Chicos de Chimal

A lot has been going on with the kids up in Chimaltenango who have made Dick's home their second home.  I don't get to see them all that often, but they hold a special place in my heart.  I have had a chance to watch a couple of the games which the team Cesar is coaching has played, and have to admit I love watching Elder especially.  He's always held his own playing with the big guys and shines now that he's on a team with younger kids.

School this year has been difficult for a lot of the guys.  Looking at their textbooks, I can understand why, especially in math and science.  What they are studying is more complicated than what I can understand or help them with, but they are plugging away for the most part.

Carlin has returned to Chimaltenango this semester, due to family situations.  He is finishing out the year at a school up there, but the change in the curriculum has been quite difficult for him, not to mention how costly this move has been.  Pray as he considers what he will do next year.

Kevin is now living with us, at least during the week, as he does his practicuum as a dental assistant at the Health Center here in Antigua.  He doesn't get done with work many days til it's too late to take the bus back to Chimaltenango, and so he's staying with us and helping with Fidel in the evenings.  He's very proud of his studies and his career choice, and we are, too.

Fernando has been struggling since the death of his grandmother.  While he is trudging on, I know it's not easy for him, and he's now pretty much on his own as his momma is in the US.  He's not sure if he wants to continue school past Third Basico, and has talked about coming to work for me.  Pray for him and for us as these decisions are being made.  He has a lot of potential, but right now I think he needs to be part of a family more than anything.

Tony has accepted a job working at an orphanage in Parramos, so we are having a few staff adjustments.  Marcos and Ebner David are filling in on weekends, and are a great help.

Marcos is considering studying in Jocotenango if he can get into that school, and wants to live with us starting in January.

Finally, there's Cesar.

He is really coming into his own.  He is completing his career education in teaching PE, and will be, God willing, going on to the University in January. He will be the first of "our" kids to do so.  I admire his determination and his commitment to his education.  School is not easy for him, but he makes up for it in diligence and hard work.

Recently he presented his final project for his promotion, and he invited Dick and me to attend.  I don't think we could have been prouder if he was our own son, and I know I teared up more than once during the presentation.  He looked awfully handsome in his suit and tie, too.

Just yesterday he completed one of  his final requirements for promotion, and it was a tough one.  To pass his swimming requirement, he had to swim across Lake Atitlan!  Swimming is not his strong suit, and both Dick and I were very concerned that he would not be able to make it the whole way.  We were more concerned that he would push himself too far, and would have problems before one of the kayaks accompanying the swimmers could get to him.  We've been doing a lot of praying about this one.

I am happy to say that we worried for nothing.  While I'm sure it was very hard for him, he succeeded without incident.  He's really proud of this accomplishment, and we are too.  What I am most proud of, however, is his conviction of  where he received the power to do this.  He posted on his facebook page:

I thank God for giving me this experience and the ability to do what I set out to do.  Thank God for giving me the opportunity to cross the lake.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"

Summing Up in Santa Maria

Since I am preparing to leave for the US next Thursday, and we are getting ready for the celebration of Independence Day here in Guatemala this week and next, my days of teaching at Nueva Vida have come to a close for this year.

Joel, one of my students with Down Syndrome,
counting the days on the calendar.
He can now recognize numerals 1-10!
Before I go, though, I want to share with you what has gone on this year in our class.  We have seen such progress academically, socially, behaviorally and spiritually in our kids, that I couldn't pass up a chance to brag on them.  While each year it seems more kids need additional help outside of their special classrooms, I think we have finally found a system in which I can effectively provide support for the students and their teachers.  I never thought I'd be a classroom teacher again, but I have to admit that (most days!) I'm loving it.  It is so exciting to see our kids finally "get it."

Griselda, another student with Down Syndromepracticing the days of the week.
A year ago she could not talk and now, through the hard work of Jennifer Giessmann, our Speech Therapist,
she answers most questions verbally!
I need to thank each of you who supports this classroom through Causa de Esperanza, either though your prayer or donations.  Your gifts pay for me to travel to Santa Maria and provide the supplies and materials we use in our room.  Your prayers are what keep me going when I feel like I can't teach the same concept one more time, but need to.  How I wish you could each come and see what you are helping to make happen in the lives of our very special children!

