Don’t let finances hinder your ability to serve. Talk to us about fundraising ideas and potential scholarships available. Contact Valerie Donahue for more information.
Beyond our local ministry work in the community, we are currently committed to serving in Guatemala. It is our heart to return to the same region over time to develop ministry partnerships with local ministers and relationships with the people we serve. Ministry is all about relationships!
We partner with ODIM-Guatemala to serve the people of Guatemala. Our projects are focused on the two communities of San Juan and San Pablo La Laguna which are situated along the shores of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of western Guatemala. The two villages and surrounding areas have a total population of approximately 20,000 people. Almost the entire population of these two villages are indigenous Maya. While situated less than 3 miles apart, the two towns have very distinctive cultures.
Many people in these villages suffer from extreme poverty. 97% of the population in San Pablo and 76% in San Juan are considered to suffer from poverty. In terms of extreme poverty, the rate is 79% in San Pablo and 29% in San Juan. The main economic opportunities in these two communities are in agriculture, such as the harvesting of coffee and other crops. San Juan has many artisans including weavers and painters which bring some tourism, while in contrast San Pablo has virtually no tourism.
Guatemala has the 4th highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world for children 5 years and younger. Access to quality healthcare services in the communities is extremely limited. Each community does have a government health center, but these centers lack sufficient staff, resources and medications to be able to treat even the most common illnesses. Private healthcare is very expensive and therefore out of reach for most in the community. The two most common causes of death in Guatemala are acute respiratory infections and intestinal parasites, both of which can be easily treated with adequate detection and resources.
ODIM aims to improve the quality of life of members of these communities through our health services and educational programs. They focus on empowering members of the community and the vision is for the Maya to have a hopeful future for themselves and their children. For more information about ODIM please visit their website at www.odimguatemala.org.
Guatemala 2017 Trip Dates
July 29-August 6
Our History in Guatemala
2015 Medical Mission Trip: ODIM got its start offering humanitarian relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Stan that killed thousands and devastated Guatemala in 2005. Since then, ODIM has grown within these communities here on the lake to create sustainable health and education programs. Historically the indigenous people of Guatemala living in the mountainous areas of the country have not received access to services typically available to those living in the city. ODIM is dedicated to providing medical and dental services to this population. The medical teams have an opportunity to serve in the medical and dental clinics built by ODIM.
2015 Building Trip: Our construction volunteer teams work in the village of San Pablo La Laguna to build housing for families of high need. Volunteer teams work side by side with a local crew of construction workers contracted by ODIM. The local workers oversee the project and provide instruction to the volunteers to ensure the work done is of a high quality. The indigenous children of Guatemala suffer from many illnesses due to sleeping on dirt floors. The building teams build houses with concrete floors to improve the overall health and quality of life for the indigenous families.