Archive for June, 2009

She did it again

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Winnie has been busy. This is Winnie and she knits afghan blankets for the kids at the orphanage.

I visited with Winnie today and picked up 80 blankets for the kids. She said she’s not much of a TV watcher so she knits instead. For fun, we made a chair out of the 80 blankets. You can’t see all of them but there’s a stack of them. And there’s a stack of them behind her as well.

This is the 2nd time that Winnie has donated a large quantity of these colorful blankets to the orphanage. The blankets are just right for the pequenos…the small kids. There are about 20-25 pequenos most of the time. We can stitch these together to make larger blankets for the bigger kids but these are already just the right size for babies. I imagine that the majority of these blankets will be given to new moms in Guatemala and some will also be given to an orphanage that has infants.

Winnie, thanks for the time and patience that it takes to make all these blankets…..again!

A musical legend has died

Friday, June 26th, 2009

We heard the news yesterday that Michael Jackson passed away. Yes, he was a controversial figure, a musical genius, a superb dancer, a father, an abuser of prescription drugs and alcohol, a conflicted man with health problems but boy did people love his music. His reach is around the world. Whether you liked him or not, he was a showman. He had to live life in the public eye and that is never easy. People say he was abused as a child and that is a difficult thing for children to get past.

Many of our children at the orphanage loved his music and revered him as a singer and dancer.

Michael, may you be at peace now.

It’s gotta happen soon

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Jennifer will be in Guatemala soon… like tomorrow. She’s coming with a mission team and they will be at the hogar for a few days over the next week. Jennifer will also be visiting other sites and projects.

Jennifer needs our thoughts and good wishes. She will be going to the U. S. Embassy, again and again if need be, to get Kevin & Gustavo’s adoption moving in a forward motion. It seems to have gotten bogged down in the embassy for the past 6 months and it’s time for some face to face interaction, questions and answers. Jenn is determined to find out what’s going on. It seems she just can’t talk to the right person and we’re not sure what the holdup is.

So please, think positive and let’s all keep our fingers and toes crossed. I will be tracking the progress so if I hear any good news, I’ll shout it from the rooftops… and also post it on the blog.


Helpers and donors in Vermont

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

What does it take to make a blanket? That was my question to someone who’s making blankets for the kids in Guatemala. Here’s part of her answer.

I was glad to get your note, and that the afghans arrived ok. I am working on another one to send too! With regard to how long it takes to make an afghan, I estimate 30-40 hours for each one, depending on the pattern and the gauge of yarn that I use. Mostly I crochet late in the afternoon, or in the evenings when watching television. I can usually put in up to two hours before my hands start bothering me. I don’t crochet every day, or else I could make one every month. I did have to buy some yarn last week, as my supply was getting low.

So… there you have it. That’s a lot of hours to sit making blankets for the kids. Wow! Not to mention the cost of buying the yarn, deciding on a blanket pattern, the time to package them up and the cost and time to mail them to Orphan’s Hope Project.

Here’s a picture of the finished project. These are the three hand made afghans that I got this week from Karen, from Vermont. Karen and her husband Richard are regular donors to Orphan’s Hope Project. They send Orphan’s Hope Project a monthly donation (money), usually in quarterly installments. They do this because they can and because they want to help. They know we need to help these kids in whatever ways we can.

Karen, thanks so much for keeping the kids in your thoughts and in your heart. We appreciate the help that you and Richard provide to us. Thank goodness for friends & donors in Vermont!


Spreading the word

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

The more people we tell about the orphanage and the work that we’re doing there, the more we find people willing to donate, help and visit.

I was the guest speaker at the Cordelia Rotary Club today. It was a breakfast meeting and that meant leaving at 6 am to get there on time. That’s fine…it’s not a problem. I brought my laptop for a Power Point presentation, I brought Orphan’s Hope Project brochures, I brought pulseras and I also brought a picture story board.

When you tell stories about the orphanage and the kids, people listen. I could talk about the kids all day. We hooked up the laptop to the projector and the presentation flashed up on the screen as I talked and shared. There were some good questions and I enjoyed every minute of it. After the questions and the presentation, I moved off to the side for individual questions. A number of people came over and bought the Guatemalan pulseras. As some of them put them on, I asked them to think of the kids each time they wore them.

In the past three years, this Rotary Club has provided about 500 hand made knitted/afghan blankets to children in Guatemala. Their blanket project started in May 2006. Coincidentally, three years ago, May 2006, was when I first visited Guatemala and Hogar Miguel Magone Orphanage. I guess our connection was meant to be. I have taken their donated blankets to the orphanage a few times and the kids love them. And the children are especially pleased when the club members attach beanie babies to the blankets and tie the blankets and beanie babies together with brightly colored ribbons.

It’s a pleasure to be connected to a fine group of caring people. Rotary Club members, I thank you.


