People often ask me, “What’s life like for the people living in Ixcán, Guatemala.” Here is a post card view:

It’s 5:30 a.m. and still mostly dark in the Ixcán village of Eduardo and Julita, but both of them are starting their day. The roosters are crowing. It’s starting to get light and the morning fog is beginning to lift from the jungle forest. There is a lot to do today.

Eduardo needs to tend his crops on his farm, which is a 45 minute walk from their home in the village. But, his first chore is to take a large plastic bowl full of corn kernels to the community corn grinder.

In the dim light he stumbles and is reminded that his eye sight is getting worse. The eye health promoters from Enfoque Ixcán have told him he will need cataract surgery soon, but how will he afford it?

Your donation of $125 will pay for Eduardo’s cataract surgery. Will you help him?

As he waits for his turn in the line with his neighbors, he goes over his plans for the day.  The chug-chug-chug of the grinder echoes around the hills of the village.  While Julita is cooking the day’s breakfast tortillas, he’ll sharpen his machete and ready the bag of bean seeds he’ll plant today.  “Take plenty of water, it’s going to be hot,” he says to himself.

He’ll have to work fast today since he needs to be back from the fields early for the Health Committee meeting at 4 p.m.  Eduardo enjoys being able to help his community by serving on an important committee.  Julita is the president of the Women’s Union.

Back at the house, Julita has helped wake their 3 grandchildren and prepare them for school. Then she gets the wood fire going for breakfast and starts boiling water for coffee and cooking.  None of the homes in the village have running water, and it’s not safe to drink the water straight from the river.  When Eduardo arrives with the corn meal from the grinder, she begins making dough balls which will become handmade tortillas.  She makes about 50 a day for them and their grandchildren!

Working over the wood fire dries out and irritates Julita’s eyes.  “Gracias a Dios,” she says, as she remembers the eye drops she received from Enfoque Ixcán to rinse and refresh her eyes.

Your support of Enfoque Ixcán allows the villagers to receive free lubricating drops.  The smoke, dust, wind and harsh rays of the sun have a strong drying effect.  The drops give comfort and relief.

With breakfast done, Eduardo carefully sets off on the rutted, muddy path to his farmland, and Julita feeds the chickens and gets ready to hand wash the laundry in the large outdoor sink, called a pila. As president of the Women’s Union Julita has to do a lot of reading.  Until she was able to obtain reading glasses from Enfoque Ixcán, this work would have been impossible for her.  Enfoque Ixcán has made eye care affordable in a land of extreme poverty.
Community Committee meeting

Would you consider donating $50 to maintain the inventory of glasses to keep villagers active in their communities, working on committees, in the schools and at church?

With the laundry almost dry on the line, the beans planted and their community work behind them, Julita and Edurado settle down to finish off the day’s tortillas with home-grown rice, beans and chicken.  It was a good day made better with comfortable vision and the promise of sight restoring cataract surgery for Eduardo.  They will continue this daily schedule for as long as their health allows.

Enfoque Ixcán will be there to supply their vision needs and the needs of the entire region Ixcán well into the future.  Consider the importance good vision has in your life.  Now consider that you can make a difference in many lives with a small investment.

Best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season,
Scott Pike, OD

P.S. Your donation today will help people with limited access to affordable eye care find comfort, improved productivity, dignity and a better quality of life.  Please give today.