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					                                        Guatemala Contacts and FYI
                            (Carry this sheet with you and give a copy to family at home.)

Hi Guatemala trip participants,

Here is all the information on our mission that you will need to know. Bring it with you, so you will know times, where we
are going and who is who. Also remember everything is subject to change.

Participants and roommates:
Room 1: Lynn Metcalf, Shahin Aminilari
Room 2: John Carson, Darren White
Room 3: Robin Cho, Samantha Ruiz
Room 4: Janay Ailes, Emily Berenberg
Room 5: Tracy Swenerton, Roz Riddell
Room 6: Kristin Wetmore, Lindsey Edwards
Room 7: Karen Crabtree, Jamie Astorino
Room 8: Jeff Behring, Jessica Behring
Room 9: Jan and Gary Jantzen **Mission Coordinators (from Cincinnati)
Room 10: Mari Hafner, Mireille Hanna ** Mission Coordinators (From Miami. Both speak Spanish)
Room 11: Jerry Ayres (from Kansas)

We will have teams of 6-7 people, with one team leader for each team. Teams will be determined once we know who
speaks Spanish, so the teams each have Spanish speakers. There will be teams for Jan, Mari and Mireille. When you
have a question regarding the schedule, your room, etc. try to direct it to your team leader.

Hotel Address/phone:
Sept. 1 and 2
1. Posada el Antano, 6a Ave N. No 36, Antigua 011 (502) – 7832-0134
Sept. 3-5
2. Marriott Guatemala City, 7a Ave 15-45, Zona 9 Telephone: 011 (502) – 2339-7777

1. Miracles In Action mission leader’s cell phone in Guatemala 011-(502) 5993-1913

2. US Embassy in Guatemala 2331-1541, Located at 7-01 Avenida la Reforma, Zona 10 (near Marriott Hotel)

NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) or Charities we will visit:
1. Vamos Adelante, Director – Nina Jorgensen 7830-6485 home, 5800-9913 cell
email: website:
We have been supporting Nina’s grassroots project for 6 years, and she is an amazing woman you will want to meet.
Nina is originally from Sweden, speaks 5 languages, and was a Pan Am flight attendant in Berlin. The charity she started
10 years ago supports education and health projects in 18 villages mostly in Escuintla Department (on Fuego volcano).

2. Amarilis Oliva –. 2254-0752 and 2288-5639. Amarilis was given her WCF wheelchair 5 years ago and now she
screens applicants for our wheelchairs, and distributes them. She runs a computer school from her home for disabled
people, and she works through Vamos Adelante.

3. Buckner - Chique Mollinero (5501-3677) is Director for Buckner of several orphanages in Guatemala. Walter
Hernandez (5587-9313) is Director of Humanitarian Aid and Projects. Headquarters is in Dallas, TX.

4. Open Windows Library ( – Director Teresa Quinonas, 7832-3549 originally from Duenas,
the village where the library is located. Teresa is a nurse who lived in CA and cared for Dr. Jean Uelmen, the Founder of
Open Windows, who passed away in March 2005. Jean had Muscular Dystrophy and she never let her wheelchair get in
the way of accomplishing her goals. One being - to establish a library so that poor children would have access to books,
and learn to read. Jean lived in CA and in Guatemala with her life-long companion Teresa, who now runs the library and
the non-profit foundation. The library was recently expanded with funds from Miracles In Action, Inc. and Noreen
Itinerary: As a courtesy to your fellow volunteers, please be on time, ready, and with the correct items to take
with you. Check with your group leader if there are any changes in times and for restaurant suggestions.

