Second newsletter 2011

With pleasure we want to present you the second newsletter of 2011. A lot of new things happened as well as, unfortunately, sad things but that's part of our lives. We hope you will read this letter with a lot of interest and thank you again for all the trust you have in us: Los Niños.

Yearly report and a lot more...
On our homepage of the website you can read our yearly report and financial statements 2010 and the activity plan 2011.

Pass away of Jan Rens
Jan, a very good friend of Ana-Maria passed away on the 3rd of February 2011 after being ill for a long time. He was 77 years old. His wish was to collect money during his funeral to be able to let two Guatemalan students study. One day before he died he saw a picture of the two students Sonia (13 years) and Kelmin (15 years) from San Mateo who both go to high school. Thanks to everybody who participated to fulfill the wish of Jan. We can be sure the students will study even harder now that they know about Jan and his wish that they do well in school..

Project World Trees, National Tree Day 
The avocado-tree in San Mateo Milpas Altas.
On the 15th of February we participated with the education centre Semilla de Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo in the project ´World Trees' by planting an avocado tree which taught the children to care for nature and their world.
Read more..........    

Donations Miriam´s dream fund
We got a lot of reactions after the death of Miriam. It was amazing how many people were had sympathy and Ana-Maria received much consolation by their messages. We sent everybody a letter to say thanks and now we are looking for a piece of land for the family. It's hard to find something because there's not much available near Antigua but we are trying hard. It's still very difficult for the kids. We see that the school results are not as good as they can be and their concentration is low. Maritza, the oldest one, is doing everything she can to keep the family together like her mother always did.
Thanks for all your help

Circus with SEA

An excursion with the kids is sometimes very important. A lot of them never go further than their house and school. Los Niños was invited to go with 96 kids from the project Semilla de Esperanza y Amor to the Circus in Jocotenango.  Sometimes it was really scary for the kids because they didn't have safety tools like we would have but, fortunately, everything went well.  The kids enjoyed every single moment and laughed a lot about the funny acts.




"Five years in Guatemala...a very warm place in my heart".
Virginie writes as she reflects on what, so far, have been the most important years of her life :

"In 2004 I traveled to Guatemala with my backpack and a lot of curiosity to try to do something for a better world. This 6 months became 5 years. I am satisfied going back to Belgium, without backpack but with my (Belgium) husband, my adorable son and my heart full with passion and unforgettable memories.

To the country of forever spring. To the kids, volunteers and employees of Los Niños. To the volcanoes, the guacamole, the nisperos and the smoothies. To the hospitality in spite of the poverty. To the smiley faces of kids who are able to study. To the ´fijese que´excuses. To the macho culture. To all my fantastic friends who are my family here...THANKS!

Thanks to everybody who made this dream come true. Thanks to everybody I met in Guatemala. Thanks to you... My heart is a little bit warmer. A little bit more hospitable. A little bit more quiet. A little bit more myself.

And especially thanks to Ana-Maria. Without her my experiences would have never be the same. GRACIAS, Que Dios les bendiga y que les vaya bien!"

Words of Ana-Maria
I also want to say goodbye to Virginie. This with a smile and a tear. After 4,5 years of sharing the good and the bad things with each other she's definitely going for a new future in Belgium. She's looking for a job and I can say that wherever she will go to work, they will be very lucky with such a positive, motivated, intelligent, spontaneous and hardworking woman. She's a role model for a lot of people. Like how they say goodbye in Guatemala, I also want to do it right now for you Virginie:

 "Que te vaya bien y que Dios te bendiga querida Virginia."

Visit high school Chimachoy (Telesecundaria)
It's always a little party when we visit the school in Chimachoy. In this little village high in the mountains only students from surrounding villages are coming here and nothing much else happens. And so, when, all of a sudden, 30 foreigners arrive you can imagine their happy faces. Since 2004 we have been supporting this school run by the professional director Laura Vasquez de Back. The students receive video classes, English, and computer classes. This year, 75 students, divided in 3 grades are studying.  In November there will be 18 students graduating of which 5 are girls.

The first year has 33 students again with, unfortunately, only 9 girls. Laura fights for the fact that girls also have to study but it's still difficult to convince parents how important it is especially since they live so far away.

Volunteer Sanne tells her experiences :
"The first time I worked for Los Niños was in 2003. I was 18 years old and taught for 6 months as an assistant teacher in Alotenango. It was the most beautiful experience ever and that's why I came back again and again. When I met my boyfriend Martin he told me it was always his dream to do volunteer work in Latin-America. I told him about my experiences and the life in Antigua and very quickly he was so enthusiastic and he wanted to go too. After we both finished our studies, we left.  Now, we've already been here 3 months in Antigua."  .
Read more.........

