Tag: Guatemala

Dec 29 2012

Three generations give back through sponsorship

Erin meets her sponsored friend, Jose, Dec. 28 while on a CFCA awareness trip in Guatemala.

Erin meets her sponsored friend, Jose, Dec. 28 while on a CFCA awareness trip in Guatemala.

For Erin Gaffaney, CFCA sponsorship runs in the family.

Erin learned about CFCA through her grandfather, Harold.

Over the years, Harold talked to his family about sponsorship and it stuck with them.

“Over time I think some of his children and grandchildren saw the example he was setting and we now sponsor kids or elderly people ourselves,” Erin said.

Erin, an elementary school music teacher, sponsors an elderly gentleman, Jose, in Guatemala. Sheís also using her musical talents to support CFCA’s work.

Erin collaborated with a friend to record a Christmas CD titled, “Prepare Him Room.” The duo will be donating proceeds to CFCA.

“It was never our intent to make this CD a money-making venture,” Erin said. “It thrilled me more to make a quality product knowing that what we were doing was really going to affect people’s lives.”

The musical team put on two CD release parties in their local area and had CFCA sponsorship folders displayed on tables during the live shows.

Erin said CFCA was on the top of her mind when she was thinking about where proceeds would be donated because she was getting ready to meet her sponsored friend on a CFCA awareness trip. She met Jose Dec. 28 at the CFCA center in Guatemala.

The group of sponsors participating in the trip includes her grandfather, mother and two sisters.

“It’s kind of turned out to become a generational thing,” she said, “which is really neat to see.”

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Dec 16 2012

CFCA volunteer hits ‘home run’ in fundraising effort

Bob Meyer, CFCA sponsor and volunteer

Bob Meyer, CFCA sponsor and volunteer


Bob Meyer has volunteered at CFCA headquarters for the past seven years and is dedicated to helping fight poverty around the world.

In addition to volunteering, he’s using his writing talents to help families in poverty realize their dreams for a better life.

Inspired by his love of baseball and a desire to help others, Bob wrote and self-published a book, “Small Town Baseball Ö BIG LEAGUE DREAMS,” focusing on semi-pro baseball in eastern Iowa from the early 1900s to the present. Proceeds from the book are being donated to CFCA and another charity close to Bob’s heart.

Bob has sold more than 600 copies so far, and is planning to donate $1,500 from book sales to CFCA.

“It was the right thing to do,” he said.

Meyer first learned about CFCA sponsorship through a priest visiting his church.

Shortly after beginning their sponsorship of Jeferson in Guatemala, Bob and his wife, Ruth, decided to visit him on a CFCA trip. Read more

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Dec 14 2012

Longtime sponsor plans for Guatemala trip with CFCA

Zena Weist, CFCA sponsor

Zena Weist, CFCA sponsor

So, we talk about CFCA trips all the time.

We’ve told you the stories and showed you the pictures, but it’s still hard to translate the actual joy experienced on a CFCA awareness trip.

Until now.

Zena Weist is a digital marketing professional, blogger, mom, CFCA social media advisory board member and now a CFCA awareness trip traveler!

On Dec. 26, Zena will embark on a weeklong trip to Guatemala to meet her 18-year-old sponsored friend, Angelica.

This is Zena’s first trip to visit her sponsored friend, and she plans on sharing as much information as she can with us while she is there. Read more

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Nov 17 2012

Assistance needed for affected families in Guatemala

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Friends, as many of you know, western Guatemala suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake last week (see our CFCA news report) that affected at least 80 of our sponsored friends and their families.

One sponsored child died during the quake, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. (We’re still trying to reach his sponsor, so weíre not able to publish his name yet.)

Others suffered partial or complete loss of their homes and belongings, especially as many of their houses were humbly built with adobe or mud rather than reinforced with concrete and steel.

These homes were less able to withstand the earthquake’s force and made the impact far more devastating. Many of these houses are destroyed or so unstable that remaining in them would be dangerous.