Thursday Sept. 1 – Dallas AA flight arrives to Guatemala at 7:11PM. Mission leader, Jan Jantzen will be on the Dallas
flight. Jan is easy to spot – she has curly, short red hair, and she is short in height. Mission leaders Mari and Mireille are
on the Miami flight arriving at 6:33PM, if flights are on time! After going through Immigrations (have your passport ready),
then collect your bags and duffels. Place all your luggage together, on the long carts as directed by the mission leaders.
We need to keep all of our luggage together on 3 long carts, and hold these carts in the lobby, just before you exit the
airport, until the entire group is assembled and ready to exit together and get on to the bus. As you leave the baggage
area, hand your Customs paper to the person collecting them (Do not claim anything on this form. Everything is either
personal luggage or a donation and no duty should be charged). Mari has a letter for Customs which we can use, if they
want to inspect luggage or charge duty. Mari and Mireille (coming from Miami) are bringing a lot of duffels of aid and
wheelchairs, and they may need help with getting them aboard the bus.
After you are sure your luggage is on one of our carts, you can go to the bank window to exchange money or use the
ATM. We will assign one or two people to watch all the baggage in the lobby. The mission leaders will handle the porters
who help with bags.

Just after Customs, you can change some of your money to Quetzales, or use the ATMs which will give you Qs. There is
one Visa and one MC machine in the airport lobby. There are ATMs at the Marriott and in Antigua, and you will have
plenty of time to get more money once we are in Antigua. Have at least 1000 Q or $125 to cover food for several days.
Restaurants are inexpensive compared with the US. Use a money belt or secure place for your cash. Remember that
many restaurants either do not take credit cards or they charge you 5-10% for using one. The Posada el Antano, the
hotel for the first two nights – will charge extra for credit card payment. At check-out on Saturday, have your $40 cash
available. They take US dollars or Qs. It is probably easiest if both you and your roommate pay in US dollars - $40 each
for the 2 nights.) The Marriott takes credit cards without extra charge. Set aside the $3 or 20Q airport security fee. Your
$30 airport exit fee should be included in your airline ticket price.

Watch your backpacks and your buddy’s. It is a little hairy once you leave the airport lobby and there are lots of people
waiting out side, and potential for pickpockets. Remember do NOT bring or wear any jewelry or purses. Small daypacks
are the best way to hold larger valuables (camera) , and money belts/neck pouch are best for passports, credit cards and

The Clark Tour coaster bus will be waiting outside for our group. We will take one long cart at a time, and load luggage
on top of the bus, and under the seats. If you are bringing bags that hold aid that are not needed until Sunday and the
wheelchair event, or for Monday… be sure to write that on the luggage tag and let Jan or Mari know this. That bag can be
sent to the Marriott Hotel, and put into our storage room there. You will not have access to that bag until Saturday
afternoon, but it will save you dragging the bag to Antigua. The Marriott has provided us with a storage room for our large
duffels of aid and wheelchairs. Be sure all your bags of humanitarian supplies are clearly marked with their contents. (I
use AA luggage tags) If you know which day they are being used or which project is getting them, write this info on the
tag as well. With the volume of bags we are bringing, it is difficult to quickly locate the things needed each morning for
that day’s activities. Marking them before you leave home will big a big help.

From the GUA airport to Antigua is about a 40 minute drive. Posada el Antano is a cute very Guatemalan hotel with
flowers, fireplace in each room, a courtyard, and a roof top patio with a view of 3 volcanoes. Our special rate is $40 per
double room without breakfast. That includes tax. The hotel is located close to La Merced – the yellow church. If you get
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lost wandering around Antigua, ask for the yellow church. The hotel is on 6 Ave, the street next to 5 where the arch is
located. You will be given a map, or ask for one at the desk, and take it with you when you go out. It is easy to get lost.
Antigua is a World Heritage site because of the beautiful colonial architecture, cobblestones, courtyard restaurants, and
beautiful central plaza… You will see a mix of Mayan women and children selling handicrafts, tourists, students attending
one of the many Spanish schools, Ladino shop attendants, American ex-pats, Guatemala City residents coming for
weekend activities,… It is fun just to people watch at the central plaza, or wander the streets looking in the jade shops,
book stores, galleries, ruins, the market, or a visit to Santa Domingo Hotel/monastery ruins.

