July was a very busy month. We weighed and evaluated the nutritional level of every child. We do this every 3-4 months to stay on top of knowing that the children are improving or looking into why they are not. We are seeing that a larger number than usual; are not increasing in weight, as much as normal. This is due to the loss of the crop last year and people struggling in waiting for their upcoming harvest. They will be harvesting in late August or going into September. We are hearing that the people notice that their corn is taller and forming fatter ears; confirmation that the distribution of seed corn and fertilizer is making a difference! We are adding some children to those that receive something extra called “Plumpy Nut”; a recipe that we make up that is meant for extreme malnourishment cases. It contains peanut butter, powdered sugar, oil and powdered milk; very full of calories and fat! We put it into bags that the children can just suck out the “paste” and have an extra treat every day. This is our “last attempt” to see the child show improvement; if this doesn’t bring results then there are some other factors that we need to take into account.
July is one of the months that we hand out the replacement part on the water filters. It is also the time that we give an annual talk about the filters; the importance of using them, the care and maintenance of them etc. Families either receive their replacement piece in July or in December.
We have a special “memorial project” that we are initiating; that will provide the rain catching roofs to 14 Embrace families who do not have a water service on their property. These are pricey to put in but can make a huge difference to a family. For at least the 6 months of rainy season, the family does not have to make daily treks to haul water for their family! We have talked to the 14 families that we have chosen and hope to get these roofs installed while we are still in the rainy season so the families can see the immediate benefit of having them.
We were able to hand out the “Middle of the Year Blessing” (MYB); resulting in every Embrace child receiving a pair of new shoes plus 3 pairs of socks. It is fun to see the children’s reaction and excitement and to take note of how many parents express their gratefulness for this extra blessing that we have been doing for a number of years. We are so grateful to our sponsors that go the “extra mile” in providing this extra blessing to their child and even more so for the extra funds that were sent in to allow us to cover every Embrace child. This includes children who do not yet have a sponsor assigned to them and also those with sponsors who did not participate in the MYB. I am always concerned about a child being left out but every year God has been faithful to touch people’s hearts and to cover the need! Thank you sponsors, you are awesome!
We want to give you a better look at just what the Embrace program can do to change the life of a child. We found Sergio in December 2018; he was brought to our registration to find new children to sign up for the Embrace program. Sergio has 6 other siblings in his family; he is also a special need child. Sergio’s biggest issue was that he was emaciated; he was six years old and he weighed 15.6 lbs! That is the weight of a child less than a year old, even here in Guatemala! He was truly nothing more than skin and bones. The mom allowed us to take some pictures, away from the view of others, without his shirt; to see his true condition. As much as the Embrace program provides; we knew that this was a special case where MORE was required! Thanks to a sponsor who took Sergio on and was willing to send extra; we were able to put Sergio on Pediasure milk and also on a product, called Plumpy Nut; that we make from peanut butter, oil, powdered sugar and powdered milk. Sergio had never walked in his 6 years; strictly due to the fact that he had no strength or muscle development to allow him to do so. After only 19 days of being on the “extra assistance” that we gave him; Sergio took his first “assisted steps”, with his mother holding his hands. In just six months, Sergio has more than doubled his body weight! On the nutritional chart that we use to evaluate the children; he went from extreme dark red (which is critical malnourishment) to coming into green (which is a healthy level of nutrition for a child in proportion to their height and weight)! Sergio is building his confidence to begin to walk on his own and strengthen the muscles that are finally developing for him; due to the proper nutrition and assistance that he has received! It has been a pure joy to see the transformation of this child and to realize the difference that can be made; as we give that child their needed nutrition. It is a testimony to the Embrace program and to 100s of sponsors that we have that make that change available to the children that they are helping. We praise God for the change that we have seen in Sergio and hope that it has impacted you as well. Help us to find more sponsors to begin to make that difference in the life of other children! The children are “out there”; we just need people who want to reach out to them and see that transformation happen!