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 will be at the Orillia Library Farmers’ Market on Saturday June 29th from 7:30 to 12:30. There is still a very large selection of Guatemalan crafts available. Many different hand crafted textile products, wooden items, beaded items and jewelry will be on sale at great prices. All proceeds go to support Paso’s activities in Guatemala including micro loans for women, student sponsorship’s, university sponsorship’s, Tierra Linda school construction and emergency funding as needed. For more information, visit our website, and check out other items on the blog.

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2 new directors join the board.


Paso held their Annual General meeting on Sunday June 9th at St. Paul’s Centre. Two new directors were elected.

Roger Pretty, one of the eight original directors, returns to the board after taking a break for a few years. Roger spends several months in Guatemala each winter.  He will replace Judith Rapson for a 2 year term. Judith was also an original member of the board of Paso Por Paso which started in 2006.

Johanna Fell was elected to replace Fred Fallis who had served as President for 3 years and as Treasurer for 3 years. Johanna has traveled to Guatemala 3 time with the Paso group. She is fluent in Spanish and has a degree in International Development and Spanish.

Judith Rapson and Fred Fallis will be missed by the Paso board but both will remain involved with the organization in an honorary role. They will continue to help with some of the various activities they worked on in the past.

The executive was re-elected and includes Dale Duncan, vice-president, Doris Middleton, President, Bob Goodwin, Treasurer, and Mary-Lou Amos, Secretary.

The large group photo of the board includes, left to right, Wendy Goodearle, Linda McDowell, Roger Pretty, Doris Middleton, Jim Hanwell, Dale Duncan, Bob Goodwin, Marj Tomlin, Howard Raper, Johanna  Fell and Mary-Lou Amos. Paul Grainger was unable to attend.


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The 2019 perennial sale was delayed a week due to a very cool spring, but it didn’t affect sales. The weather turned out to be very good with the sun coming out for several brief periods. The sale of plants raised close to $1800 and the Guatemalan crafts added over $300. Paul Grainger and Jim Hanwell did the planning, digging, dividing and re-potting of the plants along with numerous other people including Steve Moreland. Marj Tomlin hosted the sale at her Peter Street residence. Doris Middleton handled the craft table with help from other Paso friends.

All of the funds raised will be used to support Paso’s projects in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala.

The next Paso event is the AGM, Annual General Meeting, at St. Paul’s Centre starting at 12 noon.

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AGM is June 9th, 2019

Paso Por Paso’s ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING will be held on June 9th. The meeting will start at 12 noon at St. Paul’s Centre in Orillia. Enter off of Peter St. and look for the room information.

Detailed information about Paso’s activities in Guatemala in the past year will be presented and a light lunch will be available.

If you are a member and would like more information about becoming a director, please contact Doris Middelton at 705-238-8003 or

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Annuals have arrived.

The geraniums and begonias have arrived and will be available on Friday May 17th at St.Paul’s Centre. An excellent selection of Guatemalan items will also be available for purchase.

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Weather delays Perennial Sale.

A cool spring has slowed the growth of perennials so Paso Por Paso has moved the perennial plant sale to Saturday June 1st. The sale will be at 136 Peter St. N. from 8 to noon. There will still be a good selection of healthy perennials and great prices, so drop by to add to your garden  selection.

Crafts brought back from Guatemala will also be available during the sale. There is still a wide variety of handmade original items.

Both sales provide funding for Paso’s projects in Guatemala.

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Pancake Brunch Success.

A large crowd enjoyed the annual Paso Por Paso Pancake Brunch at St. Paul’s Centre on Sunday April 28th. Close to $1300 was raised for Paso’s programs in Guatemala.

Judith Rapson organized the event and was assisted by Paso directors and friends including 7 from the Rapson family.

The pancakes and sausages were prepared by Steve Moreland with help from several other people. The maple syrup was generously provide by David Anderson and Liz Hurtubise. Paso wishes to extend a very sincere thank you to them for their generosity.

Dale Duncan once again set up the craft area and was assisted by Linda Kerry-Moreland.

A slide presentation was shown in the background throughout the brunch. It was prepared by Johanna Fell and showed the 2019 trip to Guatemala.

