Friends and Family,
I greet you from the green hills of Guatemala. Our winter, rainy season, is coming to an end. The coffee trees, choked full of red berries, are our Christmas trees! Harvest is in progress. This past year has been a difficult one for the poor in Guatemala. Coffee prices for producers have improved, yet the plantation owners do not pay the pickers a just wage, not even minimal salary. Landslides and flooding has caused destruction to bridges and highways. Presidential elections have brought little hope for social change. Inflation of basic food prices has increased malnutrition and common illness with children. Many patients postpone seeking health care for lack of even bus fair to arrive at the clinic. Now the women purchase their corn by the pound, where as before they would purchase 25 to 50 pounds on market day. More and more patients come to our clinic acutely ill and scared. Fewer Mayan women can afford to weave the beautiful blouses of their ancestors.
Advent approaches and yet there is hope that the New Year will bring a better life for their families. Their faith is a constant in their lives. People generously care for one another. Education is more accessible for their children and families sacrifice and beg to assure their children stay in the classroom.
I just visited family and friends at home. I attended the Assembly of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, of which I am an Associate. I witnessed the call to occupy the cities and come out into the streets to protest the economic reality. The majority of Americans are not making ends meet; health and education are not available to everyone as they should be. the answers are difficult. The world economic crisis has affected the generosity of others to the poor. The people here are hungry!
Closing doors for the Clinic would be a difficult decision. We ask you to put the Clinica Maxeña on your Christmas List. As the year comes to an end, we are not prepared to face the expenses we must confront. We must also renew contracts with workers and purchase medicines for the year 2012. Most of our workers earn minimal salary of less than ten dollars a day. We cannot provide salary increases again this year. They need their jobs and the sick need our presence as a parish clinic.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND GENEROSITY!
A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS FROM ALL OF US AT THE CLINIC!
SHEILA MCSHANE - DIRECTOR
Donate on line at: http://catalog.diocesehelena.org/Guatemala-Mission-c10/
NOTE for the CLINICA MAXEÑA
or send check for DIOCESE of HELENA to:
Diocese of Helena
Mr Mark Frei
P.O. Box 1729
59624 again remember to note for Clinica Maxeña