For your stay at the Posada el Antano you may want to bring ear plugs to block out the church bells, roosters, and
fireworks at all hours. Rooms do not have hair dryers, so you or your roommate may want to bring one and share.
(Marriott Hotel has hairdryers in the rooms). Electric currency is 110V and outlets are the same as in the US.
Friday Sept. 2 – For breakfast you can eat in the hotel restaurant – they have a menu (your room rate does not include
breakfast) but service can be slow, and the breakfast are just OK. Try one of the local restaurants for croissants and
coffee, or granola and fruit. Be back at the hotel and ready to leave at 9:00 AM. The Clark Tour bus and Nina
Jorgensen, Director of Vamos Adelante will pick up our group in front of the hotel. We will be going to a coffee finca
(plantation or farm) called Montijo, where there is a decrepit, poor school with 6 grades in 1 small, sad building. (It can be
muddy, so wear shoes that can get mud on them). Most of the children attending school there pick coffee in season (Nov.
– Jan) when school is out. All school in Guatemala run from Feb. through Oct. and only in the mornings.

At the school you will fit children in to the shoes and socks we have brought. And we will hand out the new underwear,
toothbrushes, soap and possibly a hygiene kit. If someone feels comfortable with Spanish and they want to do a
toothbrush lesson…Nina can arrange this. If you would like to do some games or crafts with the children, they always
enjoy the time you spend with them. (relay races are fun). Also, Nina or one of her staff may take you on a walk to meet
some of the locals and see how they live. Vamos Adelante has health, hygiene, education and nutrition projects, and Nina
can explain how they have helped in this area. For the walk, Nina will take smaller groups, so we are not 21 Americans
“invading” people’s homes. Do NOT hand out any candy, aid or anything. Aid distribution is always done in an organized
and fair manner, or it can create a frenzy where people are hurt. Ask permission from the mission leaders, Nina or the
individual before taking photos. We will stay for a couple of hours and then return to Antigua.

The rest of the day is free time. A clean, quaint and safe place to eat lunch is Café Condessa on 5a Ave across from the
central plaza. (It is safe to eat the salads and raw fruits and vegetables there). For dinner, I recommend Meson Panza
Verde 5a Avenida Sur No 19. You can make a reservation at 7832-1745 or 7832-2925. All of the food is safe to eat in
this excellent restaurant with wonderful décor and gardens.
Saturday Sept. 3 - Have breakfast at a nearby restaurant or ask Jan Jantzen for suggestions. You can pay your hotel
bill and have your bags packed and stored in one room (the hotel should provide us with one room to hold luggage). At
9:30AM be ready in the lobby to walk to Mi Hogar girls orphanage, a short distance away. Someone from Buckner will
lead us there, and tell you more about their program in Guatemala. There are about 60 girls ages 11-17. Less than 1
month ago, the orphanage was assigned new “house parents” and 14 nuns have cleaned up the place (that is what we
hear). Previously, the government did not provide sufficient staffing to care for the 100 girls who lived there, at that time.
Many of these girls have been abused, lack self esteem, and they do not have plans or hopes for their life after the
orphanage at age 18. We have been supportive of their sewing workshop, and are trying to develop other handicraft type
items the girls could make and sell for income.

During our visit we will hand out hygiene kits to each girl. We will bring pre-made hygiene kits which can have things you
bring added to them. We will break in to groups, so that you can get to know 2-3 girls better and have one on one time
with them. You can help the girls with an arts and craft project to make a “Friendship Quilt” from paper squares that are
glued to a canvas sheet. Each girl and each volunteer should decorate one square with their name on it to add to the
quilt. We can also fill a piñata with candy, bring music and do some dances (anyone know line dances?). If you have
ideas for games and activities, let us know.
We will leave the orphanage around noon when the girls have lunch. You are free until 3:00PM, when the Clark Tour bus
will take the group, along with all luggage, to the Marriott in Guatemala City. Be ready at the front door of the Posada el
Antano with luggage by 3:00PM. The Marriott is close to the airport, about 45 minute drive.

