Saturday, January 7, 2012


By Cordell M Andersen

Let me begin this report with a Guatemalan Christmas Greeting  from me, Chepina and son, David.  You've seen her and David in the History videos and photo/essays.
On December 3rd I had to be in Guatemala City for the marriage of my son, Cordel Ammon, and so I planned to stay a few days more to quickly visit the projects with the Foundation's Regional Directors.  So on December 4th I was picked up by Humberto and Carlos and we drove to Patzicia.  

After breakfast our first visit was to the Ariel and Ines Andersen Chuluc Village School, and then back to the Foundation School in Patzicia.  The next day I took a bus to the Alta Verapaz area and visited many of our projects in Santa Cruz Verapaz with our volunteer Director, Federico Veliz.

Highlights were visiting the Valparaiso Community established with Foundation help in 1981, and spending a couple of nights in the home of Chepina, well known "poster child" from the very beginning of the Foundation.  I end the report mentioning a cell phone call I received just last Friday, December 16th from the isolated Chulac Plantation, reporting some desperate needs of the people there where apparently humanitarian aid has not reached them.

I will do my best to put together  within a few days several YouTube video reports of the trip, but for now we continue with the slide show with its own captions.

Many world travelers, and especially Guatemalans, believe this is the most beautiful lake in the world!

This picture was taken nearly 5 years ago.  The student-body has grown a great deal and will be over 400 for 2012.

Below we see  the education available to Valparaiso children in 1968--viewing the crude furniture and two of the 15 students at the dirt floor government school two miles up a slippery trail in  the Najquitob Village.  
Elementary education began in Valparaiso with Julie Andersen teaching the initial group of children.  It grew from that small beginning to the more than 400 children at the Valparaiso government school, 80 youth in the Junior High School, and another government school with over 400 students at the Najquitob Village--today with a total at the three schools over 900 students compared to the 15 in 1968.  For the details of this important history go to the SUCESS STORIES menu, and links like:
Valparaiso School and  Najquitob School   and YouTube historical videos:  History Part I-1958-1981 and History Part II-1981-2011 

Now back to 2011 and the Valparaiso School which is an elementary school in the morning and a junior high school in the afternoon.

For most of my 35 years in the area my only contact with the world was a Zenith short-wave radio--for example I heard BYU's  "Miracle Bowl Game" beating SMU on Armed Forces Radio short wave. In 1980 my link to the world was the car radio after 9:30 pm by driving up the mountain into guerrilla territory to the edge of a 3,000 foot deep canyon where I had a direct line on KSL radio in Salt Lake City.  That was  the beginning of the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake with Hotrod Hundley on KSL radio, only able to catch the last quarter of games.  It was spooky parked there listening to Hotrod announcing  the games and wondering whether out there in the darkness I was being watched.  

This likely made me the Jazz fan who continually risked what might  have been violent encounters with the guerrillas to listen to the last quarter of their games. I trusted reports that the guerrilla leader, Guayo Laj, had instructed his troops to not harm me since we were dedicated to helping in all the rural areas.

Now a few of the Indians have it all!
Marcia  a few years ago was a fulltime LDS missionary in the Salvadoran Mission.  With Matilde's son, mentioned above, I believe the total fulltime LDS missionaries from Valparaiso comes to 8 in the modern period from 2000 to present.

It was Rafael Maas calling.  
From the beginning of our involvement in Chulac he was one of the leaders.  He reported there were no employment opportunities for him, his two sons and others in the remote area.  What had previously been a German coffee plantation, but turned into a cooperative, now offered no employment opportunities and many are suffering. 
Below we see Rafael, his wife, and one of his two ex-missionary sons--during the good times dressed in their Sunday best.
However now he reported his wife very sick, and he himself with some kind of tumor that he assumed would require surgery.  I told him that I had heard reports of them receiving help.  He replied that some humanitarian workers had visited and given them vegetable seeds, but not varieties  adaptable to their tropical climate, much less growable in their red clay soil.  No benefit came from the effort. 

I promised him I would spread the word in hopes enough interested individuals would donate to make possible finally getting them some effective help. I even promised  to one day soon be able to visit and then even live in their area long enough to help them find solutions to their unique problems.
For  more details about  Chulac, click on:  Chulac/Polochic

Please help us give these good hearted people the kind of help they need and deserve and give special meaning to this Christmas season.

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