Ashley and her family in Guatemala

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Mayan Families
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Hi, some of you may remember Ashley and her family situation.
Ashley came to stay with us last year ...she stayed at my house for about 3 weeks.  Her step father who had raised her from about a 2 years old  ...decided that he no longer wanted to support her.
Ashley was then around 12 years old.He made the mother choose between sending Ashley out of the house or else the mother would have to leave with her three other children ( who he was the bio father ) .
The mother could not leave the house as she had no where to go . She had no way to support her children.She was going to send Ashley to work with a woman who said she would take her to the city where there was work in the local market.
This is an area known for prostitution and when we heard what the mother was contemplating  ...we asked her not to do that ..and told her we would look after Ashley till something permanent was worked out for her.Ashley was very confused and sad during the time she was with us.But she also confirmed what her mother had told us .That the father's family had never wanted him to marry her mother and they had never accepted her or her mother into the family.
They made life very difficult for the whole family ...they lived in a family compound in a very rural area...near Chimaltenango.  The father loved his wife...we saw this when he brought her to us for medical care. He was very concerned about her and did all he could to look after her.
His issues seemed to be with his family and he didn't know how to resolve them. After three weeks of Ashley living with us...the mother called to say that the father had gone to work on the coast and told her that Ashley could now come back to the home.
We didn't hear too much from then since then.  They had come in and brought report cards but all seemed to be working out o.k.Then this past week the mother called to say that while she and the children were out...the husband hung himself at their home.
Ashley's mother could barely talk for sobbing...and it took us awhile to find out what had happened.    She had returned home and found him there. His family blamed her and would not help her at all.
When she called us ...she was in the house she had shared with her husband....his body was laying on the table but there was no coffin and the family would not come to help her at all. Usually, the families here help each other at these times, preparing the body,  arranging the death certificate, notifying neighbors, arranging the coffin, getting chairs, bread, coffee, sugar and sodas for the mourners who will come .  But this family did nothing but leave her alone with the body ....and tell her that now her husband was dead that she and the children were no longer welcome to live in the house on the family compound.   She said that in the morning the husband had told her that he could not stand the problems with his family any more and it would be better if he was dead.  
She told us that she would come to Mayan Families as soon as she could.  On Friday , 2 days after her husband's death, she came to our office with Ashley and her three siblings. Ashley has a brother around 11 years old, a sister who is approx. 6 years old and a little brother who is 3 years old.  As soon as we saw the 3 year old brother we realized something was very wrong. His right arm was hanging beside his body....he had broken his arm at his father's funeral .   The mother had been too distraught to put much attention to the little one ..and she could not afford medical care for him.    We immediately called an ambulance to take him to the hospital . We could have driven them ourselves but if a patient is brought to the hospital by ambulance then they are immediately taken for attention to the emergency room.  If they arrive by themselves  then they have to sit outside in the waiting area until someone can attend them...which can be a very long time. 
The little brother was admitted to the hospital on Friday and the mother has to stay with him.  He has fluid in his arm and they are unable to operate till Monday. It looks like they will have to put pins in his arm.  Poor little boy, nearly two days with a broken arm and no treatment. 
In the meantime, the 11 year old boy went back to the house to look after whatever they have there.  Apparently, he is treated well by the family....probably because he is the older male child. Ashley and her 6 year old sister are staying at Mayan Families. They have moved into the room that the other three girls are sharing, Karina, Fabiola and Olivia.They seem to be doing o.k.  We gave them clothes ..thanks to the donations that we receive.Yesterday, Debra and Tony ( who are two fantastic volunteers who come every year to work with us ) with their daughter, went to the Mayan Families office , took pizza for the children and played board games with them.  They all had a great time. 
The mother and son are expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.We are not sure of what the situation will be.The mother wants to move to Panajachel. But she has no money.
She needs to be able to pay her rent and provide food for the children.She has no skills ...except cleaning and washing ...and this will only earn her $3 US per day.We need to have someone who would be willing to sponsor her to have her rent paid for at least 6 months so that she can get on her feet. The family will also need help with food.
Their main need right now will be to pay for the medical care for the 3 year old boy.To have food for the family.To have their transportation costs for a pick up to bring their possessions to Panajachel. It does not look like it will be possible for her to stay in the family compound. 
If anyone would like to help them, please let us know. Thanks,Sharon Sharon Smart-Poage
MAYAN FAMILIESa registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charitywww.mayanfamilies.org 

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