Are We Going to Guatemala? Answering this Differently for the First Time in a Decade
- Posted by Courtney Quigley
- On May 11, 2020
- 0 Comments
Dear HOPE’S IN Community,
First and foremost, thank you for sharing our passion and desire to empower families in Guatemala City. If you are reading this and have been part of our impact, thank you! Our original plan was to communicate any changes for the Service Learning Exchange summer trip to Guatemala at the end of this month. However, after several in-depth conversations with our partners in Guatemala and as a Hope’s In board, we have made a decision. Our summer trip is canceled. Personally, the thought of not going to Guatemala for the first summer in 10 years breaks my heart. The hugs, the tears on dedication day, the friendly banter with Walfred at the Intercontinental Hotel, seeing how much my sponsor child has grown and learned over the last year…they will be so greatly missed! In fact, tears were welling up in my eyes as I typed this.
As an organization, we know our decision to cancel the trip, though extremely difficult, is in the best interest of our volunteers and the families we work alongside. We don’t foresee a responsible way to bring a large group internationally to work with such a vulnerable population during this unprecedented time.
Though we won’t physically be in Zone 3 this summer, our impact will not stop. As an organization, we have decided to provide very focused relief efforts in the garbage dump communities. We all know how hard working these families are, however, because of the quarantine here’s what they are up against:
- Families have not been able to work in the garbage dump for over two months. That means their daily wages of $5-7 a day have not been obtainable, therefore families are going hungry.
- With so many people being home all day, the water system cannot manage the demand and these marginalized communities are only provided access to water 2 times a week. Often, the water is only available in the middle of the night which has left families staying up throughout the night just to get some water. This is very dangerous as we know hand washing is a key element to preventing the spread of the virus not to mention other health concerns this creates.
- The government safety net is nearly nonexistent. Although there is a shelter in place requirements, the government programs have only offered one bag of supplies to families over the last several weeks.
WE’RE FEEDING 544 PEOPLE, almost 5% of the population of Zone 3, WILL YOU HELP US?
As an organization, we have decided to provide relief through staple foods with the aim to keep families safe with the most basic necessities. We are also procuring masks, hand sanitizers, soap, and water through a partnership with a Guatemalan Rotary Club. We are concentrating our relief effort to families that we have been in direct contact with over the last several years. Here is our commitment:
- Providing staple foods in partnership with Potters House Association for the 41 families we have built homes for in the past that don’t have children in the Potter’s House Sponsorship Program as these children are receiving food through sponsor’s donations. https://hopesin.org/building-
- Providing staple foods for our Fortaleza women and their families along with food for 30 other single, expectant teen mothers. https://hopesin.org/fortaleza/
- Providing to 10 women from our OSO Microenterprise program with staple foods. .https://osomicroenterprise.
- Providing staple foods for 10 elderly individuals who have no family to care for them.
As an organization, we feel so deeply in our hearts that this is the right thing to do. Knowing that families we love so much are struggling to eat is heartbreaking. These relief efforts will be evaluated on a month-to-month basis and be discussed by our board each month. We don’t want to create any dependency and know that these families prefer to be hardworking again to provide for themselves. As you all know, poverty is complex and is much more than a lack of basic needs. To overcome poverty, in a holistic way, people also need personal accomplishment and increased self-esteem.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
We ask you to consider the following options as we proceed:
- Save your spot on our team for next Spring or Summer. You can reply to this email with which session you’d like your spot reserved.
- SPRING SESSION: March 20-27th, 2021
- SUMMER SESSION #1: July 25-August 1st, 2021
- SUMMER SESSION #2: August 1st-August 8th, 2021
- Send thoughts and prayers to families in Zone 3 as they navigate this crisis.
- Make a contribution to our COVID EMERGENCY RESPONSE fund. Please see the chart to learn more about how your donation will be used:
|Staple foods for a family we’ve built a home for in the past.||$67 feeds a family for a month.|
|Staple foods, diapers and wipes for single mothers in the Fortaleza program and in the community.||$67 feeds her and her family for a month.|
|Staple foods for an elderly person in the community.||$34 feeds that individual for a month.|
|Staple foods for a woman in the OSO program and her family.||$67 feeds her and her family for a month.|
The best way to give is through this link: https://hopesin.org/emergency-
TEAM HOPE IS STRONGER THAN EVER
Though we won’t go to Guatemala with a team this year our work has never been more impactful. Additionally, we are going to come up with fun, innovative ways to stay connected and to grow. As we monitor the Governor’s “Restore Illinois” policy, we hope to be able to host small get-togethers for our amazing HOPE’S IN community. Please keep an eye out for special invitations and opportunities to see one another and to connect with Hope’s In.
Please know that you are valued by us! If you have any questions or need anything during these crazy times, I’m just a phone call away!
We’re taking the “apart, together” slogan internationally.
Rock the hope always,