Ronald and Azucena, both teenagers using our adapted curriculum, are so excited to finally be able to read using sight words as well as phonics.  I worried that they would feel the materials were too "baby-ish" but am finding that success trumps what the materials look like every time.  I'm so proud of them.

My sixth grade boys, learning how to study vocabulary using flash cards.

Some of our younger children, learning about place value (tens and ones)
using chains they can link together to form groups of ten.

And what do you do during recess when you really love school?
You play school in your classroom, of course!
The young lady at the desk is the "Directora" (principal)
and the girl standing by the cabinet is "teaching" her "students."

As we are finishing up our school year, we wish all of our friends (students and teachers) in the US who are heading back to classes, a great new school year!

Revealing the Glory of God--Francisco and Yamelin

And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."                                                                                                     John 9: 2-3

As I sought the words to tell the story of my friend and coworker, Francisco, God put this Scripture on my heart.  No, God has not chosen to heal Francisco's vision, but I daily see God's glory revealed in the life of this young man.  (Francisco was not born blind, but has lost his sight due to Marfan syndrome, a disease of the connective tissue which can prove fatal if it affects his heart.)

I have to back up a bit, though, to really tell his story.  For a couple of years I have been struggling to teach Yamelin, a student at Nueva Vida who is blind.  About a year ago, my friend Donna Hultman, a teacher of the blind, came down to help, and after her visit I had more ideas of how to help Yamelin.  I still struggled, however, to know what she really needed, especially in her regular classroom.  I'm not trained in teaching the blind, and while I figured I was better than nothing, I felt I was not making much progress with her.

Mary, her husband Dennis, and daughter Maggie
visiting Antigua
Last July, however, we were blessed by the visit of Mary Johnson, a lady from Houston who is blind and has a love of Guatemala and Nueva Vida.  After visiting the school and meeting with Francisco, she asked whether or not it would be possible for Francisco to begin teaching Yamelin with my help.  This was one of those "DUH" moments in my life.  I'm not sure why we had not thought of this before, but I was sure glad Mary did.

Planning meeting to discuss Yamelin's curriculum
After a little bit of planning and showing Francisco what I had been doing with Yamelin, he took off working with her a few hours a day, both in my room and in her regular classroom.  I stand amazed at what a great teacher he is, using only his own experience of two years training at an institute in Guatemala City as the basis for his instruction.  I learn more about teaching those without sight each day from listening to him as he teaches Yamelin, and from the ideas he shares with me about what to do next with her.

Yamelin daily makes progress, in mobility, task completion, language and independence.  Francisco's faithfulness in serving her is truly changing her life.  She is coming to love her teacher, too.  The other day, I went to get her, telling her that her friend had come for her.  While I was expecting her to say my name to identify me, I was delighted when she replied, "¿Donde está Francisco?"  "Where is Francisco?"  

You can see Yamelin's affection for Francisco,
as she holds her mother's and Francisco's hands
during her planning meeting
As word got out that Francisco was working with Yamelin, I was approached by Brian Alexander, another young man who has Marfan's.  Brian still has a bit of residual sight, but has lost his ability to read.  He was wondering if Francisco could work with him, too, to teach him Braille.  This was a huge step for him, as Brian is still struggling to adjust to the changes brought on by the progression of his disease.  

While Braille is not the only thing Brian needs to learn, or perhaps even the most important, we have decided to start with this and give him time to get used to the idea that he will need to learn other things, such as moving around with a cane, as his vision continues to worsen.  Accepting new limitations is very hard for him, and, unfortunately, Brian does not have the same intensity of a walk with Jesus which Francisco does to support him through these losses.

We hope, though, that through Francisco's mentoring and instruction, Brian will come to know the firm love of Jesus, which is not dependent on his circumstances.  We pray he will decide to follow in the footsteps of his Lord, following Francisco's faithful example.  

When I have talk with Francisco about the impact he is making on the lives of these two young people, this humble man thanks me for the opportunity to work with them.  He does not think he is doing anything exceptional, though I surely think he is.  The support he offers me, and the friendship on a daily basis has changed my life, too.  It is his desire to serve them, and through them his God, in whatever way he can.  He also is grateful to be able to pay back to Nueva Vida for the education he received through this program.  His gratitude and faithfulness to Jesus is a good reminder to us all.

We joke about "the blind following the blind," as if it's ridiculous.  If Francisco is the one doing the leading, I think we should all start following him!