Marriott - You have a reservation for your room. Doubles are $60 with breakfast for two, plus about 20% taxes. They can
split the bill on to 2 credit cards, if you and your roommate wish to do this. Singles are $50 with breakfast. The Marriott
has a nice heated pool and hot tub, so you can bring a bathing suit. Also, they have a workout room. Breakfast buffet is
included, but leave plenty of time for slower service. There is a grocery store 1 block from the hotel where you can buy
snacks, sodas, coffee, and water at a cheaper price than your mini-bar – ask for the key to the minibar, so you can use
the refrigerator. There are some cute shops nearby, a central market place downtown (by taxi), and nice restaurants
within walking distance of the Marriott. Hacienda Real is my favorite steak restaurant and Cacao is my favorite tipica
(Guatemalan food and décor).
After dinner, we will need some volunteers to assist with the set up of the wheelchairs. Rooms 222 and 224 on the 2
floor are where the wheelchairs and duffel bags are stored. The wheelchairs need to be removed from the boxes (Do not
discard the boxes – Nina has requested these because poor people use them as walls for their houses.) and the foot rests
need to go on them. Write the size of the chair on the side sticker. As soon as the Reyes Ballroom is vacated (possibly
11PM) we will set up the room with the wheelchairs and companion chairs. Put the smallest chairs at the front, and the
largest at the back. If Wheelchair Foundation would like to bring a banner for the wall, this would be great.
Sunday Sept. 4 – Have breakfast buffet early in Marriott restaurant. At 7AM come to the Reyes ballroom and meet
your team leader for your assignment. We will set up side banquet tables with the lap quilts and blankets, plus a table
with stuffed animals, and one with pillows - and let each wheelchair recipient pick one. They will also get a bag with
snacks and a soda – one bag per family. You will be given instructions on what to teach each person about their
wheelchair, how to adjust the foot rests, how the photo is to be taken.
Amarilis Oliva, Nina Jorgensen and the Vamos Adelante team will manage the registration table, write up the placard with
name and age of the person, and the size of the chair they should get (written on the back). They will turn this person
over to a volunteer team of 2 people (one speaks Spanish) to take them into the ballroom and place them in their
wheelchair. The team of two will stay with this one person until they have adjusted the foot rests, instructed them and the
family, and then take them to the gift tables to select their lap quilt, pillow, stuffed animal and a snack bag. Then they will
take them to the photo station for their photo with the placard, and one without the placard which should include the family
and the gifts. Then they return to the place where their wheelchair was originally, and wait with their family for the
speeches and visit from First Lady Wendy de Berger. Do NOT rush this process. Take time to talk to the people and get
to know a bit about them. We have asked 24 people to come at 8AM, 23 to come at 9AM, and 23 to come at 10AM. Your
team can distribute 2-3 wheelchairs per hour.
The container of 280 wheelchairs will not arrive in to Guatemala and clear Customs in time for this event Sept. 4 , so we
are distributing 70 wheelchairs that belong to the First Lady’s Office of Donations. When the container arrives, the loaned
chairs will go back to government projects, and Vamos Adelante and Amarilis will distribute the remaining wheelchairs to
disabled poor throughout Guatemala.

Once everyone is seated and the First Lady arrives, Mari Hafner, the Rotary Club members from Guatemala City (who
have assisted us on this project), Amarilis, and Jeff Behring will say a few words of thanks. If you would like to speak,
please discuss with Mari. The last activity is for all the volunteers to walk around the room and congratulate each of the
wheelchair recipients and shake hands or give hugs. Any leftover “gifts” will be returned to the storage room. The event
is finished about 11:30am or 12:00.

