The area surrounding our new home: Mi Casita is renting a house in San Pedro las Huertas, a few kilometers from the famous and tourist Antigua and about an hour from the the capital Guatemala-City. It's a typical Guatemalan town with uneven cobblestone streets, lots of tiendas (little shops) and a central park with a beautiful baroque Spanish colonial church.
Our home: On the search of a suitable house I was struck by the one we chose. As the gate opens you see the big garden with little fruit trees, a seating area and the three level house. There are 4 rooms with private bathroom, an office, a kitchen/dining-room, patio, 2 storage rooms and the whole upper level is a roof terrace with great views of the 3 surrounding volcanos. For some reason many houses in Guatemala are without much daylight, but this a very open house with lots of natural light.
We can accomodate 12 children in the ages 0-3 years.
All Mi Casita’s children are abandoned by their families and sent to Mi Casita by order of the Court, with the support of the National Adoption Council, which is the governing organization for abandoned children in Guatemala. The National Adoption Council authorizes and regulates children’s homes such as Mi Casita.
I’m Jessica, 38 years and from the Netherlands. In 2008 I came the first time to Guatemala to study Spanish and fell in love with the country, especially Antigua. The years after I lived for over a year in Antigua and spent my holidays here. But every time I had to leave it became more difficult and I couldn’t adjust very well anymore in the Netherlands. So last year I decided to emigrate, my intention was sometime within 2014.
Fate being what it is, I got in touch with Jan and she told me she needed somebody for Mi Casita, as soon as possible! In 2 months I arranged everything in the Netherlands, sold all my belongings and went to Guatemala. This was in December of 2013.
The papers were supposed to be almost ready for the children to come, but due to a lot of circumstances we almost had to start over with everything. Guatemalan bureaucracy is slow, so very slow... When they tell you it will take 4 weeks for the next papers to be ready, you can count on at least 2 months, if not more. Therefore it’s also very difficult to know when the paperwork finally will be done and we will be approved to open our orphanage.
The lack of government speed is very frustrating, because there are already children found who need a home. We hope to get also children with a cleft lip, because with the help of another NGO (T.E.S.S. Unlimited) we could give them the operations, aftercare and speech therapy they need.
Until we get the final paperwork and the furniture to care for the little ones I will continue to provide help with the abandoned children with cleft pallets in the area. Developing the connections with the children is essential in my collaboration with the local community and the orphaniges.
Meanwhile I have found a beautiful house, very spacious and light, with a nice big garden and roofterrace. See all the images below.
How you can help - There are still so many things we need for the house: cribs, diaper changing tables, bed sheets, high chairs, bottle sterilizer, baby walkers, room decoration, wardrobes, curtains, towels, kitchen cabinet, combi microwave, kitchen amenities, laundry/dry combi, stair gates, toys etc.
If you can help with anything, it will be very appreciated!l