Reaching Out To New Communities

Panimache Quinto Bajo is a small, remote village located on the border of the departments of Quiché and Sololá, and the latest community enrolled in our "Niños Chispudos" (Kids With Spark) Early Childhood Nutrition Program! The "Niños Chispudos" program utilizes the Chispuditos food product, which is a soy/corn based atol, or porridge, specially developed to provide a daily nutritional supplement for children between the ages of 6 months to 6 years old.

Our relationship with Panimache Quinto Bajo began last fall, when we visited the community for the first time. That visit led to the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with the families last December, which then opened the door to us having the opportunity to bring the "Niños Chispudos" program to the community.

Last month, Gladys, Mission Guatemala's Nutrition Program Coordinator, traveled to Panimache Quinto Bajo to present the program to the community leadership and to get their permission to bring the program to the community. This past week, we officially kicked off the program, as a group of Mission Guatemala staff members went to the community to take height and weight measurements of the children who were entering the program. In addition, the children's hemoglobin levels were checked through a simple finger-stick test, in order to identify children who were suffering from anemia.

The information we gathered confirmed what we had suspected since the first visit—that many of the children in this community are extremely malnourished. The hemoglobin measurements showed that just over half of the 28 children entering the program are anemic, with many of the others being very close to the established threshold. Additionally, the height and weight measurements we gathered indicate that most of the children do not meet growth development standards developed by the World Health Organization, with some being drastically below them.

We're excited about this opportunity to partner with Panimache Quinto Bajo! We'll be sharing more about the community in the future, as we continue to explore additional ways that we can partner with the community to meet some of the great needs there, as well as to give updates about the progress of the "Niños Chispudos" program in that community.

We ask that you please keep these families and children—who are representative of so many here in Guatemala—in your heart and in your prayers.

To see more photos from this day, click here.