Bob Rees' Trip to Guatemala Part 8

July 4, Independence Day

It is a blessing to be an American. Normally, I would take that to mean, “citizen of the United States,” but after my trip to Guatemala, I realize more keenly that citizens of Central and South America are also “Americans” and that we are all citizens of these linked continents.

While I was in Guatemala, a headline article in Prensa Libre reported that there are 1.3 million malnourished children in Guatemala ages 0-5 (about 10% of Guatemala’s population), and that of these 23,000 are at risk of dying within a very short time because they suffer from acute malnutrition. The article lists areas with the numbers of malnourished children and anticipated deaths. One of the areas is the last one we were in (Chúlac). Put in LDS terms, there's about 8,000 malnourished LDS kids in Guatemala, of whom about 160 or so are at risk of starving/dying immediately (or about 4 per stake or district). We've had some deaths reported this year in some of the stakes where we work.

A three-year-old who has the weight of a 6-month-old baby, is being treated at a health center for malnourished children. Guatemala has the highest rate of malnutrition in Latin America. (photo, Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald)

Clearly, children’s malnutrition is a critical problem. Not the only critical problem in the world to be sure, but, since it involves children who are unable to meet their own needs, one that requires the attention of individuals, governments, corporations, foundations, churches and other groups and organization. Any of you reading this report who would like to contribute to the Liahona Children’s Nutrition and Education Foundation can do so by going to our website: and clicking on “Donate” (upper right-hand corner). You can contribute via PayPal or by sending a check to the address on the site. Remember: just $50 pays for a year’s nutritional supplement for one child.

Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.