Aug 22, 2010

Newsletter August 2010


NEWLETTER JULY & AUGUST 2010

ON A SERIOUS NOTE

With the new governing power a lot of changes have been happening at the City Dump.  As most people are aware, the Dump has been working as a “TRANSFER STATION” 1 ½ YEARS.  This has been an overall improvement.   There is now a much safer, healthier working environment for the recyclers.  There are security and rules enforced in regard to behaviour.  No drinking, drugs, prostitution or fighting on the work site.  NO ONE LIVES IN THE DUMP, NO CHILDREN LESS THAN 14 YRS OF AGE CAN WORK IN THE DUMP.  At 14yrs, they must be attending school, and under adult supervision while working. The actual garbage is being removed regularly to the landfill.  The smell and resulting decomposition process is less offensive.

There are now 2 little food booths.  NOELIA is there from 10am til 2pm.  IRMA is there from 10pm til 4am.   Rather than take 150 bottles in the morning to the recyclers, we are now providing 20 litre jugs at both locations so that people can receive water at anytime during the day or night.   This water is provided at no charge to all workers in the dump.  With recyclers working 24 hours, 7 days a week, this means better availability for much needed water.

Also as the government has become involved, there is a need for all workers to become registered.  This is for safety reasons, so all people are accounted for while working.  It also will ensure that as programs are implemented to assist the workers they will be eligible.  The mission continues to work closely with the Presidente, currently in office as well as with the local SINDICATO office that over sees operations in the city dump.   Working together will ensure better opportunities for the families in the mission.

Soon no one will be allowed on the property of the city dump that is not registered to work there.  No outside organizations will be allowed on site.   Over the past 4 years with the help of Families at the Dump mission, the working conditions have improved drastically for the recyclers.  As the mission moves forward with HOPE AND POSITIVITY, it is our desire to focus on the FUTURE NOT THE PAST.  As we move to EMPOWER NOT ENABLE these families, the dump as we knew it and the conditions that brought the mission here, are now becoming A THING OF THE PAST.  Thank you to all of you who have donated your time, energy, spiritual and financial support.  These families have seen an overall improvement in their lives.

Soon the new concrete road will be completed.  This will be a great asset to the community.  As better infrastructure, parks, new schools and businesses are attracted to Majesterio more opportunities for employment will follow.   With the addition of ADULT EDUCATION classes, those who have not completed school may obtain their certificates.

We ask that you not be fooled by information that you may receive or see on the internet that states otherwise.  There are always some people who have their own agendas, and wish to either cause trouble or use people to their own advantage.   We encourage you to ask questions directly of the mission, and do your research on FAMILIES AT THE DUMP and especially any other organizations in the area before considering assisting them. - MATTHEW 7 : 15  "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are savage wolves.

HIGHLIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES

The school year ending has been a very exciting time here in the mission.  The KINDER children all celebrate in the local schools with a “graduation ceremony”.  Grade 6 children also have a very special “graduation” as they move on to Junior High or Secundaria.   There is a buzz of excitement in the village of Majesterio where we work.  A new Jr High is quickly being built and will provide much needed classrooms for the growing number of children entering the public school system, thanks in part to the efforts of the mission and the donors who offer school sponsorships to the children in the mission.   There is no good reason why a child does not attend school anymore.

The mission is very happy and proud to be assisting 3 university students at this time.  These 3 families have sacrificed and made the extreme effort to ensure that their children attended school over the past years.   Most definitely they deserve to be assisted and congratulated for their efforts.  Reaching University level of course is much more expensive for these families and this is the pivotal time when most young people end their education because of lack of financial support.  You will be able to follow their journeys on the new webpage. We are now implementing Bursarys/Grants for furthering Education!

Some families in the mission follow their Catholic beliefs and 1st Communions, and Confirmations have been happening regularly in the past couple of months.  This means lots of white dresses are necessary.  We are currently looking at ways to keep this expense down for the families.  Despite their limited income, all children want to fit in at these special moments in their young lives. Donations of Prom Dresses, or White dresses would be greatly appreciated.