A Last Hurrah Before Leaving—to VISIT the US


No, I’m not leaving Guatemala for good.  Only to come and see my kids/grandkids/brother/sister and visit with those of you who so graciously support us through your prayers and donations. 
But this trip will be different.  Dick Rutgers is going to the States this Thursday and will be joining me in Omaha from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, to help fill you all in on the work God is doing in Guatemala.
(For those of you who like to jump to conclusions, no big announcements are planned—except those that pertain to our common ministry.  Sorry to disappoint you romantic hearts among our readers!)


Dick had a few chairs which needed to go to the Escuintla region, and since there are no regular classes at the school this week, I decided to go with so he had an interpreter.  I’d not seen these families in quite some time. Since teaching in Santa Maria, I don’t get to travel near as often as I used to, so the timing was perfect.


Our first stop was to see Paty, a 31 year old woman with cerebral palsy who I have known for three years.  Paty was laying in a beat up lounge chair when we found her, and Dick fitted her with a therapeutic chair which will recline to help position her properly when she is fed.  (Click here to read about our first meeting.)

A few weeks ago, Dick had visited and discovered that the cylinders which allowed the chair to recline had rusted up, not surprising in this area of high heat and humidity.  We brought new ones with us today to replace them.

When we arrived, we found Paty in her hammock, where she has spent most of her time since her chair has been out of commission.  It sounds pretty comfortable when you first think about it. . .lying in a hammock all day.  But imagine that the only thing you can look at for 12+ hours daily is the rusted metal ceiling above you.  Not so much fun. . .

Paty, who cannot move much on her own, was so excited to see us that she started bouncing up and down (as much as she could) in the hammock.  She has missed her chair greatly.
Dick had been saying on the way down that he would have liked to bring one of the guys along with us to help with mechanic-ing in the heat, but they all had school.  Well, Paty’s seven year old brother, Leonel, jumped right in to help, as did her dad.


We faced a few challenges, as one of the new cylinders had frozen up, too.  But, with some machine oil the family had on hand to maintain her chair and some great team work on the part of the guys, coupled with a little bit of brute force on Dick’s part, they were able to get the cylinder moving once again.

The smile on her face and in her eyes confirmed for us that this trip had been a good idea.  Another month in her hammock would have been a strain on both Paty and her loving family.

IMG_1462Paty’s selfie

While I was there, I showed Paty pictures of the guys living in Casa de Esperanza and some of my family.  She began tentatively pointing to the camera, and I asked her if she wanted to take some pictures with my iPhone.  She managed a few selfies, and even some of her family.  She was so excited.  I really need to take her a communication book when we get back. 


We invited Leonel to come with us to help with the other chairs we needed to take care of in Texcuaco, and he jumped at the chance to earn 10 quetzales.


Our next stop was to visit two brothers with Muscular Dystrophy who live in Paty’s community.  One is in a powerchair, and the other is using an electric scooter, since he refuses to even consider a chair.  His scooter had been in the shop for a couple of weeks, and out of commission for more weeks than that, so Dick wanted to get it to him before leaving for a month.

This young man (whose name I can’t remember for the life of me!) was beyond excited to get his chair back.  This is one of the few times Dick has ever seen him smile, and man was he!  He took off visiting neighbors as soon as he got in the scooter.  He had not really been able to leave his house for many weeks, and was so thrilled to do so.


We left shortly, but not before promising to return in October to bring a new controller for his brother’s chair, since his had been malfunctioning intermittently.

We went on to visit their cousin Yelsin, who had been in a loaner chair for a few weeks, since his chair also had been in the shop.  He, too, has Muscular Dystrophy.  The mothers of all three of these young men are sister, and, as is so typical with MD, their sons have been affected by the gene they carry for the disease.

Yelsin was happy to keep the loaner chair, and Dick was happy not to have to switch out the batteries in the heat and the humidity, so we left him with the chair he had, and took the other back with us to give to someone else, probably another young man with MD. 

We see too many of these cases here in Guatemala, often clustered in families and small communities, and I have to admit it is pretty heartbreaking.  The power chairs, however, give them their last bit of mobility as their condition worsens.  Though none of these three guys are in school (the school won’t let them go anymore since they can no longer hold a pencil or write), the fact that they can get out of their homes and move about their small community independently means the world to them.  This freedom greatly enhances their quality of life for how many more years each of them will live (most boys with MD die before their early 20’s), and the effort it takes to get and maintain these chairs is well worth it.


