In 2008 I went to Guatemala on Nancy Crow's textile tour. Near Solola, we visited an orphanage. I was impressed with the programs and organization for the 80 or so children who live there. The kids live in groups of about 12 in what I will call a "home", consisting of a common room with 3 or 4 bedrooms attached. Each home has a "tia", aunt, who cares for the kids in that family unit. Some of the buildings had been recently constructed, complete with solar panels, by volunteers from a college in the U.S. The kids make their own furniture in the woodshop, part of the vocational program in the orphanage. They also make their own school uniforms and even their own shoes!
The one home we viewed was clean and neat. But the kids' bunk beds were topped with worn blankets, and a couple of the beds had older well-used quilts on them. Being a quilter, I saw an opportunity!
Since I returned from the trip, my mission is to make a quilt for each child at the orphanage. Of course, this project is not without benefits to me. I have a chance to use up some portion of my collection of commercial fabric, which I no longer use in my art work. And, being relatively new to longarm quilting, the project gives me the opportunity to hone my longarm skills.
So between creating my art pieces, I've been sewing scrap quilts - and having a ball! Some friends from Maine, to Alaska, to Massachusetts, California, Washington and Oregon have joined in the fun and contributed quilt tops, time, and finishing work. At this posting, May 2010, we are nearing the goal of 80 quilts. About 55 quilts are completed, and 20 or so more tops are in the works! Next comes the hard part -- getting the quilts to Guatemala!
See the February 17, 2011 and the April 14, 2011 blog posts for updates on getting the quilts to the orphanage. Fifteen quilts have been delivered! Or click here to see all the posts about the Guatemala Bound Project.
September 2011 Update
Seventy-eight quilts were shipped today. When these arrive in Santa Apolonia, the total will be 92 quilts! I plan to deliver 8 more in January. Then on to the next project - 40 orphans sponsored by Mayan Families, and more quilts for the Tias at Santa Apolonia!
March 2012 Update
I delivered the last 8 quilts to the Santa Apolonia orphanage in January 2012. Since the number of children had dropped, there were enough quilts for each child, tia, and administrator. Mission accomplished! I visited the Mayan Families office in Panajachel and saw all the good they are trying to do. The office is a little chaotic, but Mayan Families manages to provide very personal help to many individuals and families. They sponsor children for school, help people receive medical attention, sponsor orphans and the elderly, and provide healthy meals and early training for many preschoolers. Quilts for that organizations, the orphan program particularly, will be a very worthy cause.
September 2012 Update
The first shipment of 16 quilts to Mayan Families Orphan Program is on its way. I hope the quilts arrive in time for Christmas. Here are just a few of the quilts. Click here to see all the posts tagged for Mayan Families.
January 2015 Update
Work continues. We've sent 68 quilts to Mayan Families Kids At Risk Program so far! Here are photos of some of the happy recipients.