Locals Bring Baby Items to Guatamala
Joan Hamblin raised six children and knows plenty about baby blankets, booties, lotions and diapers. Her children have been out of the house for years and have children of their own.
Still, for the last few months there have been boxes of diapers, stacks of blankets and booties and suitcases full of lotions and soaps in the sprawling Danville home she shares with her husband, Jake. The president of a local mother’s group dropped off ten bags of clothing and blankets this month.
The loads of baby items recently went to Guatemala City for teen mothers who otherwise wouldn’t have supplies for their babies. It was in 2002-03 when the Hamblin couple spent 18 months in Guatemala on a humanitarian mission with their Danville church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
While visiting orphanages in Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America, where 70 percent of people live in dire poverty, they became involved in outreach to the poor. They also learned about the extreme circumstances in orphanages there. Newborns, infants and children are without basic needs: diapers, pins, clothing and blankets.
It is not uncommon to see a newborn wrapped only in newspaper, departing the hospital in a young mother’s arms. The need for supplies for young moms is great: In Guatemala City alone there are three clinics for pregnant teens. It became Hamblin’s mission to bring necessities, as well as comfort to the children, especially infants in orphanages of Guatemala.
Committed to Pan-en-la Boca, (or bread in the mouth in Spanish) a feeding program founded by her friend, Evelyn Candland of Danville, Hamblin and others have made two return trips to the orphanages. While visiting, they confer with local doctors who serve the poor, including Dr. Ernesto Velasquez. “Whenever possible, we have tried to help him help the vulnerable young women, infants and small children there,’’ she says.
Recently, Dr. Velasquez suggested creating “newborn kits” for teen mothers in need. Hamblin’s response was, “We can do this!” There are many articles a baby needs for a good start inside: diapers, pins, gowns, receiving blankets, booties, soap and lotion.
Earlier this month, the Hamblins and others went on a third trip to Guatemala City with six pieces of luggage packed to capacity with the kits. Some of the items were purchased, other were handmade.
Hamblin had sewn baby blankets of flannel, while others knitted booties and caps. Cash donations have come in to help pay for some items, others were contributed by friends and well-wishers as far away as Idaho and Utah, she says.
Diapers in bulk lots of 8 dozen per pack were ordered from a Utah company and bars of soap were bought in bulk. Approximately 100 mini layettes of every color will go to the mothers of newborn infants in Guatemala.The cost to put together each kit is about $25.
Additional people from Danville and Alamo who also went on the trip, brought 200 pairs of shoes for children of the orphanage as part of an Eagle Scout project.
There are two dental clinics in Guatemala City as well, operating under the auspices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in conjunction with the orphanages.
While there, Hamblin and her daughter, Rochelle, will take a bus through Antigua to Panajachel, the closest city to the orphanage, with 100 toothbrushes to distribute. Rochelle, a trained dental hygienist, will demonstrate proper tooth brushing technique, a first for many children and teens in the remote areas.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 22 March 2011 21:24)