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 http://www.pasoporpaso.ca

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Pancake Brunch success

Paso Por Paso’s annual Pancake Brunch and craft sale raised over $1000 for the local organization. All of the proceeds will go towards the many projects Paso is involved with in the Panajachel area of Guatemala. Many thanks to Judith Rapson for organizing the event and to Steve Moreland who coordinated the preparation of the delicious sausages and pancakes and to Dale Duncan for the craft table. The many Paso members and friends helping with the setup, food preparation and clean up assisted greatly in making the day a success.
Fred Fallis organized the Earth Day quiz and the Dick Johnson table was the winner and they each received key chains for their knowledge about Earth Day related events..

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Annual flower sale

Paso Por Paso will once again be holding the ANNUAL flower sale of Fibrous Begonias and Geraniums. Orders will be taken until Friday May 11th for delivery and pick up on Friday May 18th. Orders will be taken at the Paso Craft sale at the Orillia Farmers’ Market on April 7th, at the Pancake Brunch at St. Paul’s Centre on April 22nd, from any Paso director or by emailing ffallis@hotmail.com. A flat of Fibrous Begonias, 48 plants, is $18.00 and they are available in green or red leaves and with red, white or pink flowers. The Geraniums are $30.00 for a flat of 10 plants and they are available in red, magenta, pink, white and salmon colours. All plants come from Bradford Greenhouses and are of exceptional quality.

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Pancake Brunch April 22nd

Paso Por Paso will be holding it’s annual PANCAKE BRUNCH on Sunday April 22nd.It will start at 12 noon in the St. Paul’s Centre Banquet Hall. Donations will be accepted for the brunch. Paso members will also be selling the many items they brought back from Guatemala this past February. There is still a great selection of items available.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


Orders and payment will also be accepted for Geraniums and Fibrous Begonias in our Annual “Annual” plant sale. A wide range of colours will be available for delivery and pick up on May 18th. Orders are due by May 11th for this major fundraising event. See our separate blog and Facebook posting for more details.

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Farmers’ Market sale April 7th.

Mark April 7th on your calendar for the next Paso sale of Guatemalan items. The sale will be at the Orillia Downtown Farmer’s Market from 8 am to 12:30 pm. There is a very large selection of new items recently purchased in Guatemala. Textiles, jewelry, pottery and many other items will be available. All proceeds go to support Paso Por Paso’s projects in Guatemala.

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Valentines delivered to Warminster and Mnjikaning

The students at the Tierra Linda Elementary school (K-6) and the Tierra Linda Basico (7-9) made valentines for students at the Warminster and Mnjikaning Elementary schools. Photos below are of the Paso members collecting valentines from the Tierra Linda students, handing out the Mnjikaning and Warminster valentines and of the Spirit Club at Warminster receiving and showing the Tierra Linda Valentines.

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Microloan presentation

54 Tierra Linda women arrived in two group for the annual Microloan presentation. Each women received a cheque for Q1000, about $140 US, in order to start or expand a business in Tierra Linda. Most businesses are agricultural related although there are some textile and jewelry businesses. The women sign or finger print a document, receive the cheque, have a light snack and drink and are then taken to the bank to deposit the money. Several women took the opportunity to thank Paso for the loan and stated how they make a difference in their lives. Paso members will visit with several of the recipients in Tierra Linda on Monday to learn more about their business and to

learn about the impact it has on their lives.

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Tierra Linda celebration

We rounded the corner about a mile above Tierra Linda and were greeted at the overlook by several hundred children, men and women. They were all dressed in their traditional clothing and so excited to see us. Their marching band then paraded us down to the school for the official opening of the new roof. A marimba band, the marching band, numerous student dance groups and dignitaries from every possible organization including the army entertained us under the new roof. Each Paso member was presented with a gift and the official ribbon cutting ceremony highlighted the day for the community. Valentines made by Warminster and Mnjikaning schools were then exchanged with the Tierra Linda classes. A meeting with the teachers was followed by a traditional lunch of chicken, rice and salad. Paso members then had a meeting with two of our sponsored students before heading back down to Panajachel.

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Valentine Making for the sponsors

Paso Por Paso sponsored students come to the Mayan Families office to make valentines for their sponsor or sponsors. It is an excellent opportunity for the Paso directors to reacquaint themselves with each of the students. The volunteer staff at Mayan Families help with instructions and translations. Each student makes a special original valentine which is then brought back and delivered to the sponsor. Each student also receives a 60 pound bag of food to take home. Paso provides the transportation by flete back up the mountain to Tierra Linda since it is close to an hour walk. Thanks to Kathy Almond for assistance with the photography.

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Meeting the volunteers

Paso directors have arrived in Panajachel and one of the first events was a meeting with some of the Mayan Families volunteers we will be working with for the next 2 weeks. The gathering was held at the Rancho Grande Hotel were some of the directors are staying. Most of the volunteers are new and it was the first time to meet with them prior to a very busy two weeks checking up on our many programs. Garry Fell discussed the connection with Mayan Families since 2006.

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National Geographic program

National Geographic TV station will be airing a show about new Maya discoveries in Guatemala. A new aerial photography method shows that the ruins of a sprawling Maya civilization was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed. It also estimates that the population was 2 to 3 times what was originally thought to be. It airs on February 6th at 9 pm.

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