Katie Yarzita QuincieneraQUINCIEÑERAS are happening this year too.  The mission has 4 young ladies turning 15 yrs old.  In Mexican culture this rite of passage is honoured in a very big way with a party that rivals a wedding.   A beautiful, colourful(very expensive dress) is worn, a special mass is held in her honour and a party following as the family and friends of this young woman welcome her to adulthood.  As you can imagine these special events also deplete their savings.   Most families find sponsors for different parts of the celebration that help keep costs down.   The mission also wants to be a part of this special event in their lives so we are currently developing a program to enhance and encourage the young ladies reaching this age to make Education and Responsibility a priority in order to receive assistance and support with this event.   A special retreat with conversations on several relevant topics, as well as a very special gift of an evening in the resort PARADISE VILLAGE with their Moms is planned for August.

EDUCATION PROGRAM

As the center takes a break over the summer, programs have finished.  English/Computer will run for 2 days a week over the summer to maintain the connection and enthusiasm of the children.

The children who attended regularly and made a good effort in English and Computer class were treated to a day out.  They travelled from Majesterio to Buceria where Travis and Edgar hosted a BBQ and swim party for them.   It was a great opportunity to have conversations regarding possibilities for their future dreams/goals and just relax and have fun.   There are always children who have not experienced “the outside world” so on these special days we still get to experience a lot of firsts.

The Kinder Pre School children had their “Graduation ceremony” on July 9.   Cupcakes, juice and little games were part of the celebration.  All children received a Special Certificate, a gift bag and a special EDUCATION HEROES TSHIRT.  It was great to see Moms and Dads attend to support their children on this special day.   We expect to see the Kinder program grow in the fall.

The Homework Club had their wind up on July 3.   This group should really be commended for their efforts.   When the mission did personal visits to the school for reports on progress of the children sponsored in the main school in Majesterio it became apparent that some of the children were struggling academically.   This was because of 3 main reasons.

  1. Their parents were not educated enough or too busy working to help.
  2. They had no table to work on.
  3. They had no lights in the evening.

Julietta, Winnie & the Teachers meetThis was a problem easily addressed by the mission.   A Homework club was developed and with the help of 3 local teachers, LUPITA, ELSA AND FRANCESCA these children received assistance and support 3 evenings a week.  The testimonies of the parents at the party were amazing.  2 children who would not have moved on to the next grade are now passing!  The behaviour and attitude of the children is improving also.

Part of this program was bi monthly meetings to reward the children and offer information seminars to the moms involved to assist them in behaviour management, praise and support of their children and suggestions on improving the organization and responsibility of the children with their school commitments.

The Daycare program is taking a break until the fall as well.  As these children are infants there was no need for a “party”.  Next year as they become toddlers and Kinder participants they will attend the year end events!

Because we are now receiving reports twice a year on the children sponsored into school, we have accurate information on the progress and attendance of the children.  All children with EXCELLENT report cards will be going on special trips during the summer to reward and motivate them.

The first group went to LIVERPOOL mall for Pizza and a movie.  TOY STORY 3 was the main attraction!  16 children out of 20 attended.  After gathering at the center, the children all received EDUCATION HERO TSHIRTS to acknowledge their hard work.  Then we were off to the mall, for pizza and pop for lunch.   A walk around the mall was next, then a trip in the elevator and on the escalator were very exciting.  We were still a bit early for the movie so a ride on the carousel was next.  This was a day of many firsts.  As always the bathrooms were very exciting!  Toilets that flush by themselves, magic paper dispensers, hot water in the sinks added to the day.  Finally we were into the movie theatre to enjoy TOY STORY 3.  Ironically, the theme of the movie is caring for your toys and most of the story happened in a Daycare and in the Garbage Dump!  The children were really relating to the story and where it was taking place.

In August, the government assisted in a program distributing minimal school supplies to the families.  Each family was able to receive 2 packages which included notebooks, ruler, eraser and pencils.  This puts a small dent in the school supply list required by each student and we will be providing backpacks and supplies before school begins August 23rd through the School Sponsorship Program.

