At the Human World Summit in June 2017 Grandmother Tomasa from Guatemala asked us for help. (www.oneplanet-onepeople.org)
She had a Dream
Her dream was building a Healing Centre for the Mayan people of Chichicastenango. A centre where traditional Mayan medicine is practised and where the ancient knowledge of her family can be passed on and thus preserved for future generations.
Grandmother Tomasa always worked with her daughter Grandmother Poxita from their own home. Grandmother Poxita’s bedroom was also the treatment room. They travelled a lot to share their knowledge. Their age makes this no longer possible
We had no choice but to say “Yes”. A year earlier we had first met the Grandmothers on a special trip through Guatemala at the invitation of the Council of Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj to explore the possibility of organizing the “Sixth Gathering of the Indigenous People” of Central, North and South America here at Centre Lothlorien in France. However, this turned out to be too ambitious.
During our trip the Grandmothers had made a huge impression on us. We are very grateful that now three years later in September 2020 the dream of Grandmother Tomasa has come true. The Healing Centre has been built!!! Below is a report of the process.
Grandmother Tomasa had been planning a hospital for a long time. The dream was great. Her wish was to buy a piece of land for a large medical complex with treatment rooms, a restaurant, various accommodations, fire pit and a community room. Several attempts had already been made to start the project when, in June 2017, Tomasa asked us to help her. At the beginning there was a lot of uncertainty for us. Was there land available? Were constructions plans made? And how much money would be needed?
Caroline and Coral already visited the Grandmothers in the summer of 2017 to see what was planned and Sophie and Hester visited them in January 2018. Gradually a much simpler but feasible plan emerged, building on a piece of private land adjacent to their own house (see 1st photo below). The Grandmothers set up a board for the construction of the hospital and our task was to raise as much money as possible. A befriended contractor on the spot took on the works and started building with volunteers.
In the summer of 2018 the Grandmothers travelled to Lothlorien again. They organized a week-long workshop and individual consultations and thanks to many other activities, together with a donation from the Friends of the Lothlorien Association, we were able to transfer a large starting amount to Guatemala in September.
After a beautiful ceremony in February, attended by Ron and Sophie on behalf of Lothlorien, construction started and by June 2019 the ground floor shell was finished. The current construction makes it possible to add a second floor as soon as more funds can be raised.
And we did raise more money during the summer of 2019. Various guests at Centre Lothlorien made a donation. Master story teller Willem de Ridder told fairy tales during camp fire, Lucas held interactive lectures and Fredy massaged. As a result of the sale of a beautiful collection of Guatemalan cloths and clothing, donated by Joke, we raised money. Through Jan and Henny, the NPB Ede, the local Protestant Church, made a wonderful donation, just like “Tiemanshof” senior housing. We also won €1000,- by signing up for the project “Light on Earth” of Moon Philippo. (https://www.lightonearth.net/project)
Thanks to all these donations we were able to send Grandmothers Tomasa and Poxita almost €6000,-. Surprisingly, in Guatemala they also received a donation from a German couple. The combined amounts made it possible to continue the build. Windows and doors were installed, tiled floors were laid and the outer wall was plastered.
An additional donation of more than €3000,- was made in June to help complete the finishing touches. We are so grateful that, together with all our guests, we were able to financially make “Grandmother Tomasa’s Dream” come true.
The help of those who visited the site at their own expense and Ron Hoopenhouwer for translating all the messages that went back and forth were indispensable. We are also grateful for the educational process. We were confronted with our Western way of thinking. We met our impatience and asked ourselves “Why don’t they start?” and “Why are they not continuing the build?”. Extensive gratitude ceremonies had to take place regularly at just the right time. We struggled with the vague answers to our repeated questions about how much money is still needed. Finally the answer came: “Give from your heart”.
For the Grandmothers this was a huge project. They had never done anything like it before. Fortunately, there was a lot of help locally from volunteers and a great contractor who built the centre voluntarily. The building is not completely finished, but inside it is possible for the Healing Centre to work.
Many, many thanks on behalf of Grandmothers Tomasa and Poxita for all the generous donations. And if you would like to donate, this is still very welcome. Please mail us and we will send you the bank details. Especially due to the Corona period, a lot of income came to a standstill. Grandmother Tomasa and Grandmother Poxita are currently only allowed to treat children in their Healing Centre. Do you want to meet the Grandmothers? They plan to travel to France in the summer of 2021. We expect them in August from the 8th until the 14th.