Paso’s next major fundraiser is the ANNUAL plant sale. Orders are due no later than May 9th for pickup on the 17th.

The following weekend will be the PERENNIAL plant sale at 136 Peter St. N. Drop by for some excellent quality perennials from local gardens. Donations of perennials are welcome. Call Garry Fell, 705-326-5018 to arrange for someone to dig them up for you if necessary.

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Paso’s annual Pancake Brunch is Sunday, April 28th, 2019 at St. Paul’s Centre. Join us for pancakes, sausages and maple syrup at 12 noon. Donations will be accepted for the brunch. There will be a brief presentation of the 2109 Trip to Guatemala.

Many new pieces of pottery, wooden items, textiles and artwork will also be available for purchase. All of the items were produced in Guatemala and brought back by Paso members to assist with fundraising efforts.

Paso members will also be taking orders for its Annual Plant Sale. There will be a large selection of geraniums and begonias available. The plants will be available on May 17th and orders must be placed no later than May 9th.

Paso’s Perennial Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, May 25th, 2019 at 136 Peter Street North.

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APRIL 20th Market Sale.

Paso Por Paso will be at the Orillia Farmers’ Market on Saturday April 20th. There will be an excellent selection of Guatemalan crafts which have been brought back after the February visit. A very large selection of textiles, pottery, wooden products and various other items will be available at excellent prices. Drop by the Library between 7:30 and 12:30 and support Paso’s activities in Guatemala.

Sunday April 28th is the date for the Pancake brunch at St. Paul’s Centre. All are welcome to attend this event starting at 12 noon. Crafts will also be available at the sale.

The Annual plant sale of Geraniums and Begonias is on now. Pick up is scheduled for Friday May 17th. The PERENNIAL plant sale takes place on Saturday May 25th. Guatemalan crafts will also be available at both of these sales.

Paso’s AGM will be held on June 9th starting at 12 noon at St. Paul’s Centre. The public is welcome to attend.

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13th Paso Por Paso visit to Guatemala.

2019 marked the 13th year of Paso working to alleviate poverty in Guatemala particularly in the chosen area of Panajachel and Tierra Linda. They are in the Lake Atitlan region, about a 3 hour drive west of Guatemala City.

In February, nine Paso Board Members headed to Panajachel accompanied by eight friends and supporters.

On the first full day, we met with the sponsored students for a valentine making session. Each student made a valentine for his or her sponsor and received several photographs which were taken during last year’s visit. The students were also provided with new shoes for the school year and received a variety of food items for the family.

On Valentine’s Day, we attended a presentation at the Tierra Linda School. The new roof financed last year by Paso Por Paso allowed it to double as a wonderful open air auditorium space. The students were anxious to present lively and very traditional dance, poetry and storytelling performances for the Paso members.

One of the most profound and enjoyable aspects of our time in Guatemala is when we are welcomed into our student’s homes in Panajachel, Tierra Linda, San Jorge  and San Antonio. Some of those homes were a real climb but it was rewarding to see the extent to which the students and their families appreciated our interest and our presence.

Saturday afternoon was spent with the past and present Canada Mayan Scholarship recipients at a local restaurant. Paso sponsors students to attend university. There are two students currently obtaining their degrees in teaching and nursing.

During the second week, we presented 55 women with microloans. They have a variety of businesses for which they need the monies. These range from growing onions and vegetables to raising chicken for market or eggs, to weaving, beading, embroidery, running shops and making and selling tortillas. The Paso members also had an opportunity to visit with some of the women in order to learn more about their businesses and the impact it is having on their lives.

Fundraising is necessary to finance all of the activities Paso is involved with. The next fundraising event will be a craft sale at the Orillia Farmers Market on Saturday April 20th. Paso members bring back a very wide variety Guatemalan crafts which are sold in the local area. Crafts will also be available at the annual Pancake Brunch at St. Paul’s Centre on Sunday April 28th. All are welcome to attend. The Annual plant sale and the Perennial plant sale are also happening in May. Check our blog or Facebook page for more details.

Visit our website at for more information about Paso. Access to our blog can be made from the home page.

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