Poverty In Guatemala
More than 75 percent of the national population lives below the poverty line, and the extent of poverty is even more severe among the rural and indigenous populations. In 1989, about 93 percent of the indigenous population in Guatemala were living in poverty and 91 percent in extreme poverty, whereas only 66 percent and 45 percent of the nonindigenous population were living in those respective conditions.
A One Sided World
Guatemala’s income distribution is among the most unequal in the world, with the wealthiest 10 percent of the population owning nearly 50 percent of the national wealth and the poorest 10 percent owning less than 1 percent.
Poverty and inequality in the country are persistently high, and high rates of childhood stunting threaten Guatemala’s ability to reach its full development potential.
What We Do To Help
With average life spans of only sixty-five years, Guatemalans have the fourth lowest life expectancy in the Western hemisphere. Many children dying under the age of five could have been saved if they had basic antibiotics, acetaminophen, antimalarial drugs, or dewormer. A few dollars saves lives!! The provision of food bags and nutritious meals have a huge impact on the health and well being of many who are living on the edge of starvation.
Malnutrition can be easily identified, not only by bloated stomachs, but also by the color of hair. Malnourished children will tend to have lighter hair color than that of well nourished children. One item in particular that is of great benefit in combating malnutrition in Guatemala is “Incaparina”, a drink formulated with vitamins and high levels of protein.
We Provide The Following (and more) To Those In Need
To battle malnutrition, it is important that the diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables; plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods. Some milk and dairy foods some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein are very important. It is odd that with fruits and vegetables so readily available that they are not eaten more. The fact is that they go to market for sale.
Wide spread contamination and pollution of Guatemala’s public water supply is, simply put, awful. The country’s largest river, the Motagua, can be described as one long open sewer. There is some degree of water treatment in the larger cities, but in the rural areas it is virtulally non-existant. It is not unusual that families will only have piped water 2-3 days a week and that supply is heavily contaminated.
Limited access to common and inexpensive medicines like antibiotics, amoxicillin, acetaminophen, anti-malarial drugs and dewormer can be contributed to the lack of expendable income. Likewise vitamns and minerals are also not affordable. Many families simply can not afford the expense, no matter how minimal it may seem to us. Access to these simple medicines can oftern savv a child’s life.
EMERGENCY RELIEF IN LOS LIMONES
Los Limones is near the city of Gualan in the Department of Zacapa in the east of the country. It was established by Gualan after devastating mud-slides some years ago in the mountains to the south. The families had lost homes, fields and live stock. Needless to say, they were left destitute and many reamin so until this day. COVD-19 has only worsened the situation. It receives support from the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Gualan.
EMERGENCY RELIEF IN PIEDRA AZULES
Piedra Azules (Blue Stones) like Los Limones (The Lemons) is also near Gualan. It too, is exremely poor with very few opportunities to earn a living and have the expendable income required to purchase daily needs. Piedra Azules is also experiencing extreme hunger due to COVD-19 like Los Limones. These two communities are well known to our VP/Treasurer. The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection is active here as well and we support them as much as possible.