Archive for June, 2007

Board of Directors

David Milholland, founder of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and Peace Corps Volunteer, Guatemala 1968-70.
Romelia en Columbia

Sister Romelia Chacun Murgia, 2nd Assistant and Secretary General of the General Council of Siervas del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus y de los Pobres (Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Poor), world-wide order of 672 nuns, 54 schools, 4 hospitals, and 10 seminaries. Sister Rome served many years in Guatemala and is now at the Mother House in Mexico.
Co-Founders Eulalia Paiz and Don Livingston, in front of Temple of the Jaguar, Tikal. Eulalia is a medical student at Universidad Mesoamericana, Quetzaltenango, and spends a lot of her time coordinating in-country activities.
Mike McLeod retirement

Mike McLeod, Inter-American Development Bank, retired.

Kirk Lightfield, 20 years experience as an IT engineer, 7 years as a misisonary in Guatemala, currently in IT at the Guatemalan Bible Seminary.

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Quaker Scholarship Students Receive Computers

Click here for Quaker scholarship program web site.

24 students in a Quaker non-sectarian scholarship/loan program received computers, monitors, and printers in 2007, almost all of them Maya, and bilingual in Spanish and one of 23 Mayan languages. Miguel Angel Costop, Director of the Quaker program, said in an email “As you can see, in many cases several members of the family came to pick up the computers. I have no doubt that the event was something very important to them. The parents usually gave us very respectful thanks for the gift of computers.”
Nohelia Cun Apen
Nohelia Cun Apen, far left, with her parents and three siblings, taken at the Quaker’s office. Nohelia studies accounting, a secondary career, and comes from San José Poaquil, Chimaltenango. She is 16, speaks the Mayan language Kaqchikel, and is the first of 7 children, so all of them are potential users of the machine. Right now there is another sister studying basico (junior high school) that is fully using the computer also. She said she uses it basically for word processing and lots of spread sheets (Excel) in order to do her accounting homework. She says everybody at home is very happy because buying a new one would have meant at least ten times that amount.” DELL PENTIUM III DONATED BY LAURA LEEDS.
Enrique Jom Lem, at a hotel in Coban where the students come every month for interviews to report on their progress and to pick up their checks. Miguel Angel reports: “He is 31, speaks the Mayan language Poqomchi, and is in the last year of secondary teaching at a private university in Quiché. He comes from Aldea Pajuil, in Chicamán, El Quiche and is married with two children.

Benjamin Garcia Barreno. Miguel Angel reports: ” Benjamín lives in Paraje Pujacar a village of Totonicapán in the western highlands. He is 28 years old, speaks the Mayan language K’iche, married, with 2 children: 5 and 4 years old. He is studying at university in order to become a secondary teacher and then continue to be a “licenciado” (6 years career) in education. He says he practically didn’t know anything about computers but with the gift he could learn, mostly by himself, during vacations how to use the basics and to use Word and Excel which is what he will use the most. He also says he has started to teach his kids how to use the computer so they don’t have the same problem he had.” COMPUTER DONATED BY WARREN RANSOM, DARIEN.
Ana  ElizabethSirin
Ana Elizabeth Sirin, with her parents and two little sisters. Miguel Angel reports: “She is 17 years old, speaks K’iche, and studies bilingual elementary teaching (secondary level) in a boarding national school in Chimaltenango. She is from Caserío Chuacruz, in San José Poaquil, Chimaltenango. She has 4 siblings, one older who is also an elementary teacher but unemployed. She left the computer at home and uses it on the weekends when she goes to visit her family. Although she explains her oldest sister is using it in order to learn computers since she plans to go on to university in the future. Ana explains that three other cousins are coming to learn how to use it and she uses the machine to do her weekend homework which according to her is an awful lot! Before having the computer she had to pass first to her town and spend a couple of hours at an internet café to make her homework before getting home on the weekends. Now she can go straight home and do the work at her house.”

