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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LAST 2017 Paso sale.

 Paso Por Paso will be at the Orillia Farmers’ Market on Saturday December 2nd from 7:30 to 12:30. Drop by and support Paso’s activities in Guatemala by purchasing original Guatemalan made items. There is still a reasonable selection of table runners, table clothes, purses, key chains, other assorted items and jewelry. All items, except the key chains,  will be on sale for 20% off the marked price.

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St. Paul’s Craft Christmas Sale

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Paso participated in the 2017 St. Paul’s Craft sale and raised over $400 for their Guatemalan projects. The supply of items is decreasing, but there is still a reasonable selection of purses, table runners, table clothes and jewelry. All items were made in Guatemala by the indigenous Mayan people.

Linda Tiffin at Tiffin’s Creative Centre, 22 Peter St. S., has kindly offered to sell Paso items at her store again. Stay tuned for dates for this pre-Christmas sale.

Arrangements are also being made for one final Orillia Farmers’ Market sale before Christmas. The date will be announced here once final confirmation is made.

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St. Paul’s Craft Sale

Paso Por Paso will be participating in the St. Paul’s Centre Craft sale this Saturday, November 11th. Drop by between 10 and 2 to support Paso’s activities in Guatemala and to pick up some different Christmas presents for those hard to buy people. There are still many original hand-made items available. All money raised will be used to support Paso’s projects in Guatemala. Visit our website, for more information.

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2017 Graduation Trip

Paso Por Paso sponsored the grade 6 graduation trip for the students at the Tierra Linda School again in 2017. The funding included the bus, park entrance and lunch. Paso believes that this is a fitting “congratulations” to the students for completing the elementary school program. Most of the students will be going to the Basico next January for grade 7.

Their day started at 4 am on October 20th when the students and some teachers gathered at the Tierra Linda Municipal School. At around 5:15 a few other teachers were picked up in Solola and the bus headed to Guatemala City. They arrived at Mundo Irtra Petapa Amusment Park about 4 hours later and were given instructions on where to meet to have lunch at 1 pm. The students were then allowed to go to any of the many rides and game they wanted to go to as they had unlimited access to everything for the day. At 1 pm they got together in the cafeteria and ate lunch as a group. After lunch, the students had another 2 hours of fun and then headed back to the bus at around 4 pm. They were all dropped off at Tierra Linda at around 8 pm and each headed home.

Most of the students have never been out of the Solola Province so going to Guatemala City and a major amusement park was a highlight in their young lives. Most of the students could never afford such a luxury and it is therefore a fitting thank you from Paso Por Paso for completing this first major step in their education.

Sergio (the Mayan Families photographer who went with them) said the students wanted Paso Por Paso to “know they are beyond grateful to Paso Por Paso for this opportunity and everything you have done for them”.

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Gravenhurst Market success.

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Paso Por Paso raised close to $700 in sales and donations at the Wednesday August 23 market in Gravenhurst. The Paso directors also spoke to quite a few people who took the time to discuss their experiences in Guatemala and other developing countries and the customers were very interested in learning about the various Paso projects. The supply of traditional Guatemalan items is decreasing, but there is still a reasonable variety of goods available. The next sale date has not been scheduled, but information will be posted here once it is available.

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Gravenhurst Market Sale

Paso Por Paso members will be at the Gravenhurst Market on Wednesday August 23rd, 2017. A good selection of original Guatemalan crafts is still available. Drop by between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm to support Paso Por Paso’s activities. The market is located near the waterfront and offers many different items for sale.

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2017 Summer Paso Craft Sales

Paso will be selling a variety of Guatemalan crafts at the Orillia Farmers Market (Library) on Saturday July 15th from 7:30 until 12:30. The next sale will be at the Gravenhurst Market on Wednesday August 23 from 8:00 to 1. There is still a reasonable selection of original Guatemalan items, but they are selling fast. We still have table runners, table clothes, ipad covers, passport holders, purses, clothing, scarves, wooden items, water bottle holders and a variety of jewelry. Drop by and support Paso’s activities in Guatemala by purchasing well made original items.

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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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