Urgent help needed for Mayan family in Copan

Happier times- Martinez family aug. 2009

We are saddened by the recent news that Antonio Martinez, the father of three girls who we sponsor to attend high school in Copan,Honduras, has rapidly failing health due to lung cancer. This illness means that the family is spending any money they have on Antonio’s medication, and there is very little for food and nothing for the girls’ education. Please partner with us to give this family hope; by sponsoring these girls so they can stay in school, you are helping a whole family break the cycle of poverty. We are also sending funds to help cover the costs of medication and food for the Martinez family; without this additional support the girls will have to work instead of going to school.

Miguel and Saul Martinez

The Martinez family have lived a difficult life in extreme poverty in the hills of Copan, but despite their hardships they are always warm and optimistic, praising God for their blessings instead of lamenting their hardships. Martha and Antonio are hardworking, dedicated parents, doing all they can for their eight children, however with little education and literacy skills themselves, they have struggled to make ends meet. When Marta and Antonio were young there were no schools in the mountains where they lived, so without literacy or numeracy skills, their employment prospects have been limited. They hope for a better life for their children and so have made it a priority to keep their children in school. Martha’s access to health care and family planning methods has also been limited, resulting in a large family and increasing financial strain.

The Martinez family lives without running water or electricity, in an adobe hut, with mud floors and walls and just two rooms with a couple of old beds for all eight kids and two adults. They have a hole cut in the wall for a door and some smaller holes for windows, and all their cooking is done outside on an adobe fireplace. Their main form of sustenance has come from the milpa, or corn field that Antonio farmed, and they store the corn in a corner of one room and grind it for flour for tortillas. Now that Antonio is sick, there is no one to work the corn field or to bring in the income from the manual labour he found in town.

Anna with a proud Saul, showing off his chicks

Antonio suffered from TB years ago, and we had arranged to have xrays and other tests done to see if his TB was gone. He was free from TB, but we saw on the xrays that he really only had one working lung, as the other one was completely black from his TB scarring. He is very thin and rather frail, and has suffered from chronic bronchial problems as a result of his scarring. This lung cancer is surely tied to his TB history.

We raised the funds last year to send the three oldest girls to high school and were planning to do the same this year. Some of you had contributed last year, for which the family is so grateful.  The family is really suffering financially, as they already are stretched so thin, with a two year old girl and a new 5 month old baby, bringing them to eight children. Now with Antonio sick and unable to work, they are without an income and are struggling to buy him the medicine he needs.

A visit with the Martinez family and Martha’s mother, Christmas 2007

Neighbors and friends are doing what they can to help, and Grecia, the eldest, is working, but she is also in nursing school full time, which is expensive. We were able to cover part of her school fees last year, but not completely. This family is far too humble to ever ask for help, but we are going to try and help them however we can.

Martinez family (with a neighbor and Andy Gamper)2006

Grecia plans to stay in school as she is almost done her nursing course, but the family was planning on keeping the two younger girls, Marta and Claudia, home this year as they do not have the funds to send them. We raised the funds to send them last year and we hope to do the same this year, but now we know that the family is in greater need than just for school fees.

We hope to raise the funds for all three girls to attend high school, as well as to supply additional funds to the family for food and Antonio’s medicine. They have an immediate need for food and medicine for Antonio. The school session starts Feb 13th, which means the girls need funds to register, buy their books and any new items for their uniforms.

The younger girls’ schooling costs approx. 300$ each a year, with tuition, books, uniform, backpack, and Grecia’s is more than 400$ a year. Please pray for this family, for blessings, healing and hope. The Martinez family have a profound spiritual faith, praising God for their blessings and never voicing bitterness for their difficult life.They are so positive and warm, despite their hardships, and we would like to support them and to give them hope at this difficult time. Please partner with us to help this family today. See our donate page to make an immediate difference in their lives.

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