Saturday, January 30, 2010

Story time

The babies have been enjoying some story time lead by Alicia, a new volunteer at Casa Shalom. The little ones love listening to the stories and love looking at the books themselves!

Linda's thinking, "Something's wrong with this book!" (Hint: it's upside down!)

This reading stuff is hard!

Read to me...or else!

Books...not just for reading.

There is something more interesting over there.

Video 1: Linda is excited about getting read to by Alicia. Video 2: Linda and Abby haven't been walking for long, but they sure can toddle!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

School days

Each school day at Colegio Shalom starts with group devotions and prayer. Enjoy the photos of morning devotions!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Help wanted!

We at Casa Shalom are geared up and excited to begin a new year. We believe 2010 will be a year of blessings for the kids and staff of the orphanage. As we make plans and review the budget for this year, we are also setting goals for things we'd like to accomplish at the orphanage in 2010. Several needs have arisen and you have the opportunity to partner with us financially to meet these needs!

-To meet security needs at the orphanage, we have hired 2 full-time guards to patrol the property 24 hours/day. This will help ensure the safety of the children and all those who live at Casa Shalom. The total salary for the 2 guards will be $800 per month.

- The Minnesota chicken farm (named for the team that constructed the farm) will be producing 60 chickens every 2 weeks in 2010. The cost of purchasing 60 baby chickens, plus chicken feed, is $200 per month.

- In 2010, we will be placing razor wire (barbed wire) along the top of the fence that circles the perimeter of Casa Shalom's property. The cost of the wire plus installation is $5 per meter.

- A big need we'd like to fill in 2010 is the purchase of a new van. We need a way to transport all the children without having to use the big yellow bus. The cost of a new van here in Guatemala is $15,000.

We ask you to prayerfully considering partnering with Casa Shalom by donating toward one of these projects. For more information on making a donation, please contact us at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baby Mynor

Meet Casa Shalom's newest resident: baby Mynor. Mynor came to us yesterday and is estimated to be about 15 or 16 days old. On January 9th, Mynor was found by a firefighter in a ditch on the side of the road in Guatemala City. He was taken to a local hospital where it was determined that he'd been born that same day or possibly on the 8th. Mynor was brought to us yesterday afternoon and is now the smallest resident of the baby house. All the babies are thrilled with their new "hermanito" (little brother)!

Getting changed out of his hospital clothes.

House mother Doris feeds Mynor his first bottle in his new home.

Getting sleepy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First day of school

Yesterday was the first day of the 2010 Guatemalan school year, which runs from January to October. Casa Shalom had 3 brand-new students join the pre-kindergarten class room: Jorge, Tony and Sarai. The little ones were excited to join their older friends in school! The pictures, left, are from the first day of school.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New newsletter posted

To see the January 2010 Casa Shalom newsletter, click the link on the left!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January newsletter

We will soon be sending out January's Casa Shalom e-newsletter. If you would like to receive the newsletter in your email, send a message with your email address to:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We recently finished reading Stones into Schools, the follow-up book to Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Although this is not a book review site, we'd like to recommend both books to anyone interested in reading about efforts to improve literacy and education among boys and girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mortenson is a North American outdoorsman who was attempting to reach the summit of the K2 mountain in Pakistan when he got lost and was rescued by villagers of an isolated community high up in the mountains. While recovering with the help of the villages, Mortenson learned of the lack of school in the community and promised to build them a school upon his return. The amazing journey that follows has to be read to be believed! Mortenson's passion for education children (especially girls) is infectious - his goal is to promote change and development in communities from within by educating girls. Check out some stats and quotes on girls' education from Stones into Schools:

-Increasing the share of women with a secondary education by 1% boosts annual per-capita income by .3% - the World Bank

-A 2000 Study in Brazil found that literate women have an average of 2.5 children, the average for illiterate women is 6 children. -UNESCO

- The mother's education is often the single most important influence on women's survival. Educated women learn how to keep their kids healthy, use health services, improve nutrition and sanitation and take advantage of their own increased earning capability. Girls who stay in school also marry later when they are better able to bear and care for children- Council on Foreign Relations "What works for Girls' Education: Evidence on Policies from the Developing World."

- By increasing health-care knowledge and reducing the number of pregnancies, female education significantly reduces the risk of maternal mortality-World Bank

- Educated women are more likely to insist on education for their own children. Their children study as much as two hours more each day than children of illiterate mothers and stay in school longer.- Council on Foreign Relations" What works for Girls' Education:Evidence on Policies from the Developing World."

- Educated women are more likely to participate in political discussions ,meetings and decision making-Council on Foreign Relations. "What works for Girls' Education:Evidence on Policies from the Developing World."

- As women are educated and approach parity with men, research shows that governments and other institutions function better and with less corruption. - Council on Foreign Relations "What works for Girls' Education:Evidence on Policies from the Developing World."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Josh gives Sarai a whirl through the air!