A year ago Education And More received a grant from the Lorenz Family Foundation to help us present a new program of Bible studies to the women and their little children in our artisan groups. Our Mother and Toddler program was so well received that we are hoping to expand it this year with more groups.
Our Program Coordinator and her assistant were the translators, speaking Kakchiquel and Spanish they presented the Bible studies to over 2300 attendees during the year.
After a few months we surveyed the mothers and the little children that were attending and asked them why they liked coming to the Bible studies.
We like meeting with our friends
I don't always understand what is preached in our church.
I live too far from church and rarely attend.
I like the food. (from one of the children)
It helps me learn more about God and I can tell my older children about what I learned.
Last year the ladies and their children learned about the Fruit of the Spirit. It was a fun Bible study to present to them! The mother of one of the little girls recently told us that her daughter loves to tell her papa all about the Bible study and what they learned that day. She would tell her papa about each Fruit of the Spirit and then explain it to him and she was only 5 years old. We are so pleased that the Bible studies have been so well received.
Learn more about our Christian outreach!
After years of traveling to Guatemala, the Directors of Education And More find they often return to the same restaurants and hotels each time they are in the country and want to share with you their favorites in Antigua and in the Lake Atitlan areas.
Posada La Merced -- Located in Antigua just a couple blocks from La Merced church, this is a quaint hotel that has a real charm about it. Most of the desk clerks and the owners speak English. The German couple that own the hotel also own the coffee shop and cafe next door, Fernando's Kaffe. The cafe has delicious food and the coffee is the best- they roast and grind it themselves.
Posada Juma Ocag -- This is a family owned hotel and if you want a room be sure to call well in advance because they are often booked up. It is located just 3 blocks from the Central Parque in Antigua, so is very convenient for walking around sightseeing. Across the street is the local market as well as the large Artisan Market. Room rates are very reasonable.
Mario's Rooms -- Mario's Rooms is our go to choice in Panajachel because of the reasonable prices and the friendly family that own the hotel. Breakfast is included and you have the use of a small safe in your room to lock up your passport, computer or other valuables when you are out sightseeing. The staff have been there for years and are very accommodating and helpful.
Posada Don Rodrigo, Antigua -- This hotel is one of the most charming hotels in Antigua. Originally it was 3 colonial homes that were restored and made into this hotel that showcases old world Antigua!
Hotel Regis -- A great hotel when you want something a little fancier. Prices are a bit more expensive but they do have unique hot tubs made of stone that are fed by hot volcanic water, massages available, an outdoor sauna, beautiful flowers and landscape and rooms.
The Deli, Panajachel - They have 2 locations in Pana – one is at the end of Santander close to the lake and the other is near the other end of Santander. Vegetarian choices, pastas, sandwiches, hamburgers, soups, burritos, enchiladas, fantastic breakfasts, typical Guatemalan food and so much more. You're going to love it!
Sunset Cafe, Panajachel - Located at the end of Santander overlooking Lake Atitlan. Wide variety of foods available and all really excellent choices. Choose a beautiful evening and watch the sunset while you eat dinner.
Salvadorian Puposas, Panajachel – This is not a restaurant but a street side vendor, making and selling pupusas to order. Absolutely delicious! The lady that runs this little stand sets it up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. It is extremely popular so be prepared for a wait to get your steaming pupusas.
Atlantis Cafe, Panajachel
Great atmosphere and excellent food. From Santander walk towards the Market on Calle Principal and it will be on the right side of the street. Very friendly staff and some waiters do speak English.
This is a new favorite we just found - healthy foods of all types. Their homemade yogurt is delicious as is their typical meals. They have a bakery and a little store to buy granola and other delicious goodies they make in house.
Restaurante Fonda de la Calle Real, Antigua
All time favorite for us! Near the central park and a wonderful colonial look to the restaurant. Food is excellent with many different choices but the best would be the typical Guatemalan dishes. Plato Tipico is a favorite because you have several typical Guatemalan foods on the plate – pupusas, fried plantains, volteados (refried black beans), chili relleno and guacamole.
El Cafe Viejo, Antigua
This restaurant has been in Antigua for many years and has a lot of atmosphere. Lots of locals eat here and we really love it. You have got to try the nacho platter - they are a full meal!
Cafe Condessa, Antigua
Love their breakfasts! Buffet brunch on Sunday morning is excellent, but really, all their food is exceptional. They use the freshest ingredients and many are organically grown. Don't forget to try the fantastic desserts. Very charming restaurant. Across the street from the central park.
Cafe Atitlan, San Pedro La Laguna - Really good food and very friendly staff. Smoothies are excellent! We have eaten here for breakfast and dinner and both are excellent.
Now let us hear of some of your favorites too! Post them in the comments below and we will try them out on our next trip.
