Juana & Family – Their Story…

Hello Friends of Pimpollo Supporters!

Below is an article that John has written about Juana and her family. It’s definitely a story worth reading. This family has gone through so much & we’re trying to help them get back on their feet. They receive a bi-monthly donation from Friends of Pimpollo, supported by wonderful donors like you. They use it for Ana Judit’s University tuition & fees; school clothes and shoes for Manuelito, Johanna, and Nayeli; and food for the whole family.

Juana & Family… And a few gringos…

I am excited to introduce you to this very special group of people!

The pretty lady in pink is  Juana, the teenage girl on the left in a darker shade of pink is  Nayeli, and the beautiful little girl in the photo on the right with her brother  Manuelito, is  Johanna.   They are Juanas kids and they are super cute, lively and affectionate.   Many of you know them.   They have been the subjects of some fabulous Mike Foland photography.

We are pictured in their home…one room…want to see the kitchen?   You are in it.   Forget walk in closets…want to see the bedroom?   You are in it.   Want to see the bathrooms?   The bathrooms are outside and shared by all those occupying one room homes in this complex.    Juanas house…or room…no, it is a  home full of love…is a happy place but it is difficult living.

More difficult than it was because Manuel,  Juanas husband, and the kids loving father, was killed in an auto accident last summer, shortly after Madre died.

Yet it remains a happy place.   The bed seconds as a trampoline for Manuelito who needs some outlet for his abundant energy in this one room home.

Although Manuel didnt have permanent work he did manage to do various jobs to keep things together and they were ok.    Juana, who grew up at Pimpollo, took care of the kids and worked at Pimpollo for very little pay.   She was not prepared to lose Manuel.   Now  Juana  sells dried fish and her sister Juli is helping her to develop this micro business.    Juana  goes to the market and buys the fish and then out to the highway and tries to sell it.   If she doesnt sell enough fish in a week they can go to Pimpollo for a meal or two and hope to sell more fish the coming week.   It is very scary for  Juana  and when I have talked with her about her situation she cries.   It is as simple as this…no education…a sweet nice lady but no skills to speak of…no failsafe in Juchitan…no money at all…cannot find a job…three beautiful kids that she loves dearly…and a very uncertain future.   I cry too when she tells me about her situation.   It is tough going.

Her younger sister is Julita, or Juli, who grew up at Pimpollo with her.   She is the same Juli we have been so proud of.   Juli went on to the university at Tuxtla, Chiapas in our program, was one of our first graduates and she returned to help direct Pimpollo after Madre Estella died.   Juli was a special gift from God at this very difficult time for Pimpollo.

(Go back to the photo above now.   Ana Judith is the girl in the black top, Juli is the one standing on Juans right (she is in periwinkle blue) and on Juans left is super team member Sue Castor in white).

But Julis brother in law Manuel died, leaving her sister  Juana  and her kids in such a dire situation that Juli was forced to leave Pimpollo and get a job that paid more money so they could all eat.   Now she is working in administration at a local university and is helping  Juana  set up her business selling fish.

Juli rented a one-room home in the same complex and lives there with Ana Judith, the sister of her boyfriend Marcos.   Marcos is an ex-Pimpollo and a very special guy.   Last summer he also graduated from the university in Chiapas with a degree in Natural Medicine but he is spending a year volunteering for the government as part of his education and is in Tuxtla, Chiapas.   He will return to Juchitan to be with Juli and set up practice in six months or so and that will be a great help to this family.

Ana Judith is just a wonderful kid and is attending a university in Juchitan.   She is studying English and we email frequently and she signs her emails œBest friend forever, Ana Judith.    How cute is that!   Her grade point average, converted to our 4.0 system, is 3.6.

My friend Monica Robinson, Ana Judith and I visited her mom at the small dairy where Judiths mom works just outside of Oaxaca.   Her mom, a cute humble little lady was surprised to see her daughter and these two gringos.   So they presented us a very special drink…whole milk straight from the cows whatever…warm with yellow globules floating around.   I knew Monica had been raised on a dairy farm so I thought it was no problem for her but it was a big problem for me.   Warm milk with yellow globules was a big problem for me.   But come to find out it was even more difficult for Monica but we got it down somehow and didnt embarrass sweet Ana Judith.   I think this is where the œbest friends forever  was earned.

Juli has been paying for everything for all of them but it is getting to be more than she can do.   It isnt like supporting Ana Judith and  Juana  and family was keeping her from buying a car or a computer!   She just doesnt have enough money to pay for everyones basic needs like food.

So here is what we want to do:

We want to find sponsors to support  Juana  and kids and Ana Judith to the tune of $150.00 per month.   Can you help us?   We already have $35.00 per month donated so we need $115.00 per month more.   The agreement is to keep Nayeli, Johanna, Manuelito and Ana Judith in school and we keep sending the money.   We require the kids to send us periodic emails and report their progress.   We send the money to Juli and she sends us a financial report detailing how the money was spent and monitors everything.   We communicate frequently by email.   It could be that more money is needed later but this is where we are starting and they are very grateful and thankful!

I feel very close to  Juana  and let me tell you why.   One spring 7-8 years ago I was at Pimpollo by myself.   The kids had pink eye…lots of them!   But no adults had it except for one…ya you guessed it.   I got pink eye at about 62 years of age.   It hurt!   I could hardly operate outside in the blazing Juchitan late spring sunshine.   There was some potion the kids were using in their eyes but that was too painful for gringos.   I dont remember what they called that horrible stuff but it hurt.   So I went to the pharmacy and they gave me chloramphenicol.   Later my ophthalmologist buddy Andy Harris informed me that we quit using that in the US years ago because of toxicity.   Great.

So I am about three days into it and it doesnt seem to be getting much better.   I dont know why they call it pink eye instead of red eye because all the white parts of my eyes were very red.

The next day I am at Pimpollo talking to Madre and she said œJuan, your eyes look terrible.   Sit down here in my chair and I will be right back.    Madre came back with a little vial of what appeared to be a lotion of some kind.   She applied it to my eyelids and around my eyes and dropped a few drops in my eyes and it was pretty soothing.

How does it feel Juan? 

Better Madre.   Thank you.   That was soothing and they feel better. 

OK Juan.   Tomorrow we can do this again.    And she said with her cute grin that I would call the mischievous Madre grin, It is good to know, Juan, that  mothers milk is good for many things! 

Oh Madre!   Mothers milk?   I think I know what that means. The only mom with a tiny baby at Pimpollo at that time was  Juana  with Manuelito and that is how I developed my extra special relationship with  Juana  and family.

We will visit the family again in November and make adjustments to our agreements as necessary.   Maybe you can help with this and go meet them on our November trip!   I guarantee you will fall in love with this group and I dont think you will have to go through pink eye and mothers milk to do it!!!

God bless you all and God bless  Juana  and family, Juli and Marcos, and Ana Judith!

Call me or email me if you have any questions.


(503) 881-0931


If you’re interested in helping us support them with a sponsorship or a one-time donation, please contact marina@friendsofpimpollo.org & we can set up a one-time donation/sponsorship schedule in whichever way it is easiest for you.