by the end of September. The rain didn't make it easy for him and his workers but fortunately the roof is in place so the walls can start drying.

The finishing touch will be done by a Dutch furniture maker who will stay and work for two months and there is a couple who are willing to come for two weeks to paint; they all are doing this work as volunteers! The official opening is planned for Wednesday, 19th of January 2011. You are more than welcome to join us! Below you can find some pictures to give you an impression of what the school now looks like.

A thousand thanks
We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us to keep the projects running,. and we are especially thrilled with the beautiful donations we have received to complete the school in San Mateo.