Just after Christmas 2015 Dennis Gulck decided, in keeping with sentiments of the season, to call into his local old folks’ home, Refugio Dulce, in Los Amates, Guatemala, and see how they were doing.
He was saddened by what he saw. They were sitting staring into space with nothing to do. Many were confined to their rooms because of a lack of wheelchairs and walking aids.
Dennis went out immediately and bought them a TV. Then he physically carried some of them out to the communal area so they could watch it. They were on their regular diet of beans, rice and tortillas so for New Year he bought in more festive fare for them.
There were other issues too, the main one being that Las Amates has a problem maintaining a continuous water supply. The home had a great well but no way of getting the water up from 80 feet down.
Dennis recruited help. He called around and Mike Rhea made Vine International aware of the lack of wheelchairs and walking aids and they have fitted all the residents out with appropriate aids which have made them more mobile and independent.
The residents of the Rio Dulce were alerted and they donated radios, fans, dominoes, playing cards, clothes, toiletries, and many other things. These were collated, sorted and delivered by Pass It On’s volunteers. The photos tell the story. The smiles are wonderful.
There was still the problem of water and the old folks weren’t always able to keep themselves clean. Dennis approached everyone he came across for funds to build a water tower and buy a pump and he talked a local builder into putting up the tower. The project should be completed any day.
Pass It On has made two visits so far and these are obviously enjoyed by the residents so we have become ‘Friends of Refugio Dulce’ and plan to keep the contact going for now. Dennis says that the difference in the attitudes and alertness of the old folk is remarkable.