Paso Por Paso’s Activities in Mayan Guatemala

San Pedro volcano, Lake Atitlan

PASO focuses its efforts primarily on supporting indigenous Mayan people in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. It works cooperatively with other Canadian groups and individuals with similar interests and goals. While some of PASO’s directors visit Panajachel each year to oversee our program initiatives, PASO utilizes the expertise of others to implement its programs. Most of PASO’s efforts are supported through the Guatemalan non-profit organization called Mayan Families. Mayan Families’ main operational base is in Panajachel where it has built strong community connections, cultivated good relationships with municipalities, local institutions and service, earned the respect of ordinary indigenous people, and offers multi-lingual communications.

Paso sponsors children in schools, has micro loans for Tierra Linda women, has a school twinning program, offers bursaries to college and university students in the Lake Atitlan area and provides many services to the school in Tierra Linda. Details of these projects can be found here, on our facebook page and on our website

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Paso Por Paso has approved a new roof for the Tierra Linda school. The roof will be built over the current play area. The teachers at the school recommended it as their first priority during the meeting with them in February 2017. The new roof will provide usable space during the rainy season and during the very hot summer days. Currently the students must remain in the classrooms during the many wet and hot days and this will provide the equivalent of an extra classroom and gymnasium space.

Construction will begin in the fall once the school year is over and will be completed before school starts again in February 2018. The Mayan Families organization will coordinate the project for Paso using local labour. Paso directors are looking forward to the official opening when they visit next February.

A number of major fund-raising presentations and events will begin soon in order to raise the necessary funds to finance the project.

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Probus Club presentation

Paso Por Paso directors Fred Fallis and Garry Fell were invited to speak at the Monday morning Probus Club meeting on June 19th. Approximately 100 members learned about the history of Paso, the projects Paso is involved in and the next major project.


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Annual General Meeting 2017

AGM June 04 2017 meeting summary

Sunday, June 04, 2017, 12:15 p.m.  St. Paul’s Centre, Orillia.

President Doris Middleton called the meeting to order. In attendance were the following directors: Fred Fallis, Treasurer, Garry Fell, Vice President, Judith Rapson, Marjorie Tomlin, Doris Middleton, President, Linda McDowell, Jim Hanwell and Howard Raper.  Also present were Sue Hotte, Tina Bemnant, Allison Parry, Tom Lyons, Lance and Kathy Brown.

Minutes of the 2016 AGM were received and approved.

President’s Report: Doris discussed all aspects of Paso’s progress in 2016. They are briefly dealt with in the following sections.

Treasurer’s Report: Fred covered all financial highlights. See for a brief summary. He noted that we are in a good financial position to consider a major project this year.

Student Sponsorship Committee: 31 students were sponsored in 2016. Paso members meet with most of the students in February 2017 to make Valentines and also visited most homes.

Canada Maya Scholarship Committee: Max Tinney has completed his internship and is now a medical doctor in Guatemala. He is looking for a position. Brenda, nursing, is in her third year and Erika, education, is in her second year. A new student, Freddie, has been approved and will start his teaching degree in January 2018.

Micro Loan Committee: 54 loans were given out in 2016, all to women in Tierra Linda. Paso will continue to provide loans interest free. All loans were repaid in 2016, and the ten business planning sessions have proven to be successful.

Membership Committee: The number of donors is almost 300.

Community Liaison Committee: Paso continues to work with the Warminster and Mnjikaning schools.

Fundraising Committee: Fundraising events continue to provide needed monies for Paso. Dale purchased more items in Guatemala which will increase our income.

Infrastructure Committee:  The Tierra Linda School continues to be the main focus. A new roof over the play area was approved. It was recommended by the teachers during the 2017 visit to Tierra Linda.

Publicity Committee: The web site, a blog, a Facebook group, brochure, Newspaper articles, Poster Board and video presentations are used to inform people about Paso.

Howard Raper, Marj Tomlin and Dale Duncan were re-elected for a three year term. Beth Kudar resigned her position and Paul Grainger was elected to fill her spot for a three year term.

Much more detail on each of these committees, as well as other Paso activities, can be found on the web site and on our blog, accessible from the website home page.

For a complete copy of the 2016 Annual General Meeting report and minutes, contact

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Successful Perennial sales.

The 2017 Perennial plant sale raised $1969 for Paso projects in Guatemala. $320 of that was raised at the Orillia Farmers Market and the rest at the main sale. An additional $120 was raised through the sale of Guatemalan items. Many Paso members were on hand to help out and their efforts were appreciated. A very special thanks is extended to the people contributing plants from their gardens. The number, variety and quality of plants contributed to a very successful sale.