Our last stop of the day I think was my favorite.  While I loved seeing Paty, she was pretty much the same as always.


Marvin, however, was a joy to behold, seeing him active and thoroughly engaged in our conversations!  Each time we see him he has made so much progress, with only the “therapy” of the love and attention of his family.  They are very special to us.


We met Marvin a about three years ago, when we were giving a chair to a girl in his community, and his mother came and asked if we had one for her son.  Crossing the road, we found a family which was literally starving, and a young boy with cerebral palsy.  Marvin was so scared of us, Dick could hardly measure him for a chair, and even when we brought one to him a few weeks later, he screamed the whole time we were seating him.

In the intervening years, we have helped find sponsors for the boys to continue their schooling, and Hope for Home Ministries has been providing monthly food baskets which Dick takes down when he visits them. 

The health of this very poor family has substantially improved, though we still have some concerns about how skinny the middle son is.  We will probably take parasite medications to them again the next time we visit.


Marvin’s Hope Haven chair had been broken, and once again he was confined to sitting on someone’s lap or lying in a hammock.  When he saw us coming, Marvin just about jumped out of his mother’s arms with excitement.  He knew our presence meant a new wheelchair.

Marvin is no longer afraid of us, now smiling and blowing us kisses.  He reaches out to us spontaneously, and is making more and more effort to communicate verbally.  He understands everything that is said around him, as evidenced by his strong “yah” when I asked his mom if he could see well enough to do some simple activities. (He has one severely crossed eye.  I talked with Dad about the availability of surgery at Hermano Pedro in Antigua which could correct this, and he is considering it.)  This little guy has truly become our friend, and we stand amazed at how is is progressing, with only the therapy of a loving family.


His three brothers continue their schooling, though each is struggling in some subject areas.  It is amazing, given the poverty in which they live, how important their education is to them and their family. 

They would not still be in school, if not for their sponsors.  Your donations are making a huge difference, not just in their lives today, but in their futures.  In a country where most young men go after whatever jobs are available, these three have goals, and a plan for pursuing them.
Carlos, the eldest, will finish Third Basico next month, and wants to continue his education in agronomy—a very marketable skill in this area which grows sugar cane.  José, the middle son, would like to be a mechanic.  Antonio, the youngest, just wants to make it through school at this point, but his pretty young yet—only in fifth grade.  These are great kids, and they and their family wanted to make sure their sponsors knew how grateful they are for your help.

IMG_1516José jumped right in to help switch the chest strap from the old chair to the new one.  He does have a talent for using tools.

While you might not be sponsoring these boys, please know that every family we visit asks us to thank their sponsors for the help they receive.  And, Dick and I sincerely thank you for allowing us to be the channel of your help to them.  There are so many times we need to turn away folks asking for help.  It blesses us and encourages us in our ministry to be able to help those you permit us to.

Making a Difference, Unaware

Olga QuincineraOlga at her Quinciñera—15th birthday, July, 2010 
Click here to read about this special birthday

I met Olga a number of years ago, when I was still traveling back and forth between the US and Guatemala.  She and her brothers had been abandoned by their mother at that time, and she was living with her aunts and uncles.

Shortly after I moved to Guatemala, Olga began having abdominal pains.  She went to the doctor at the National Hospital in Chimaltenango, and was told that she had an ovarian cyst and needed to have a complete hysterectomy.  To this day I believe that it was prejudice on the part of a Hispanic doctor toward a poor Mayan girl that colored his advice, if not out-right formed it.

IMG_0443Olga with the nursing team in 2010
Click here to read more about this experience

While not a doctor, I knew this was questionable advice.  A team of maternal health nurses was visiting our church. I was able to get Olga an ultrasound (which they had not done at the National Hospital) and connect her with these nurses. After listening to the comments of the doctor who had done the ultrasound, and the advice of the nurses based on what they saw in the test results, we decided to use medication to see if the medium sized cyst could be reduced.  It was, and she avoided surgery.

This was one of those things that happened almost coincidental with my ministry here at the time.  I  had actually kind of forgotten about this.

IMG_1372Olga with six month old Ilse

Yesterday, Olga reminded me of this when we were eating at her mom’s house. (There has been much reconciliation here, but more is needed with Doña Chita’s sons.)  She thanked me for getting involved, and said that, without our help, she would not have the two beautiful daughters she has today.

