I want you to meet Sara and Ixbalanque (pronounced Ish-Balan-Kay). They live in a town that was built by the government of Guatemala after a hurricane destroyed many homes in Panajachel. The town is Xecotoj and it is located on a mountain hill side above Pana. The porch has been partnering with this community for quite awhile. Last year they constructed a basketball court/community center for the town. Through interacting with this community we met Sara and her daughter Ixbalanque. Sara is in her early 60’s and Ixbalanque is about 30. It’s been just the two of them for most of Ixbalanque’s life. Sara told me something about her husband being kidnapped and killed during the 30 year civil war here in Guatemala. Sometime when Ixbalanque was very small she contracted pneumonia and didn’t get the proper health care. This has left her severely disabled. She can’t talk, walk, or see very well. Sarah is her mother and care giver and has contracted a hernia from trying to lift Ixbalanque. The Porch has been doing several things to help this family. I had the opportunity to work with a team from Canada and make some improvements to their home. All with the goal of getting Ixbalanque up and out in the sun.
This is where Ixbalanque is most of the day. She lays on a mattress on the floor. When we showed up at the house it was pretty messy so the first order of business was to make some space for her wheelchair to be able to get through. Sara is a really sweet lady but her house keeping and organizing skills aren’t the best. It was a process narrowing down what to keep and what to throw away with Sara. In the end we ended up just bagging everything up to get it out of the way.
Another project was to clear off the back patio and make a new patio space for the pilla(Guatemalan sink) so that we could roll Ixbalanque out into the sun. We also made a ramp and water runoff trench for the back yard to help with flooding.
Some of the girls from Canada that served during the week.
We also installed a water tank on their roof to help with the lack of water that the village receives. The well has run dry in the town because of poor planning by the government.
Another team from California helped to buy Sara some much needed groceries. And recently some generous people pledged to give monthly to buy Ixbalanque diapers which is a huge blessing to cover such an expense.
It was an awesome experience to be there when Ixbalanque got to be outside for the first time in a long time. We worked for an entire week and it was worth it for her to see the sun! Later that evening when I got home it rained for just a short bit and I saw this in the sky.