Free time for lunch until 3:00 when the Clark Tour Bus will pick up the group at the Champions Bar entrance, and take the
group to the Buckner baby and toddler orphanage (42-46 babies). We will bring humanitarian aid for them. You will be
given a tour, learn about the orphanage and adoptions, and have a chance to hold babies or play with the toddlers.
Return to Marriott by 5PM. If you would like to visit the Zona 1 Central Market for a walk around and shopping, the bus
can drop you off, and you can take a taxi back to the Marriott. (Or possibly the whole group would like to go for ½ hour
before returning to the Marriott). Be careful – the market is known for pickpockets.

Dinner at restaurant in walking distance of the Marriott.
Monday Sept. 5 – Breakfast buffet in restaurant. Morning is free until 11AM when the Clark Tour bus will meet group in
front of Champions Bar entrance. You will travel to San Miguel Duenas, a small town 15 minutes outside Antigua, about 1
hour drive. There you will meet Director Teresa Quinonas and learn about Open Windows Library, built 3 years ago with 2
rooms and 30 children registered. They have grown to over 900 children who come to read, have stories read to them,
use educational DVDs on the computers, learn about hygiene, do arts and crafts, etc. They soon outgrew their space.
Miracles In Action, my mother (Noreen Rambacher), and a few other generous donors sponsored this $24,000
construction project to expand the library. Your group will participate in the inauguration of the new library. There will be
a short ceremony with presentation of diplomas. Then sandwiches and drinks. While some volunteers work on arts and
crafts with children, others will get a tour of the town and some homes with Teresa. Everyone will have a chance to get
the tour and learn about the village. Just outside of town is a very poor migrant worker camp, where entire families
(children as young as 4 years old) are picking coffee, and they do not have the chance to go to school. Open Windows
provides these children with the opportunity to learn to read at the library. Leave Open Windows about 4-4:30 PM, and
return to Marriott.

Teresa is developing a foster baby home, and bed & breakfast for adoptive parents, at her house outside Antigua. We
would like to bring Teresa baby items to get this project started.

Last dinner at nearby restaurant. You can check out and settle your bill Monday night, if you prefer.

Tuesday Sept. 6 – Breakfast buffet starts at 5AM. Take Marriott free van from hotel to GUA Airport. It leaves every ½
hour from the main entrance.


PHONES - Calls to the US are expensive, but you can use your MCI or AT&T account, and dial from the hotels the local
access number. Do not dial direct from the hotels, because it is very expensive. To communicate home, use the internet
cafes. It runs 10Q per hour at the cafes and there are many of them in Antigua. The Marriott Business Center has
internet, but it can be expensive. You can give your family members an emergency contact number in Guatemala – it is a
cell phone Jan will carry. The number is 011(502)- 5993-1916

WATER and SAFE FOOD - . I recommend you bring or buy 1 or 2 small plastic bottles of water, and keep refilling them
from a gallon of water you buy at the local grocery store. The Marriott gift shop sells small bottles of water. The tap water
at the Marriott is probably OK for brushing teeth, but do NOT drink or use tap water anywhere else in Guatemala. You
can boil tap water in the coffee maker in your Marriott room, and it is then safe to drink. Do NOT drink or brush teeth with
the water at the Posada el Antano. They have a water cooler and you can re-fill your water bottles. Drink plenty of bottled
water, and always bring 1 full bottle with you.
Do NOT eat any raw fruits or vegetables (including lettuce and tomatoes as salads or plate garnishes) unless they are at
a “safe restaurant”. The Marriott, and most restaurants we recommend, are safe. If you buy fruit, it must be peeled, or it
must be soaked in bleach water first before eating the skins – better to just stick with bananas, peeled mangos,
pineapples and oranges, or fruit from the Marriott or safe restaurants. You may want to bring some Pepto Bismal or
Imodium, just in case.