IMG_1371Two year old Jennifer

Yep, I guess being here does make a difference, even when I really don’t know what I’m doing!

Only in Guatemala!

It has seemed lately that I have been struggling with the differences between the way I think (US) and the thought and behavior patterns of the Guatemalans.  It is so easy to focus on the negative differences.  This past week, God has reminded me of the benefits of these differences, and what I can learn from them.

Part One:  Highway Helpers—
Wednesday, August 20

IMG_1336It started last Wednesday, when I was driving down from Santa Maria in the rain.  I hit a slick patch on a curve, and, before I could even react, was off the side of the road.  When I got out to look, it didn’t seem too bad. . .just a little dirt. 


IMG_1339What I wasn’t immediately aware of was that my front passenger side tire was suspended over a four foot hole (for drainage?).  This was the only hole within sight and, yep, I managed to slide off right over it!  How was I ever going to get out of here?  I admit, I was more than a little panicked.  I was also very grateful for God’s protection, because in other parts of the highway, I easily could have slid over the embankment.

As I was trying to figure out what to do (maybe there was a tow truck in Santa Maria?), I realized that I had absolutely NO cash with me.  This could be an even bigger problem than the hole!

While I was praying for the Lord to once again rescue me from my ineptness, along came a pick up truck with three guys, who immediately stopped to help.  As they were assessing the situation, a large truck carrying block was coming up from Antigua.  They, too, stopped to help.  Finally, a third pick up stopped to see what they could contribute.


As often happens in Guatemala, there was much discussion among the men as to what would be the best course of action.  My suggestion to call a tow truck was immediately dismissed by them—they were sure they could figure it out.  So, I kept my mouth shut, and prayed and tried to listen to the conversation at the same time.  Finally, the driver of the truck carrying block emerged as the natural leader.  He jumped down into the hole to assess the situation.  For the first time I realized how deep this hole was—he was up to his armpits. 

He asked for my jack (luckily I had just learned the Spanish word for this—which sounds a lot like “tricky”) and I was able to locate it quickly.  (I think this impressed the guys.  First that I knew what they wanted, and secondly, that I, an old American woman, could find it!).  They jacked up the car from underneath, as I stood in fear that somehow the car would fall on the guy in the hole.

After partially dismantling the block truck, they stuck a thick, wide board under the wheel and made a bridge.  They tied a tow rope to the block truck, one guy jumped into my car to steer, and they pulled it back onto solid ground!

After reminding me to slow down, the men all climbed into their respective trucks.  They even waited to leave until they were sure that there was no damage to my car which would render it not drivable.

This Guatemalan cultural difference struck me.  I had been stranded on the side of the road in the US more than once (including one time with a flat tire and two little kids when I was eight months pregnant) and no one would stop to help!  Here, I had almost a dozen men willing to assist.  Here, in a country, where I was frequently warned to be on the watch for bandits on the highway, I had more than enough help within minutes.  And they expected nothing in return; they hardly waited for me to thank them.

All I could do was thank them profusely and promise to pray for them.  I apologized that I had no money to pay them for their trouble, and they didn’t seem to mind a bit.  Just repeated their caution for me to drive more slowly!

Now I am embarrassed to admit that I had known I needed new tires, but kept putting off buying them, in a misguided attempt to be frugal.  After this experience, I decided I was being “a penny wise and a pound foolish” and shortly I was off with Tony to buy two new front tires in Chimaltenango.

Tony wanted to go with me to make sure that the “gringa” was not taken advantage of.  He did all the discussion and negotiation, and, after stopping by a number of places that sold “semi-used” tires, we decided to take Dick’s advice and go to the store where he buys his tires. 


Within ten minutes, new tires were mounted on my car and we were ready to go.  Only then did I realize that they did not ask my to pay for the tires until they were already on my car!



Part Two: Fantastic Food
—Friday, August 22

Earlier in the week, Tony had asked me if I would be home on Friday.  I told him I planned to be, and a little while later he came and told me that Doña Berta, his mom, wanted to come and cook Pepian (a traditional Guatemalan specialty) for us.  It was arranged that I would pick her up about 9 o’clock, though she had originally planned on taking the chicken bus in, if you can imagine that!