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Successful ANNUAL plant sale.

The “Annual” annual plant sale raised approximately $3000 for Paso Por Paso’s projects in Guatemala. The truckload of geraniums and begonias were unloaded Thursday afternoon May 18th and picked up by customers on Friday. All of the plants were of excellent quality and provided by Bradford Greenhouse. Many people contributed to the success of this fundraiser and their efforts were appreciated by Paso Por Paso directors.

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2017 Perennial Sales coming up.


PASO POR PASO is holding two Perennial Flower sales in May. The first will be at the Orillia Farmer’s Market at the Library on Saturday May 20th. The following Saturday, May 27th, will be the major sale of locally grown perennials. The sale will be held at 136 Peter Street North from 8 am to 12 noon. Numerous Orillians have contributed many healthy perennials to this annual fundraising event. A large selection of plants will be available at very reasonable prices including rhubarb, peonies, hostas, various ground covers, astilbes, grasses, lilies, daisies, bleeding hearts and many other varieties. A selection of Guatemalan items including table runners, purses, key chains, passport holders and jewelry will also be available.  All money raised at these sales will be used to finance Paso’s projects in Guatemala. For more information about Paso Por Paso, go to our website, The blog can be accessed from there.

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Pancake Breakfast success

Close to $ 1700 was raised at the annual pancake breakfast on April 23rd 2017. The Good Will offering and donations raised $1025, sale of Guatemalan items raised $317, the raffle raised $50 and sale of greeting cards raised close to $300. A very special thanks to Greta Clarke for providing the cards with photos she took while in Guatemala with Paso members in February. Soo Chung Lem once again donated all of the pancakes and sausages, and cooked them for the crowd of about 80 people. Judith Rapson did an excellent job of organizing the breakfast. Many other people helped to organize, set up and clean up for the event and Paso appreciates their help.

Paso’s next major fundraiser is the Annual plant sale of Geraniums and Begonias. Details and ordering plants is in a previous post.

The annual Perennial sale is scheduled for May 27th. Details are in a previous post.

All proceeds from the Pancake Breakfast and the plant sales go to support Paso’s activities in Guatemala. Visit our website, for more information.

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Paso’s annual pancake breakfast takes place on Sunday April 23rd. Join us at St. Paul’s Centre at 12 noon for delicious pancakes, sausages and maple syrup. New items purchased in Guatemala in February will also be on sale. This is a Good Will offering event and a significant fund raiser for Paso’s activities in Guatemala.

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Annual ANNUAL Plant Sale

Paso’s annual “ANNUAL” sale.

Paso Por Paso is holding its second annual flower sale of GERANIUMS and BEGONIAS.

Orders are due no later than Wednesday May 10th, 2017.

The pick-up date is Friday May 19th, 2017 from 1 – 6 pm at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N.

All of the plants come from Bradford Greenhouses and will be of exceptional quality. Taxes are included in the price.

FIBROUS BEGONIAS – Green Leaves – Red, White and Pink.

Red Leaves – Red, White and Pink.

1 flat, 12 boxes with 48 plants for $18.00

½ flat, 6 boxes with 24 plants for $10.00

1 box with 4 plants for $2.00

GERANIUMS –             Red, Salmon, White, Magenta or Pink.

1 flat with 10 plants for $30.00

½ flat with 5 plants for $17.00

1 plant for $4.00

All Paso directors have order forms and would be happy to accept an order with your payment.

OR contact Garry Fell, 705-326-5018,

OR Fred Fallis, 705- 326-6039, to place an order and arrange payment.

All proceeds from this sale go to support Paso’s projects in Guatemala. For more information, go to our website, , our blog, or our Facebook page, Paso Por Paso Orillia.

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Valentines delivered to Warminster and Mnjikaning.

Paso Por Paso directors delivered valentines to Warminster Elementary School and Mnjikaning School recently. The valentines were made by the students attending the Tierra Linda School in Guatemala. Paso has been actively involved in supporting Tierra Linda for the past 10 years and developing a relationship between that school and the two Orillia area schools. Warminster and Mnjikaning students also made valentines which were delivered to Tierra Linda students on Valentine Day.  A brief presentation about Mayan culture allowed the students to understand a bit more about how students of a similar age live in Tierra Linda. The Warminster students also learned more about Lidia, the student they sponsor in Guatemala. The Warminster students and their teachers, Mrs. Kudar and Mrs. Sheridan, are photographed holding their valentine. IMG_1939a

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