The holiday season is known for its overwhelming generosity and spirit of giving which pervades homes in the run up to Christmas Day. But it’s not just during the holidays that disadvantaged people need help and support. Here are a few ways you can make giving a priority all through the year.
Education is the best way out of poverty, but millions of children in developing countries only attend school for a few years before leaving to start work and provide supplementary income for their family. You can help by sponsoring a student so they can attend school from Kindergarten to University. Your student will receive things like school enrollment fees, clothing and new shoes, backpacks and school supplies for the year, Bibles, transportation to school, and food. You can establish a lasting friendship with your student as they send you letters with their progress, knowing that you are helping them have a better future.
Buy Something, Give Something Away
Every time you are shopping for something new for yourself or your home, think how you can give to someone who may need the same. For example, if you need a new pair of shoes, think how you can donate a pair to someone in a developing country. If you need a new kitchen table, donate your old one to a thrift store that provides funds for educational programs overseas. If you’re upgrading your old computer or laptop, think how you can provide appropriate technology for the disadvantaged to succeed in school or work. When you make this a habit, the possibilities are endless for giving to those in need all through the year.
Fair Trade Gifts
Sometimes it seems as if a family member, friend, or co-worker’s birthday is around every corner, and ideas for unique and great birthday gifts don’t ever quite catch up! If you think Fair Trade when shopping, you’ll always have a one-of-a-kind gift, specific to the area from which it comes. You can shop all around the world for handwoven scarves, purses, towels, jewelry, home decor, baskets, and even unique wedding gifts, without stepping foot outside. In turn, you help alleviate poverty by ensuring producers are getting the money they deserve for the products they make. This creates opportunities to help bring them out of poverty, transform harsh working conditions and invest back into their families and communities to provide much needed health and education programs. And with fair trade you know natural materials and ethical farming methods are used, so you can give these gifts knowing you are not harming the environment.
So remember that giving in not just for Christmas but with a little thought you will be able to give to the less fortunate throughout the year.
Millions of people go on long- or short-term trips to developing countries each year. As much as you may have a desire to be one of those, a trip just might not be possible for you at this time. It could be due to an illness or a family situation - but don’t let this prevent you from still helping those less fortunate than you. Here are some ways you can succeed in your quest to help the poor, right where you are.
It Doesn’t Have to be Money
When you hear about helping the poor, the first thing you may think of is donating money, but there are hundreds of other things you can give. And donating your belongings doesn’t just mean old and tatty clothes sitting in a long-forgotten box in the attic. Think clothing hanging in your closet but unworn in the past year, books you won’t read again, toys and games, blankets, tools, even small and large pieces of furniture that can be sold to benefit programs overseas. Remember that no matter how much you have compared to those around you, you are wealthy in comparison to most of the world’s population, many of whom live on less than $2 a day. Rummaging through your closets, drawers, attics and basements (and even storage units!) you are sure to find something unused that will be prized by another.
Understand the Issues and Fight Against Them
Educating yourself on the issues surrounding poverty in developing countries goes a long way in combatting it. Don’t take for granted what you hear on the news and from others: pick a country or two and research the issues faced by people there. The more you know, the more you can help. It is well known that those in developing countries have limited shelter, clothing and food, but they are also deprived in areas such as education, adequate healthcare, and representation in local and national government. If you are good with words, why not write a short article and send it to your local newspaper?
Buy Fair Trade
With the internet and our increasingly global world, you can shop for one-of-a-kind products from all over the world without stepping outside your house. In turn, you help alleviate poverty when vulnerable farmers are able to make a fair wage. Small-scale producers of tea and coffee, for example, are often among the lowest paid, and disadvantaged women skilled in making handmade goods work long hours in harsh conditions. When you support fair trade, you ensure producers are getting the money they deserve for the products they make, and creating opportunities to help bring them out of poverty. Earnings invested back into the families and communities provide important health and education programs that would otherwise be lacking.
Support Education and Sustainability
You have no doubt heard the phrase “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Make sure you are not giving handouts, but are supporting programs designed to empower people in developing countries. Get involved with organizations and support programs where education and sustainability are the priority. You might find a student to sponsor so they can develop skills and a trade that leads to a good job, independence and a better life.
Fair Trade. You have probably heard the phrase floating around for years - you may even buy Fair Trade products - but what you may not know is what are the true differences and what the benefits are. Here are seven of the best reasons to go fair.
Fair trade means vulnerable farmers and producers are able to make a fair wage. Small-scale producers of tea and coffee, for example, are often among the lowest paid, and disadvantaged women skilled in making handmade goods have no opportunity to sell them for what they are worth. When you support fair trade, you ensure producers are getting the money they deserve for the products they make, and creating opportunities to help bring them out of poverty and benefit whole communities.