MEDICAL

Over the past few months this area of the mission has become even more important to some of the families.

A vaccination clinic was held in June and anyone in need of TETANUS, HEPITITIS OR CHILDREN’S VACCINATIONS was able to come by.   We also held a clinic in March.   Although these services are available to them, they are often a fair distance away and the cost of a bus ride and time away from work make it a difficult option for the families.  Bringing the service to the center means, “No Excuses”.

We have assisted several families over the last season in major health crisis.  Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Baby Ä, became seriously ill with a full blown infection throughout her little body.  At only 6 months of age this was very serious and became a struggle for her life.   With body organ failure and the need for assistance to breathe to keep her going, she continues to fight to thrive on her own.   The hospital in Majesterio did what they could the first week to sustain and maintain her but she had to be moved to Guadalajara for specialized health care.   We are hopeful that she and her parents will be able to return home soon.  The older 2 children are being cared for by a friend of the family and the mission watches over them and provides for their needs while Mom and Dad are gone.   A battery of tests of all kinds and physical support with food has been a priority with this family.

We are happy to report that as of August 7, 2010 she his home with her family and well on her way to a full recovery.

Baby D is doing just fine now.  Once again, lack of information on general first aid, contributed to this family being in a critical health situation with their young child.   Swallowing and choking on a corn tortillia resulted in a hospital stay and specialized care and expenses beyond what the insurance covers or the family can afford.   He is home and doing better now.

Mom C, was in Guadalajara for ongoing care.   A diagnosis of a tumour on her pancreas was made but being extremely aenemic delayed the surgery to remove it.  After a month of blood transfusions, supplement and proper care they were able to remove the tumour.  She is now home with her family recuperating, however she will not be able to return to work.  With 6 children left with her Mother in law and husband here in Majesterio there is a lot of strain on this family.  The mission continues to assist with food and emotional support.

There was also a baby born prematurely and the blessing there is that there were no complications and mom and baby are doing well.

The mission is researching further the health care program provided with basic insurance for the families we work with.  Once that has been accomplished we can move forward with a structured health care assistance program for everyone in the mission.

JUST FOR FUN

It has been an exciting month.  Even with the drop in visitors to the mission site, it seems that everyone that has found their way out to visit has brought something fun and exciting to do.

Winnie VisitWe had a great surprise for the families and the children in the mission, WINNIE & HENRY came for a visit!   After secret preparations we were able to pull off the surprise.  Once everyone realized she was here they went into excited mode.  The children made a special umbrella for her visit, Lucero helped them draw Winnie the Pooh characters and they painted and colored them.  Everyone arrived with letters of appreciation for all the mission does for them..... it is abundantly clear the impact this mission has had on their lives over the past 4 years and is great motivation for all of the mission team and volunteers to continue to move forward to assist them to self sufficiency.

We were blessed to have 5 representatives of the CANADIAN NAVY come out and paint the activity room.   With the opening of the new CANADIAN CONSULATE, a ship and crew were brought in to participate.While in port they were looking for a volunteer opportunity to reach out to the local people and we were contacted.

With short notice we were able to pull together a special day!   Wow, a huge military bus, 2 FEDARALES and a Navy driver accompanied them for the day.  They did a great job painting the room and still had time in between to interact with the children!  The kids really enjoyed chatting with the guys with the “big guns”. Their visit was on a Friday so it was very busy.  135 families coming for Despensa, Hotdogs on the BBQ for the kids and outside activities.  It was also an opportunity to talk to them about security, the role of the military, navy and air force for their country and ours. We also sang the Canadian national anthem for them and learned their Mexican anthem.  A HUGE THANK YOU, we look forward to another visit whenever they are back in the area.

We had Teara and Perle out one day and they taught the children some Cheerleading routines.  The kids really enjoyed this and particularly like receiving their own “pom poms”.

LUCERO continues to be great addition to the mission team.  Being bilingual and having a background at the Kid’s Club at Paradise Village has prepared her to provide fun and educational activities with the children while they are waiting to attend their classes at the center.   Her artistic talents are also an asset as she works with the kids in this area.   She dances, she sings, she does exercise, need I say more?  Welcome to the team Lucero.