As our staffers in one community reported, a family was heartbroken because their house, which represented many years of work, was damaged in the quake. As a stopgap measure, they are cooking in the yard and sleeping in a small room that has cracks in two corners.

Our staff on the ground will continue to work closely with sponsored friends and their families to assess and monitor their needs. We’ll be using funds contributed to our disaster assistance fund to pay for repairing and rebuilding homes, replacing possessions lost in the quake, and any other support these families may need.

Please consider making a donation to our disaster assistance fund to help families affected by the quake. This will greatly help us in providing the assistance they need.

One hundred percent of donations to the fund are sent to our projects to be used where they’re most needed, as determined by CFCA and local project staffs in conversation with sponsored friends and their families.

Thanks so much, and we deeply appreciate your concern and support.

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Oct 31 2012

Visiting sponsored aging friends in Guatemala

CFCA in Guatemala: Olga Argueta and Cleta, sponsored aging friend

From left are Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala, and Cleta, a sponsored aging friend.

In the countries where we work, the elderly often have no one to depend on for their well-being. They receive no social security and may not be able to count on family members for support, as adult children are often occupied with their own survival.

About three years ago, a community in Guatemala noticed some of our sponsored aging friends had difficulties traveling to the local CFCA office for birthday celebrations, Christmas celebrations and other CFCA activities. So they decided to take the celebrations to the sponsored friends’ own homes, and that’s how regular visits to sponsored elderly began!

In the words of Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala

Every three months we plan one whole day for visiting the elderly. We have identified six friends of the 50 sponsored aging friends in our community who have difficulties moving around, and they are the ones we visit. Read more

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Oct 25 2012

Walking for water in Guatemala

Many sponsored friends and family members who live in the town of Santa Maria, in Ixhuatan, Guatemala, go without running water or electricity in their homes because these necessities are not readily available.

Edelmira and her family in Guatemala.

Edelmira and her family in Guatemala.

Edelmira is a mother of four: three boys and one girl. Edelmira’s son, Josue, is sponsored through the Hope for a Family program. The family does not have running water in the home, and they must travel to a community tank to get water.

Edelmira gives us an inside look into the life of her family.

What is the current water situation in your home?

We do not have running water in our home.

Every day I walk 20 minutes to a community tank to get our daily supply of water.

I bring the water home in big plastic jars. I carry two jars: one on my head and one on my arm.

I make several trips back and forth to the tank. I walk up and down hills, and it usually takes me about two or three hours every day.

I am familiar with walking and carrying heavy loads. When I was a little girl my father would have us work in the fields and carry big sacks of corn and beans on our head.

Do you ever experience water shortages? Read her answer

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Oct 17 2012

Living in an earthquake-prone area in Guatemala

Suriel-Ramirez-CFCA-staffer

Suriel Ramirez, CFCA social worker in Guatemala.

Sponsored friends who live in the Chiquimulilla region of Guatemala have experienced small, frequent earthquakes for many years. These quakes have affected their lives and the infrastructure.

Suriel Ramirez, CFCA social worker, has worked for CFCA for nearly 10 years. He shared these insights about the earthquakes that affect the area.

How is this area impacted by quakes?

Our town has always witnessed earthquakes ever since I can remember. Many of the earthquake epicenters surround the mountains in this area.

We are vulnerable because two fault lines cross our state. These tremors have gotten stronger and more frequent since June of 2011.

For some reason, maybe it’s a coincidence, we can feel the strongest quakes the middle of each month.

It is scary to witness these tremors. People are alarmed and rumors of great disaster keep us fearful.

How have these quakes affected the homes of families?

A great number of homes in this area are made of adobe. This type of structure is vulnerable to earthquakes. Walls made with adobe easily break and fall with even small earthquakes.

Walls made with cornstalks and mud are also weak and can easily collapse.

Concrete and cinderblock homes are the safest, but even these homes are in danger when a strong earthquake occurs. Read more

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