In her home, Merly helps by carrying water, gathering firewood and making beds. She lives with her father and her mother. Her father is employed as a farmer and her mother is employed. There are 4 children in the family.
For fun, Merly enjoys hide-and-seek. She attends Bible class regularly and is in primary school where her performance is average.
Because of your sponsorship, Merly will have new opportunities to learn and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Thank you for your concern and prayers.
Merly lives in the mountainous community of San Juan Comalapa, home to approximately 30,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, mud walls and tin roofs.
The regional diet consists of maize, beans, bread, rice and potatoes. Common health problems in this area include intestinal diseases and respiratory illnesses. Most adults are unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn the equivalent of $188 per month. This community has a water supply and electricity but needs vocational training, employment opportunities, hospitals and improved housing.
Your sponsorship allows the staff of Lirio de los Valles Student Center to provide Merly with Bible teaching, sports, birthday celebrations, cultural activities and trainings with specialists. Sixty-five percent of the children in this project are not attending school because they are underage. The center staff will also provide educational conferences for the parents or guardians of Merly.
Dotted with Mayan ruins, lakes and volcanoes, Guatemala is one of the most beautiful places in Central America. Mountains and rugged highlands dominate its landscape in the west. The Pacific plain is a narrow belt between mountains and ocean. In the southern highlands, the most populous region is Guatemala City and to the north is jungle. The country is slightly smaller than the state of Tennessee.
Approximately half the country's 13 million people are Amerindian or Mayan, including 21 indigenous groups. Most of the people still live in small farming villages growing corn, coffee, sugar and beans as their ancestors did. They are world-famous for their intricate handmade textiles of brilliant colors in red, yellow, blue and purple. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of the country's children live in poverty. The country's official language is Spanish but more than 20 languages are spoken by various indigenous communities. Guatemalans are predominantly Catholic; about 40 percent are Protestants and a small percentage follow traditional Mayan religions. Compassion works within nearly every department in the country.
Much like many of its neighbors in Central America, Guatemala has a history riddled with warfare, coups and economic struggles. Two thousand years before Christ until the early 1500s, the great Mayan empire flourished throughout much of Guatemala. The Spanish conquered the area in 1524, but in 1821, the country gained independence from Spain. Since then, Guatemala's politics have been marked by rivalries and insurgencies. After a series of coups, short-lived rulers and ever-increasing protest and repression, civil war erupted in the 1960s. Several attempts have been made to end the decades-old disputes, the most recent of which was the 1996 signing of peace accords by the government, leftist guerrillas and other factions. Despite Guatemala's troubled history, the country enjoys freedom of speech and religion and continues to have a Constitutional Democratic Republic.
Map of Guatemala
Child's Location: Northwest of Guatemala City