Oakland Raiders are big supporters of the hogar

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Yes, many of you know that the Oakland Raiders are big supportors of our work at Hogar Miguel Magone Orphanage. They donate numerous items and we ship the Raiders merchandise to the orphanage prior to our work trips. When I am there, I personally give the goodies to the boys. Some of the things that have been donated are Oakland Raider shirts, hats, lanyards, spiral notebooks, Raider’s folders, flag football sets, Oakland Raiders soccer balls, Oakland Raiders stickers and of course….beautiful, sturdy Oakland Raiders backpacks. The Oakland Raiders organization donates 100 backpacks for the beginning of the boys’ school year. The boys LOVE the Oakland Raiders.

I went to the Oakland Raiders headquarters on Friday. I also was able to meet many, many members of their fine staff.

This is a picture of the Oakland Raiders headquarters building in Alameda, CA. Isn’t it beautiful? How would you like to look at that lagoon every day when you come to work?

Here’s a better close up of the entrance to the building.

Here’s a picture of some of the staff members that I met with while I was there. Part of the reason that I was there was to say ‘thanks’ to as many people as possible. I had silver & black pulseras (bracelets) made in Antigua, Guatemala. I had these made specifically for the purpose of giving one to each and every staff member at the Raiders headquarters building. I had 70 pulseras made and I gave most of them out on Friday. And that was fun. Mark (holding the Orphan’s Hope Project shirt in the left of the picture) and I walked all over that building a few times, trying to catch people at their desks, waiting til they got out of meetings, or off the phone, etc. He introduced me to everyone that we could find. All of them received their silver & black pulsera (with a thank you note) and many of them put them on their wrists right away. Yes, of course they liked them…they were Oakland Raiders colors.

Here are some of our younger children with their new backpacks. These boys range in age from 5 to 9 years old.

Here are some of our medianos…the medium sized boys. This group is usually our largest group of boys and sometimes we have 20 medianos…sometimes closer to 30. They are usually about 9 years old to 13. Most of our children are smaller than children in the US.

Here’s a close up of four of our boys. On the day the boys got the backpacks this year, they also got new sweatshirts. They were doubly happy that day. This picture was taken in January 2009. January is the beginning of their new school year. They really need those backpacks as they have to carry all their books and school supplies back and forth each day to school. And their walk to school is 1 3/4 miles…each way. And it’s a hilly walk. They get their exercise. I love walking them to school in the morning.

This is Miguel, showing off his new hat and shirt. Many of the boys love wearing their hats off to the side like this. Look at that smile!

And of course, the Oakland Raiders logo. We couldn’t forget that.

We are eternally grateful for all the items that the Oakland Raiders give to the boys. One day, we might even get a player at the orphanage so that he can feel the joy of giving these wonderful gifts to the boys.


He’s healing

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Update on Juan Carlos….. Juan Carlos had surgery a few weeks ago. See web log from May 19th. Juan Carlos is still in a wheelchair but he is healing and he’s feeling much better. He was moved up to the transition house after the surgery. That building is the only building that had space for him, that’s also away from active arms, feet and legs of other boys, it’s a quieter location and that building is wheelchair accessible. Also, he’s getting one-on-one attention. How sweet is that? Will, our volunteer from Hondurus, is taking care of him. Sadly, Will is leaving soon. Happily, Juan Carlos is healing and then he can move back into the dorm with the other boys.

And that’s a good thing.

High Speed Internet

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

We got it! It works! Tigo high speed internet is now in the orphanage. We have a hard wired connection and a new Tigo router in the administrator’s office. In the dining area, just outside the admin office door and in the immediate area, we are able to get wireless connections on our laptops.

Tigo came through for us. The speed is not the same as Comcast or what some of us are accustomed to in our homes and offices in the US but it’s 7 times faster than the old internet that we had. Yep, the old internet contract expires on July 1, 2009 so in January/February we made the decision to upgrade the service to a different provider. Tigo is now able to offer 3Gps and for a third world country, it’s great. I want to pay it months and months in advance so I will do that when I return to Guatemala. I left enough money to pay for the router, the cable installation and for a few months of service. We are still planning on extending the signal into the psychologist’s office and also into the volunteer’s room in the peques building. We’re not sure if that will require cables to each room or if Tigo’s new antennae will allow a signal in those areas. We’d have to get the antennae but that would certainly be easier, if it works. That will be investigated and we’ll find out soon.

In the meantime, we’re excited to be able to go online with this faster connection. Now… we need laptops. Yep, we want to set up homework stations and some classes for the kids on laptops. But we need laptops.

If you have a laptop that you would like to donate, please contact us. It will be put to good use. It should have a wireless card and MS Word, Publisher and other basic programs. We don’t have the resources to fix computers so please make sure it’s a working computer. Thanks so much… I would be a big help.