Thursday, 17 November 2011

This family consists of a father, Antonio Xalcut Gonzales, age 36, and four of his five children. Antonio is exhausted by the stress of having to be both mother and father to his children. He has difficulty providing food every day for his children and he has no one he can lean on for help. The goal for this family is to provide immediate help with regular food donations while investigating the possibility of Antonio reopening his tienda to provide stable income. The family urgently needs a new bed. 

The Children
Cindy Lorena, 11, was born December 16, 1999. Her school sponsor number is 282. She will be in third grade in 2012.

Ingrid Marleny, 9, was born on August 28, 2002. Her school sponsor number is 953. She will have to repeat second grade in 2012.

Luis Roberto is 14 years old. His school sponsor number is 1532. He will have to repeat fifth grade in 2012.

There are also two older brothers:

Miguel Angel is 17 years old. He is married and lives apart from the family. He works but does not help his father and younger siblings with financial contributions.

Juan Francisco is 16 years old. His school sponsor number was 1533. He had a sponsor but decided he didn’t want to study and now works only occasionally.

Their Family Situation

Maria, the children’s mother, was murdered in September 2009 when she was working in Sololá. The family has had a hard time dealing with their grief from their loss.
The father, Antonio, wears Western clothes, a baseball cap and a wedding ring. He speaks both Spanish and Kaqchikel, and was able to do the interview in Spanish. They live in San Jorge.

Antonio works when he can find a job, usually in construction. Sometimes he works three days a week, and some weeks he can’t find any work. It is especially difficult to find work during the rainy season when there is little construction work available. The children are home alone after school when Antonio works.

Everyone in the family is healthy, though the girls sometimes don’t feel like eating and Antonio thinks they are sad about their mother. Antonio says he now has to be the mother and the father and that is hard for him; there are no other extended family members to provide respite or help for them. When he can’t find work, he has to ask neighbors for food. Antonio feels a great deal of responsibility to provide all the children with food, additional school supplies and clothes.

Their House

They had a house built for them six years ago by an organization that Antonio couldn’t remember the name of. Their house consists of two bedrooms and a kitchen. The roof is lamina with many leaks and the floor is made of mud. The house is in a risk zone, meaning it is in danger of sliding down the mountain. In September 2011 Mayan Families built a retaining wall behind their house to protect it from mudslides. The grounds are littered with trash, clothes, lumber, old toys. It is a long steep walk to the town center and the school but the path is well made of cement steps.

The two older boys share a bedroom and double bed. Antonio shares a room with his daughters.  Until recently they slept together in a double bed but now the girls sleep on the mattress on the floor and Antonio sleeps on the bed with no mattress.  They have some blankets. There are two leaks in the girls’ bedroom and they catch the water in buckets.

Antonio cooks the meals for his children on an Onil stove. Cindy said she is learning how to cook also but was too shy to say what she likes to make. They have a water filter, only three months old. They have electricity, connected water and a pila.

Connected to their home is a tienda that was used to provide an income source for the family when the mother was alive. The refrigerator still works and Antonio makes ice cream that he and the girls walk around selling. When asked if he thought he would run the store again he said he couldn’t raise the upfront money needed to stock the shelves. It is a possibility if we find donors to help with such a project.

inside the serving window

outside the serving window

The girls received new traditional clothes in October 2011. Luis received new clothes and shoes in January 2012.  When we asked Antonio what their most urgent needs are he said they are to fix the leaking roof, additional food and help with the extra school expenses.

What They Need

$170          A double bed for the girls

$150/mo    Food donation (though any amount helps)

Repair lamina roof

Help with additional school expenses

How to Donate
  • To use PayPal, click the button below to go to Mayan Families' donation page. Enter the donation amount in the Family Aid field. Enter FA50 for the Family Name. Specify the purpose of the donation in the Extra Notes box.

  • To pay by check, include a note specifying FA50 as the recipient and the purpose of the donation. Mail to:
         Mayan Families
         PO Box 52
        Claremont, NC 28610