Women in developing countries often work the longest hours in the harshest conditions for the lowest pay. Children, too, labor alongside their parents to provide needed income for the family. Fair trade means that there is no forced labor, no child labor, and that conditions and pay are fair for everyone doing the work.
You have no doubt heard the phrase “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. That is exactly the principle of fair trade - it empowers the people making the goods and teaches them how to build sustainable businesses. The profits go to the producers themselves, and in turn families and whole communities are benefited. Earnings invested back into the communities provide important health and education programs that would otherwise be lacking.
Modern production methods often use chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to workers in the fields but with fair trade the producers use ethical and sustainable farming methods and often use organic farming methods. The environment is protected and the workers health is improved.
Fair trade respects the culture of the artisan producers so Fair Trade companies often incorporate cultural designs and traditions into the products they order from the artisans. This might include a special weaving method, unique local materials for the products or traditional designs from the artisan’s country. You can shop all around the world without stepping outside.
Recently a team of students and faculty from the textile department at Kansas State University traveled to Guatemala on a study tour with Education And More to learn backstrap weaving, ikat dyeing and natural dyeing of yarn from our Mayan artisans.
The first part of the week each of the students were paired up with one of our Mayan artisans to begin the process of learning the art of backstrap weaving. The artisans we work with are masters on the backstrap loom since most of them began learning how to weave when they were about seven years old. At first the women and the students were quiet but as they got to know each other lots of laughter could be heard throughout the work room and outdoors under the trees even though most didn't know the others language.
The first process the students learned of backstrap weaving was how to warp yarns to put on the loom. The women made it look so easy as they wound the yarn on the warping board but as the students soon learned it was not that easy on the first try!
Backstrap weaving, the trip participants soon learned, is not mastered easily but step by step they slowly learned that they could actually produce a beautiful textile. From anchoring the warp to the front and back bars to making string heddles they were amazed how it all came together.
Enjoy our photo gallery of the KSU students during their trip to Guatemala to learn backstrap weaving and contact us so we can develop a special trip for your university textile department or your weaving guild.
Joining a mission team and traveling to another country can be a life changing event and one you will probably remember for the rest of your life but will require a lot of planning before you land at your destination in country. There are many items to check off your to-do list as you are getting ready, so here is a short list of tips to help make that pre-trip planning and the trip itself go a little smoother.
Make copies of the photo page of your passport and put one in each suitcase. Or scan it into your computer and email the copy to yourself so you will have it in your email on your phone, I-pad or laptop. If you lose your passport while on the trip it will be much easier to get a replacement if you have a copy of your original.
Always pack a small flashlight with you – you never know when it will come in handy - electricity in developing countries is not always reliable.
Take a suitcase lock. Even though you can't use it on your luggage when flying you can use it in the hotel room to lock up your valuables in your suitcase.
Snap a photo of all of your prescription bottle labels in case you need to get a refill – a photo on your phone will give you the information you need in another country for a refill.
Remember to use Skype or Facetime when calling home so you don't have a huge cellphone bill after the trip.
At times airlines misplace luggage so it is a good idea to pack into your carry-on suitcase enough clothes and needed essentials for about 3 days in the event that your checked luggage is delayed.
Fancy clothes and flashy jewelry only indicate you are a tourist with money. Dress down. Leave the fancy jewelry, flashy handbags, etc at home.
Ask permission before taking a person's photograph.
Respect the culture and differences in the country you are visiting. For example: are the clothes you are wearing appropriate for the culture of the country?
Take time to interact, smile a lot, laugh a lot; be friendly and display positive emotion, be a good listener; be honest, courteous, sensitive and sincere.
Try new foods, the new language and everything that comes along. Get out of your comfort zone and try it all!
It's a good idea to take along an antibiotic so in the unlikely event you end up with traveler's diarrhea you will already have the medication you need.
Toss in your suitcase a few ziploc plastic bags – quart or gallon size. They are very handy for so many different uses on a trip.
Many people around the world speak English and many children learn basic English in school. To avoid hurt feelings, remember this when you are talking with teammates around the local people.
Consider eating yogurt with active probiotic cultures for several days before leaving on your trip. Probiotics are good bacteria that help your digestive system. Many people find they keep themselves in better health on trips by using probiotics – either in the form of yogurt or in pill form. They might just help keep traveler's diarrhea at bay!
Check with your doctor to see if you will need any vaccinations for the area where you will be traveling. Vaccinations such as hepatitis, rabies, malaria, etc.
Consider buying a cheap cell phone in the country you will be visiting. Often you will be able to buy a cheap flip phone for about $20-$25 and then buy minutes so you can call back to the States at a very reasonable price.
Help us out and add your tips in the comment section below!
Great Websites to Learn More About Guatemala