Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Ruth and I will start things off...

Next week our group will be staying for most of the week at the Hogar Infantil orphanage in Ocozocuatla, Chiapas, Mexico.

For Ruth and I, this will be our fourth or fifth visit to the orphanage and we are looking forward to showing the rest of the group why this is such a special place.

Please, continue reading right to the end...

We are not big on charitable giving. Mostly because you never know exactly how much of your money is going towards helping the actual cause, and how much is going towards administration and charitable advertising and other expenses. Or, how much is either wasted or going into somebody's pocket.

But having spent time at this place, we are convinced that they are doing a lot of good... actual meaningful change for the better.

And, the last time we did this fundraising venture, we knew EXACTLY how much of your donated funds went directly to improve the lives of the kids in the facility.


Two years ago when we did this, we collected about 43,000 pesos ($3,000 CAD, $2,300 USD in today's dollars) and that presented some logistical spending problems because we were only there for two days. But, we did it! This year, we will have more time so it should be a little easier.

Also, we had some people last time who said that we didn't leave enough time for them to donate. This year, we are giving you a full week... donations will close on Thursday February 20th.

Ruth and I will start things off by committing to a $200 CAD personal donation.

Last time we did this, we had donations ranging from $5 to $1,000 dollars. In other words, every donation counts! Do not feel that yours is too small... they all add up. On the other hand, larger donations will be very gratefully accepted.

There are two ways to donate... the first and probably easiest for most is Paypal. You can donate to a "pool" that I created. Simply click the link and donate..

Donate via Paypal

But Paypal doesn't give the best foreign exchange rates and so they will keep a small percentage of your donation to cover the transaction.

Better is to open a Transferwise account and do it that way... it's a bit of a pain to get set up, but ultimately more of your money will go to help the kids rather than the unfavorable foreign exchange fees that Paypal charges.

Donate via Transferwise

A third way only for Canadians is to simply send me an e-transfer to [email protected]

When donations are closed, we will hold meetings with the local directors... the ones who actually look after the kids, and we will decide what the priorities are and how the money should be spent. Then, we will show you photos of us spending the funds and buying what they need. The last time, major expenditures were two new refrigerators and a new washing machine. But there was a ton of small items to purchase as well.

Read more about Hogar Infantil...

The ranch (a misnomer) is located on about 15 hectares (37 acres) just outside the town of Ocozocautla, Chiapas which is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capitol city of Tuxtla Gutierrez on the Pan American highway. Local people call the town Coita for short.

The campus consist of dormitories for boys and girls, a main building with commercial kitchen and dining hall, a domed patio for recreation and events, offices, library, computer room (with wireless Internet), and a small clinic. There is a house for the directors and two cabañas one of which serves as a guest house. Most importantly, there is a small chapel in the center of the complex. We also have a basketball court, soccer field, laundry sinks, sewing cooperative, and shops. Agriculture occupies most of the property as there is a large milpa that produces corn and peanuts. Sheep, swine, and free range chickens provide much of the food on the table plus provides some income. We even make our own tortillas.

Children come to Hogar from various sources. Sometimes they are brought by DIF, Mexico’s federal child protective services, or local authorities. Others are brought by a destitute parent or other family member. Others who are abandoned or street kids find Hogar on their own. Often they are abused emotionally and physically, malnourished, and lacking in Spanish language skills as much of Chiapas’ population is indigenous. Over forty dialects are spoken.

Hogar Infantil operates to meet the needs of these children physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Physical needs of a safe clean living environment, nutritious food, medical and dental care, and recreation are provided to each of Hogar’s children. Spiritual needs are met with Bible study and weekly Anglican masses in the chapel. Children are also encouraged to attend a local church of their choice. Many are baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church, others choose a Protestant place of worship. Due to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, many of the children suffer emotionally. Recovery is often slow, but with psychological counsel and love, progress is made. Hogar’s sense of community is a large factor in overcoming a bad past. Living among understanding peers who know one’s suffering is therapeutic.

Education is essential to fulfill Hogar Infantil’s vision of equipping each child with the necessary tools to become healthy, independent, and productive citizens thus breaking the cycle of poverty. All of the children are required to attend and succeed in school. They are supported financially in local government provided schools from primary and secondary to a preparatory school that readies them for higher education or a trade school. As funding allows, tuition assistance is also given to students who have the ability and desire for higher education in a university or trade school. Many of Hogar’s egresados (graduates) are now sending their children to universities. The cycle of poverty has been broken.

With the exception of all but Hogar’s smallest children chores are a constant and regular part of life for all the Hogar family. Pigs have to be fed and pens cleaned. Dishes washed and floors mopped. Eggs gathered and hens fed. Care must be given to the very young. Maintenance of the infrastructure is required. Vehicles cleaned and maintained. Even helping in the office with administration. The list is endless, but Hogar’s kids working individually or in groups do it all. No small benefit is the learning of skills to be useful in the future. Idle time is a growing person’s enemy, but Hogar’s children still have time for games, play, and sports.

Aside from all the work the children do there is a salaried staff for adult work. In addition from the directors, there are cooks who work in a morning/evening shift, coordinadores (house parents) in charge of each group of children, and a bus/van driver. At times we employ a night watchman and an office worker.


  1. Hi Kevin and Ruth. Just read your new report on Hogar Infantile and it is a great summary indeed. It is great of you all to get involved and support this cause. I'll send you an e-transfer today. Note it will be from my business email, [email protected]
    It would be very good soul work to help out with that establishment, especially now that you have been doing this for a few years. What a GREAT idea!!! I hope you raise more that last year. Thank you for letting people know!!
    Rob Filliol

    1. Thank you very much Rob, we really appreciate the donation and are looking forward to showing all our donors where and how the money got spent. The orphanage will really enjoy all the items that we will buy for them. :-)

  2. Good cause. Coincidentally tomorrow evening we're going to a fundraiser for an orphanage in Guaymas.

    1. We think that it is as well! :-)

      Enjoy the fundraiser you are headed too, I am sure you will have a wonderful time.

  3. Trying to donate using transferwise. I am at the part where it asks business or personal and I need an email/name/address/etc. Am I on the right track?

    1. Yep, you're on the right track. Choose private. And I think you need my name and email. Kevin Read at [email protected]. Transferwise is very user friendly and you can contact them by phone.

  4. I donated via Paypal. Transferwise was asking to much information regarding your address/bank?. Bless you guys for helping these precious children.

    1. Thanks Jana. Transferwise is like opening an international bank account, so yes they need all of your details. Like I said, it's a little more complicated, but more of your money goes in the right direction. Again, thanks for your donation!

  5. I had a difficult time getting this to work via PayPal. The process did not work for me on FireFox or Edge. I finally tried Chrome and it worked. It might have been easier to simply send the money to your PayPal email address. I know this would have messed up the tracking but when it became a problem to donate I almost gave up. Thanks for supporting such a great cause!

    1. Thanks for your donation, and thanks for sticking with it! Nobody else has mentioned a problem, but certainly if anybody else has an issue you can simply paypal to [email protected]


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