SOCCER PROGRAM

With the end of our Saturday morning soccer program til the fall, and the World Cup soccer in South Africa, there has been a resurgence of interest in the sport with the children.

Girl's Soccer TeamWord was put out that if the children organized their own teams in a local league the mission would sponsor them with uniforms and fees to play.   It didn’t take long.  The girls formed a team  “LAS PLEVES”. They are all 12-15yrs old.  They won their first game 3 – 2.   GO GIRLS....

It didn’t take long for the boys to form their team.  12 boys aged  12-15yrs now have a team as well.  They are called “LAGUNA DE BAHIA”.   These are all children of recyclers in the city dump.  THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS THIS PROGRAM!

Several of the recycling men, participated in a Marathon, carrying the torch for MAJESTERIO.  We were able to assist them with matching shorts.

There was also a celebration of the PATRON SAINT SOCCURRO.  A special parade, Mass and fiesta was held in the park.  ROSALVA and her dance group from Ixtapa performed.  A local fair arrived with rides and games and the community was a buzz of activity during this time.

FATHER’S DAY was honoured with special gifts on Despensa Day for the Dad’s in the mission.  The children made cards with Lucero during the week.   A special service was held with Pastor Hector and the Mission Church Families.   We were delighted to see 15 Dads attend.    Pastor Hector continues to work with the 4 couples who are preparing to be married in the Church in the fall.

PHYSICAL ASSISTANCE

The mission continues to provide DESPENSA each Friday for 200-215 families.  With the donations received from SAM’S CLUB/WALMART, and the purchases made in the mission this program continues.

The COOP PROGRAM, providing much desired cleaning and personal hygiene products continues to grow.  Providing these items at cost for the members of the mission, allows them to spend their hard earned dollars more efficiently.

DRINKING WATER assistances continues as well and any family requiring water, can bring their empty jug for a full one.

The mission was able to assist 12 MOMS in a major way this season.   A donation to provide a “LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE” was given.   These families are receiving assistance in a variety of ways.  Some receive rent assistance and have been moved off of the base of the road until the housing project is complete.   Some have received appliances to improve their living conditions.  The mission is working closely with each of these families, to move them toward self sufficiency.  To this end, one has also received a MICRO LOAN to start her own business.

The mission is moving towards this opportunity.  Discussions on setting up a business plan and proposing it for approval have set this program in motion.   The mission will review and consult with anyone who has a possible business idea and work with them to implement it.  Planning for the future without recycling in the dump is part of the goal of this mission.

  • NOELIA AND IRMA were the first recipients of this program.  They each have a food stand in the City Dump where they sell snacks and drinks.  This small business means they no longer have to go through the garbage, but can contribute to the family income.
  • MIRIAM, has a small hotdog stand outside her home, which is now providing income to her family.
  • BONFILIA ELIZABETH received assistance to attend a class to learn pedicures/manicures.  She is now able to add to her family income by providing this service to family and friends.

HIGHLIGHTS

IJAS awardAUGUST 11, 2010 Winnie and Julieta travelled to Guadalajara to attend and participate in the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of IJAS.  This is the group that approves and oversees the missions and charitable groups working in Mexico.

FYI : FAMILIES AT THE DUMP is the only registered organization in Puerto Vallarta that is able to issue tax receipts in all 3 countries.  MEXICO, CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES.

Winnie accepted another award on behalf of the mission for the outstanding programs and services being provided to the families recycling in the Puerto Vallarta City Dump.

Due to exemplary planning, implementation, and volunteer support the mission is being set as an example to all others who are or may be planning on establishing missions/charitable organizations here in Mexico.   By following and establishing clear, concise reports and information this will now open doors in the local community for grants and support to provide bigger and better programs in the area of EDUCATION.

This mission is the success it is due to ongoing support of the visitors, Businesses, Churches and the amazing volunteer team.   As we all know it takes a community to raise a child and this mission is a great example of that belief.




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