Carlos Enrique Butz Caal, left. Miguel Angel reports: “Carlos is 22, speaks the Mayan language Q’eqchi, lives in Aldea Chaimal, San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz, in the northern highlands of the country. He is studying to become a professional nurse, which is a three years university career. He says he is sharing the computer with 3 younger sisters studying basicos and one in primary.
Jaime Torres, Quaker bookkeeper, giving a computer to Gloria Marina Enrique Lara. Miguel Angel reports: Gloria is 19 years old, does not speak a Mayan language, and lives with her mother and two younger sisters in a very humble house in San José Poaquil, Chimaltenango. Because of the need of money, the three sisters have to work and she is the only one that has started a secondary career: elementary teacher. Although she says now with the computer her sisters have shown some interest in learning about how it works and probably will start their studies again.” GLORIA’S COMPUTER WAS DONATED BY STREETER TECHNOLOGY.
Braulio Mardoqueo Mendez Juarez, with his father. Reports Miguel Angel “Bruno is 21, speaks the Mayan language Mam, is from Aldea Chipomal in Concepción Tutuapa, San Marcos. He is in his last year of bilingual elementary education at a semi-boarding catholic school in the department of Sololá. The school gives them food but not a place to stay. He is renting a room with other 2 friends in a house of with about 10 guests. He says he had to pay about Q125 ($16) to make some repairs to the machine (he couldn’t remember what exactly). He says the other boys staying at the same house sometimes use the computer, especially to do written reports. They have agreed to buy the ink for the printer together every time it is finished. The other boys are studying the same career at the same school.”

Albertina Sanic Chipix
Albertina Sanic Chipix, far left, with her parents and siblings. Miguel Angel reports: “The computer was ok. She only needed to change to Spanish the OS, for this she paid Q175.00 ($23). Albertina is studying to become an elementary teacher (secondary career) and is 21 years old and lives with her parents and 5 younger siblings. They live in aldea Hacienda María, one hour from her town, San José Poaquil in Chimaltenango. One brother is studying basico (junior high school) at his village and both Albertina and her brother are using the computer. She says they have started to teach her youngest siblings, three of whom are in elementary school. According to her without this help her brothers and sisters wouldn’t have the chance to even know a computer.”

Victor Manuel Ixim Colorado, receiving his computer at a hotel in Coban. Miguel Angel reports: “Victor is 35 years old, speaks the Mayan language Poqomchi, is married, and has 5 children, three of them in primary. He is studying secondary bilingual teaching and says now things are much easy with his studies because since he studies on a weekend plan, group meetings and homework are very common. What they usually do is divide the homework the group has and everybody has to do his part at home and then they put all the parts together. For him this was particularly complicated because his village, Belejú, in Chicamán, Quiché barely has electricity so he had to go to town, almost an hour by car or three walking. Another advantage he sees is that his children are already discovering how to use a computer. He had to pay Q100 to change the OS to Spanish and put new programs. He also bought a battery and a new printer because the one he got didn’t work. But he says he is very happy and says thanks a lot for the gift.” November 21, 2007. COMPUTER DONATED BY BOB BANTLE, DARIEN.

Micaela Tzaj Cotiy, right, with her younger sister. Is Micaela smiling because she is the one getting a computer? Miguel Angel reports: “She is 27, from Nahuala, Solola, speaks the Mayan language K’iche, and is in her sixth year of bilingual education. She has reported that the computer if working fine after changing to Spanish the OS and buying a new mouse since the one she got was old and didn’t work fine. She said she had to pay Q300 ($40) for both things. She is using it a lot since this year they have their seminar (which is some kind of class investigation they do during almost the whole year) and they have to do a lot of reports.”