Ambassadors Jan and Ineke de Smidt
In 2003 Jan en Ineke de Smidt visit Guatemala and met Los Niños. They came with a very nice donation of the ´Soroptimistenclub´ in Overijssel, Holland, and even though they started their own foundation which supports water projects in the highlands of Guatemala, they didn't forget Los Niños.  

In the highlands on the coffee plantation ´El Volcan´ they gave the teacher Oscar and his 20 kids new books for every grade (Los Niños paid for the books).

Oscar was very shy and looked so happily at the colorful books and then back to his old books which were nearly colorless.


Presentation Women's Circle Naomi, Katwijk
Women's Circle Naomi was established in the summer of 2003 by a group of women of the encounter church. Every season they collect money for a diaconal project. In the 15 meetings of last season they were always giving a little fee for Los Niños. One woman even made handmade cards to sell.

At the last meeting with 80 women Suzan Eleveld (of the carpentry workshop in Alotenango) held a little speech on behalf of Los Niños. Our special thanks goes to Cees Jan van Maanen who mentioned Los Niños to Naomi. At the end of the evening his brother got a symbolic cheque of 2940 euro. 2000 euro for the education project in San Mateo and 940 euro for Miriam's dream fund. Thanks a lot ladies for this great gift.


Sad occurence in San Mateo
The 10th of May, Mother's Day, 6 year old Victor Manuel Lopez Pérez from the project Semilla de Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo died of Hepatitis A. The whole family was examined and they all have Hepatitis A and they are now taking good care of that and all feel well at the moment (the cause of the hepatitis was the dirty drinking water). The health center took samples of the water in the project and everything was clean. The mothers of the project had a meeting with a doctor about the seriousness of hygiene: the use of bleach in the toilet and they learned that they have to burn used toilet paper.
We want to avoid these kinds of sad stories for the future.


Festival "Kleurenkaravaan" in Nuenen (Holland)
Foundation NU is the organizer of the most fantastic multicultural festival you can imagine:  KleurenKaravaan!!!

On Sunday the 12th of June was D-day. 
Kleurenkaravaan gave the opportunity to all ´new´ Dutch people to present the culture of the country they were born in, in different ways: touristic information, art, handcrafts, typical clothes etc. You could also enjoy the food from all the countries and there were a lot of performances with dance, song and music. Krissie Lemmens, her mother and Annie Keijzers on behalf of Los Niños were representing Guatemala with a group of Guatemalan people living in Holland. They served snacks from Guatemala and sold handmade crafts of the country. It was an unforgettable day for everybody and we cannot wait until next year.
"If we understand more about each culture and background maybe we can have more respect for each other!"


Our partner organization CasaSito trained a group of scholarship students for months in speech and public debate. The finals were the 1st of June. Two of our students, Wendy and Rodolfo, participated in the last round. Unfortunately they didn't win but they were great. The two topics they talked about were:

"The government of Guatemala needs to change the safety of the country" and

"The government of Guatemala needs to improve the education system"


Closing Dutch Embassy in Guatemala
On the 8th of April 2011, the Dutch cabinet took several decisions to reform the Dutch Diplomacy. On the one hand a bigger heed for economical activities and on the other hand cuts of terms of employment, streamlining of the consular provision of services and extent of representations. In this context they also decided eventually to close 10 embassies and consulates and, the  embassy in Guatemala is one of them. The Dutch government doesn't have a precise date but it will close sometime between 2011 and 2015.

This decision follows a previous decision to reduce the Dutch Development program of Guatemala. This means no more new projects will start but they will continue operating existing programs.

The Netherlands isn't drawing back totally from Central America because there will be a local program focused on the improvement of the Human Rights situation, the Democratic process and the Safety situation.

10 YEARS Anniversary Los Niños
Next year Los Niños will celebrate their 10 year anniversary on Sunday the 22nd of April 2012!  Hopefully, everybody will be there to celebrate this with us in the building of Interpolis Insurance in Tilburg (Holland). It's big enough to have you all and it will be a very special day. So take your agenda and write it down.

Gracias, Gracias, Gracias
We want to thank you all for your efforts and help every year again. Only with your help can we continue our dynamic work here in Guatemala.

Team Guatemala,
(from now on) Christel en Ana-Maria