Guatemala Conexions

bringing ordinary people together to help create a better world

 

Since 2001, our small group of Canadians has been partnering with local Guatemalans who are changing their country. We have helped with orphanages, seniors' homes, AIDS hospices, building projects, schools, computer labs, scholarship programs, disaster relief, English training, mobile medical clinics, and much more.  Click here to learn more about us and our history.  Today, we are primarily partnered with trusted local entrepreneurs who are making a difference in the Lake Atitlan area. To learn more about them, please read on below:

Grace delivering a handmade blanket to a hospice patient in Antigua, knitted with love by seniors in Canada.

Grace delivering a handmade blanket to a hospice patient in Antigua, knitted with love by seniors in Canada.

Education: Leadership Development Program

if we can give something for our community, for these girls, for these boys, why not?

- Candelaria Xep de Garcia

Candelaria and Gregorio Garcia, our partners in Panajachel, Guatemala, are self-made entrepreneurs. They both grew up in poverty in the villages near Panajachel, speaking Kakchiquel, the Mayan dialect. 

Candelaria and Gregorio own a Spanish school, and in their spare time, they have an exceptional talent for finding 13-year-old economic dropouts from rural villages, then training and refining them into talented, multi-lingual, confident, 18-year-old entrepreneurs.  They are developing 20+ teenagers in their intensive leadership development program, including school tuition and leadership coaching. See their vision here:

Those teenagers are expected to practice leadership immediately, by teaching younger children in their communities, in Saturday-morning literacy tutorials, helping them with Spanish, mathematics, reading, and English.

Conexions has helped with funding for scholarships and tutorials, used-laptop micro-loans, and English House immersion, where students live with Canadians during their school break. We are proud to support Candelaria and Gregorio as they launch their Forging My Tomorrow foundation

Candelaria and Gregorio Garcia

Candelaria and Gregorio Garcia

 

where

 

 

we believe:

in interdependence: together, we're better

in the importance of listening and trust

in storytelling as a key way to understand life and experiences

that each person is of value, regardless of sex, race, creed, or colour

Health Care: Teaching The People

I would rather teach someone about health, than give them a prescription.

- Dr. Francisco Mendez Puac, San Pedro la Laguna

Dr. Francisco grew up as an indigenous Tzutujil boy in the lakeside village of San Pedro la Laguna, and thanks to a scholarship, he was able to attend school.  He worked his way through medical school, including a stint in the USA, and built a practice in Guatemala City.

With that foundation, he and his wife Carina opened a clinic back in his hometown, where he is the only doctor who speaks the Mayan language. See his vision here:

He now spends 20% of his time treating can-pay patients in Guatemala City, in order to volunteer 80% of his time treating can't-pay patients in San Pedro. In San Pedro, he has a surgical centre under construction, with plans to offer surgeries to local people in a safe, hygienic environment, in the Tzutujil language they understand and trust.

Guatemala Conexions has backed Dr. Francisco's volunteer work for several years, investing in his efforts as a self-supporting doctor with a genuine vision for "health care."

Over the years, Guatemala Conexions has supported health care efforts in various places and ways in Guatemala, including other doctors and medical clinics, seniors' homes, AIDS hospices, mobile rural clinics, dental work, and bringing excess medical supply inventory from Canadian hospitals.  As needs and opportunities arise, we adapt quickly.

 

WHere?

 

 

 

San Pedro

is a backpacker centre on Lake Atitlan, a world-famous volcano-ringed crater lake.

 


Chujulimul: Village In Action

I think it has potential to be a model village.

- Massimo Pigoni, Guatemalan businessman coordinating projects in Chujulimul

Chujulimul is a small village in the clouds at 9000 feet, with 1500 people who genuinely cooperate to improve their community.  For Massimo Pigoni, silversmith and businessman from Panajachel, that's a rarity, and so he volunteers his time to coordinate and fundraise for their development projects. See his vision here:

Conexions donated water pipes to connect a spring to the village, and the village dug the 2.5 km, 1-metre-deep trench down the mountain, in just a few days.  

With partnership money from the municipality and Conexions, and volunteer labour from the parents, Chujulimul is completing the second story of their new junior high school, enabling their children to attend past sixth grade.

Massimo with Don Pablo, community leader in Chujulimul.

Massimo with Don Pablo, community leader in Chujulimul.

 

WHere?

 

 

 

Chujulimul

is at a higher altitude than Whistler Village in Canada. This area is called the "Altiplano", or "High Plains."

 



Friendships

Over the years, we have asked a lot of questions, listened to many stories, and made many friends in Guatemala, like Candelaria and Gregorio, Francisco and Carina, Massimo, and many others. 

Since we call ourselves "Guatemala Conexions", you might understand why we value the intangible "conexions" as much as any project.  We are all neighbours, and we are all in this together.

Conexions board members Tim and Ron, at the home of Evelyn, one of our students.

Conexions board members Tim and Ron, at the home of Evelyn, one of our students.

 

Where?

 

We Believe:

that sustainable change is preferable to charity

in freedom to choose

in wakening dreams and possibilities

in the importance of gratitude

that ordinary people working together can achieve extraordinary results

If you'd like to help financially or otherwise, that would be much appreciated. You can trust it'll be put to good use. 

Guatemala Conexions complies with Canada Revenue Agency guidelines for non-profits through our relationship with our receipting partner MMF (BN #80737 5670 RR0001). MMF has direction and control of the resources donated to MMF on behalf of Guatemala Conexions, and holds us accountable for the work that we do, including receipting and expense tracking.

 

 

Email us below for more information, including about donations for American tax receipts.

 

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