We got to her house to find her coming in from the market, carrying groceries on her head, and accompanied by her youngest son, David.  He had decided to stay home from school this day so he would not miss out on the good eats.

When we arrived at our house, there was much adjusting to do.  Doña Berta was accustomed to cooking over an open fire, and we used my “parilla” (grill) to set up one for her to use on our patio.  She set to work charring all the ingredients needed for this dish.





Tony helped with the charring.







Flor and I were put to work peeling and chopping vegetables.



Even with four of us working diligently, it took over an hour for us to get all the ingredients ready to actually start cooking the stew.  No wonder it is only made for special occasions!

Because my grill would only accommodate one large pot, Doña Berta was forced to learn to use my stove to cook the extras she wanted to prepare.  She had never seen an electric stove in operation, and could not figure out where the “fire” came from, but she adjusted quickly and we shortly discovered our next challenge.

Doña Berta was a bit dismayed to discover I only had one large pot—she had planned on making a LOT of pepián, and she also needed a large pot (we’re talking 5 gallons here, folks) to cook the tamalitos.  After looking at what we had available, I decided to go to the restaurant next door and ask to borrow one of their cooking pots.

Can you imagine having the nerve to do this in the US?  Even more, can you imagine the reaction you would get from the restaurant?

Here, though, I returned to the house within minutes, carrying the restaurant’s only large pot, which fortunately they were not using that day!

IMG_1358Doña Berta serving up the tamalitos.


The guys sure enjoyed their meal.  Since Friday, we have had “left-overs” four times, and I have about a gallon of the sauce in the freezer to save for another time. 


When I asked her what I owed her for all this, she told me that we wanted to do this for us out of friendship, and that Tony had wanted to pay for the food, since we had not done anything special to celebrate my birthday.

Again, I was humbled by the generosity of my Guatemalan friends.  This family lives in one of the poorest homes I have seen in Chimaltenango.  A dirt floor, and rooms consisting of boards of various sizes nailed together to form walls.  And yet, Doña Berta, would not accept any payment for all her hard work.  She did allow me to send home some of the left-over food, though only after repeated protesting that it was not necessary.

Part Three: House “Shopping”
—Friday, August 22

Though we have another year on our lease here in Antigua, I have begun looking at other, more economical options, for a future location of Casa de Esperanza.  A few weeks ago, Dick told me about a house, owned by Esbin and Elder’s mom, which would be available for rent in about a year.  Since it’s hard to find a house to accommodate wheelchairs, I wanted to talk with Doña Chita quickly about the possibility of renting her house in the future.

I stopped by one day last week to set up a time to talk with her.  I was delighted to find that her daughter, Olga, who was now married with two children, was living with her.  I had been quite close to Olga before her marriage, but had seen very little of her in the past few years.  It was arranged that I would come back Sunday, Doña Chita’s one day off from working in the market, to see the house.

Saturday, I received a call from her confirming I was coming, and advising me not to eat Sunday dinner at home.  I was to eat with them.

Imagine, going to look at a rental house, and being invited for dinner!  Again, only here in hospitable Guatemala. 

I arrived to a delicious meal of Pollo Encebollado, Chicken in an onion sauce.  And, it was not just those who lived in the house who were there for dinner.  The extended family had come to eat with me! 

After dinner, I was shown the house, and invited to go with the family to see the new house Doña Chita’s brother was building for her on the family’s plot of land.  Only after arriving at the new house, did I realize that she was offering to rent this new building to me, because she didn’t think the old house what nice enough for me.

Can you imagine this?  After waiting years for a new house, she was willing to let us live in it because it was nicer?

I was happy to be able to honestly tell her that the design of the old house was actually better suited to people in wheelchairs.  She then began asking what she would need to do to fix it up to make the old house acceptable to us.

While this house is nothing fancy, it is more that adequate.  It is very similar to the house in which I lived when I first moved here:  Cement floors with rooms opening onto a common patio.  There are a few changes that will need to be made to make the bathroom accessible to wheelchairs, but her brother is more than happy to do this. In fact, he has already thought up ways to adapt one of the rooms into a shower/storage/laundry room. 

So, it looks like we have a future site for Casa de Esperanza which will save us about $900 a month in rent.  It is our hope that we can direct this money into building a permanent home which the Guatemalan association will own.  Renting from Doña Chita will be the blessing which will enable us to pursue this dream!