TOILET TIPS - Do not put toilet paper into the toilets, except at the Marriott. There is a trash can for this. I know this is
disgusting, but plumping throughout Guatemala is not able to handle it. I suggest you take a small amount of toilet paper
in your pocket to use during the day when you are out. Often the places we visit have limited supply of toilet paper. And,
never throw TP in their toilets either.

WEATHER AND PACKING: Guatemala can get cool in the evenings due to their higher altitude (4,500’-5,000 above sea
level). Bring a sweat shirt or light jacket – you won’t need this during the day. It should be hot and sunny (70-80s). In
August it rains almost every afternoon, so you must carry a pocket raincoat or umbrella, unless you don’t mind getting
wet. I keep a pocket raincoat (cheap $1 ones from Kmart in my daypack). I recommend packing light weight cotton pants,
and if you like shorts – bring longer ones only (the Mayan people do not wear shorts, and are more conservative). Please
– No tight tank tops, or tight and revealing clothes. We need to set a good example to the girls at the orphanage (At
orphanages we want to be role models. Sometimes when a girl leaves an orphanage they become a prostitute because
they do not know how to support themselves. By teaching them that Americans wear tight, sexy clothes, you are
encouraging them to do this also, and it can promote prostitution.
You can bring a hat and sun screen for the sun. When we go out to eat at night, wear nicer slacks or skirts and long
sleeve tops. There are great restaurants with wonderful food and atmosphere. Most people pack their personal clothing
in a roll aboard suitcase and take it as a carry-on. This way they can check 2 duffel bags or old suitcases filled with
humanitarian aid.
Bring a day pack to carry your personal things (camera, film, water, tissues, hand sanitizer, snack, copy of your passport,
sunglasses, sunscreen, small amount of money, this itinerary, map – we will give you, …). Larger amounts of money and
your passport should be carried in a money belt, or left locked in the hotel or in your suitcase-locked. I always lock my
suitcase in the hotel room – to discourage theft. DO NOT BRING PURSES OR JEWELRY!!!

MONEY: Bring at least 2 sources of money (ATMs work well, but sometimes they are down, or your card is rejected), so
have cash and/or travelers checks as a second source. Credit cards are only good at the Marriott and a few restaurants.
People in Guatemala do not like accepting them, and will charge you 5-10% extra.

TIPPING: Most often 5Q bill is sufficient. You can also give $1 USD. Do not give US coins because they can not use
them. At restaurants, check if a tip (propina) or service is included. If not, you can leave 10% tip. Do NOT tip our van
drivers or anyone that may already be getting a tip from the mission leader. Only tip service people who help you

Do NOT bring lots of candy for the kids. You can bring raisins, dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, protein bars, and healthy
snacks. Keep candy to a minimum and save their teeth.

Any more questions send me an email or call.
239-348-0815 home
954-557-0816 cell

For further information on my Wheelchair Projects, visit
Past wheelchair deliveries and photos of shoe and toy distributions can be found on my webpage. Here is a link to the
wheelchair photo album.
Penny’s personal website is

Miracles In Action, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization supporting and managing sustainable projects helping poor
families in Central and South America through partnership with known US-registered charities operating in those
(You may want to print this and carry it with you in your pocket)

CURRENCY EXCHANGE: about 7.8Q per $1 USD
1Q   = $.13
2Q   = $.25
3Q   = $.38
4Q   = $.50
5 Q = $.63
6 Q = $.76
7 Q = $.89
8 Q = $1.00
9 Q = $1.13
10 Q = $1.25
20 Q = $ 2.50
50 Q = $ 6.25

Exchanges can vary 7.5Q – 8Q per dollar.

Bills that are available are bolded. It is easy to mix up 10Q bills with 100Q, because the colors are
similar – be careful to check. Most small vendors can not give you change for 50 and 100Q bills. Ask
for smaller bills at Marriott front desk. Easiest place to get Qs is the bank at GUA airport, or ATMs.

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