Jaime, staff member of the Quaker Scholarship Program, giving a computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer to student Roberto Bulux. He is 18 years old and lives in Aldea Vista Bella, Tecpán, Chimaltenango. He is studying agriculture at the secondary level. He and his younger brother live with their grandmother since his father died and the mother abandoned them several years ago. For them getting a computer was something really big because they barely got money to buy their school supplies. Roberto explains he had to pay Q200 ($26) for making some changes in his computer. He had to work several weekends in the fields in order to collect that money but now the computer is working fine. It is very valuable for him since he studies all day and gets home late in the evening. It was common for him to spend a night with some friend with computers but now he can do his homework at home.
Elvira Ramirez Mejia. Miguel Angel reports: “She is 20, speaks the Mayan language Mam, is the first of 12 children living in a community of refugees who returned from Mexico several years ago. She lives in San José El Carmen, Patulul, Suchitepequez in the south coast. She is studying secondary teaching with specialization in physics and math.

Edgar Rudy Tepaz Con, Reports Miguel Angel “Edgar speaks K’iche, is 25 years old and studying secondary teaching (math and physics) at university in Quetzaltenango. Edgar lost one arm during an electrical accident several years ago and that plus the fact he is coming from a very poor family from Antigua Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Sololá have complicated a lot his dreams, including studying. He has tried hard to study, that’s why we decided to give him one of the computers in order to stimulate him to keep going. He reports the computer is being of great use and value for him because he usually had to pay internet cafes at other towns and the fact of not having one arm makes traveling in buses, and sometimes pick ups, something very hard. COMPUTER DONATED BY WARREN RANSOM, DARIEN.


José María studies law at university Mariano Galvez in Totonicapàn, he lives in Aldea Chuanoj, Toto. continue reading

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Catholic Charities Will Clear Containers Through Customs

We learned today that CARITAS (Catholic Charities) in Guatemala will clear our containers through customs in Guatemala, which other wise is fraught with bribes. Meditterean Shipping Lines will bring the containers to the CARITAS warehouse of Guatemala City where the various schools will come to pick up their computers. Dr. Carrera and his staff at Carritas have worked hard to arrange all the paper work for our first container. June 13, 2007.

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Collegiate Church Corp Approves $2,500 Grant


Having barely finished our web site, we emailed it on June 4th to Casey Kemper, E.V.P & C.O.O. of the Collegiate Church Corp., oldest Protestant Church (1624) and oldest corporation (1696) in the US, to see if their Benevolence Committee might consider a grant. He said their last meeting until October was in two days, and submit a proposal. Carol Adams, AVP, Corporatre Secretary & Administration for the Corporation, provided us with a list of documentation required for the application.

We quickly prepared a proposal, with lots of photos from the web site and required documentation. The application from the religious order in Guatemala had to be translated from Spanish to English by David Milholland in Portland, Or, fellow Group XI Guatemala Peace Corps Volunteer, whose computer died just as he was working on the translation. He rushed out to get it fixed.

After numerous calls to Guatemala and California to find a Quaker Clerk of Meeting, or treasuer, Martha Dugan of the Quakers in NY, in 15 minutes, wrote the committee a required letter agreeing to be the 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit that would accept the donation on behalf of Computers for Guatemala which is not yet a not-for-profit. The final, and very rough, proposal was submitted to the committee half way through their meeting.

THANK YOU CASEY, and CAROL ADAMS for getting the proposal into the agenda at the last minute, and KEN CHASE AND THE BENEVOLENCE COMMITTEE! Gracias Madre Chusita in Barillas for writing your application so quickly (two drafts), and struggling with a quirky fax machine, gracias to David for translating, and gracias to Martha for her quick work that saved the day! And gracias to Eric Madsen of FOG and Mike McLeod Group XI Peace Corps/Guatemala for offering to help! Next time, pues!


Don, The Benevolence Committee of the Collegiate Church was pleased to answer your request for support of the Computers for Guatemala Project. We are impressed by the deep need of the people of Guatemala and how you and your cohorts have responded in such a meaningful way. Our Committee looks for ways to have impact and it believes that the $2500 grant fills that objective. All the best, Casey.”

Casey Kemper,EVP/COO of the Collegiate Church Corp., commenting on their Benevolence Committee grant of $2,500.
Casey Kemper, EVP/COO of the Collegiate Church Corp.

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Promising Quaker Students Looking For a Full Scholarship

Here are three scholarship students in a Quaker scholarship/loan program who are looking for a sponsor. The students are not Quakers.

She is 19 years old and is studying her second year in medicine. She comes from a non indigenous family from El Tejar, in the department of Chimaltenango. Even though her home town is relatively close to Guatemala City (about 32 miles) she needed our help to continue her career. Her mother works as a teacher in a private secondary school, where the payment is very low compared to what she could earn in a public school, but it has been the only job she has been able to get. Her father used to work in a company in Guatemala City but sadly he was fired. Now he is doing all kinds of informal jobs, like selling home-made ice cream in the streets, which doesn’t make very much profit. For this reason they have problems in supporting their three children and especially the career of Ana Beatriz, even though she is a very brilliant student. In the recent years our students in medicine have had problems in passing the courses, especially in the first two years. But since the beginning, Ana came with grades above the usual average of our students and she finished the first year in medicine satisfactorily. She is a very good example of many people in urban places who have some advantages over rural people but also have lots of problems in achieving their goals. After she graduates as a general doctor she would like to become a pediatrician and work with the children of her home.


Vilma is 18 years old and comes from Pachay Las Lomas, a village in San Martín Jilotepeque, in the department of Chimaltenango. She is studying law, in the first year at the Mariano Galvez University. Her parents barely can read and write but have tried to provide education for their 5 children. Even though, the two older children couldn’t go beyond junior high school, the other three have completed the secondary and currently Vilma and a sister, who is studying medicine in Cuba, have started their university degree. Vilma wants to become a lawyer to help her people, especially women, to know and defend their rights. In this sense, Vilma has had a big inspiration: her mother. This woman has been part and founder of a couple of women’s organizations in her village. She has helped women to get organized as weavers and sell their products at better places and prices, and also with projects of raising chickens and pigs. Now that Vilma has finished secondary school and got a diploma as a primary teacher she is involved with the organization where her mother participates and is helping them to achieve their goals. With such an influence we don’t doubt Vilma will be a good leader for her community and get important changes for all of them.



Eulalia is 22 years old and comes from Aldea Yulichal, Soloma in the department of Huehuetenango. She is studying her second year in law at the Mariano Galvez University. She comes from a typical rural family of Guatemala, with a large number of children. She is the fifth of ten children and is the first one that has finished secondary school and entered university. This has not been easy, since many families still believe that education is worthy only for men and not for women. In order to complete her secondary level and graduate as a primary teacher, she had to leave her town and move to Antigua Guatemala, about 400 kilometers from her village. She studied in a Catholic boarding school for indigenous women with the help of a scholarship and graduated in 2005. She always believed she could do more and by the time she studied at the boarding school, she discovered that a good way to help her people in that very remote area was to help them in courts and other legal matters, using her own language. But doing this without any help was something impossible. Now with the help of our program and a half-time job she is making a reality of her dream: to become a lawyer. She hopes that in the future she can help her younger siblings to continue their studies and make things a little easier than in her case.


“An average of the three is about $90 per month, which makes about $900 to $1000 per year. This is the typical amount a university student needs to pay his most elementary needs. They can change depending on the career, school, town where they are from, etc.

Miguel Angel” June 8, 2007

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Our web master, Simon Weaver, a/k/a “a Brooklyn Lad,” did a fantastic job. Thanks Simon!

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Eulalia Paiz

Eulalia Paiz, Quaker medical student, received Charlie Faurot’s lap top. Eulalia is here with her brother, sister in law, and three nieces in Jacaltenango.

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