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I'm sure everyone will be happy to see 2020 disappear! Only 32 days left and we are staring at the distribution of a vaccine soon. Family gatherings will be pared down with the second wave surge. This has been and will be a year we will look back on with mixed emotions.

 

In our NPH homes throughout Latin America, 2020 has been more than just COVID - natural disasters and severe depletion of funds which was predicted before the pandemic hit!

 

Our newest campaign launches tomorrow, Giving Tuesday, December 1, and we are asking for donations so these kids can have the basic necessities for Christmas - not presents- bare necessities in some cases. 

 

For $21.00 - one time donation

 

Other ways you can help?

Sponsor a child for $35.00  a month - 100% to the child and a tax receipt

Perhaps a legacy donation.....

Maybe you can't spend for a child or grandchild - consider an amount on behalf of that child!

 

We sure do appreciate all we have and if we can reach out to those who may not be as lucky.....maybe Christmas  2020 and the dying days of an infamous year will not be so bad afterall!

 

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After a very relaxing and exhilarating weekend with my grandchildren (first time since March) I am back to work updating after a board meeting last night. How lucky I am to be blessed with health, family and a life taken for granted until this pandemic event. I am fearful however for my Latam families. Not so lucky. Living in hope, yet not knowing what the next day will bring.  We have tried to bridge the destitution with money sporadically sent to individuals and homes in general, personal funds and charity funds to assist. Not enough. Never enough. We continue to count our blessings and try to imagine what is happening thousands of miles away. 

 

Our summer students are actively working to make more people aware of what we do and how we help. They are reaching out to all ages of North Americans to ask for some small assistance with our efforts. If you are able, please find it in your heart to send something to FOTOCAN for these children - a letter, a card, and more urgently a monetary donation of any amount. We thank you for your support in the past and so appreciate your consideration for the children's future. 

 

May you and yours be blessed and remain safe in this brand new time in all our lives.

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I was seriously hoping that this blog would be all about my wonderful six month adventure in Mexico teaching English at the bachillerato in Cuernavaca. Alas, it will not. But my adventure did last 3 months and I loved every minute of it! Just as I was to leave to assist in running a student team to Nicaragua, like, 24 hours before departure, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic and I discovered that El Salvador, where we were supposed to cathch the last leg of our flight, had closed its airport to international arrivals. 

 

Do you know how difficult it is to feel the sadness of 26 students who have just had their dreams dashed in an instant? Devestating! Unexplicable! But that was March - and April, and May, but now we are coming into June. The Northern hemisphere has reached the other side of the COVID mountain and now the South is raising and/or maintaining the "flat curve". 

 

I must admit, though, I have not really suffered in this lock down. In fact, I've relished my time alone and have tried to fill my time with projects toward which I  have not been able to give my attention. I watched a lot of documentaries and my share of Netflix and lived a pretty good quarantine existance. I've been keeping up with the NPH gang from mainly Mexico and Nicaragua and I am now worried that although all our children are safe now, the virus is threatening to rage outside. 

 

Add to this mix the recent events of the US where the death of George Lloyd has sparked another round of racial tensions, perhaps the highest in history. 

 

So FEAR looms everywhere......

 

I have discovered meditation and prayer. I follow the scientific teachings of an American doctor named Joe Dispenza who teaches his students to change their lives by finding the divine in themselves. His latest meditation stategy involves meditating as a committee with a meditation he has created called GOLOV-20  (obvious play on words in the title) . With this meditation, I keep calm, positive, motivated and hopeful that things that will obviously change, will do so for the better; in all societies. There has been enough fear - it's time for love.

 

So although it may be awhile before I get to physically see NPH homes again, life continues. The graduation ceremony for the NPH Mexico home will be held in August instead of July, FOTOCAN board members will continue to meet to discuss a new direction, we may see another wave or two of COVID, and I will continue with GOLOV, including an intention for our donors who have continued to support us in any way during this time.....God bless!

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STATS ABOUT HAITI EARTHQUAKE

7.0 Mw earthquake - 25 kilometers (16 mi) west of Port-au-Prince - occurred at 16:53 local time
3,500,000 people were affected by the quake
Between 200,000 to 316,000 people estimated to have died
300,000+ people were injured
Over 188,383 houses were badly damaged and 105,000 were destroyed by the earthquake (293,383 in total), 1.5m people became homeless
After the quake there were 19 million cubic meters of rubble and debris in Port au Prince – enough to fill a line of shipping containers stretching end to end from London to Beirut.
4,000 schools were damaged or destroyed
25% of civil servants in Port au Prince died
60% of Government and administrative buildings, 80% of schools in Port-au-Prince and 60% of schools in the South and West Departments were destroyed or damaged
Over 600,000 people left their home area in Port-au-Prince and mostly stayed with host families
At its peak, one and a half million people were living in camps including over 100,000 at critical risk from storms and flooding

Sources - https://www.dec.org.uk/articles/haiti-earthquake-facts-and-figures - Death toll range not highlighted in link. This has been found through researching. 

Cholera statistics
Nearly 800,000 Haitians have been infected by cholera, and more than 9,000 have died, according to the United Nations (UN). 
Dead - Haiti 9,568 dead (28 Dec 2017) Dominican Republic 503 dead (28 Dec 2017) – WHO

Response in Dollars:
US$7.9 billion in damages and losses – 120% of Haiti’s GDP – World Bank (Source:  http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/713831468249648968/pdf/915980BRI0Box300Haiti0201000Public0.pdf) 
$13.34 billion: Aid allocated by international agencies for 2010-2020, according to the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti (Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/12/world/haiti-earthquake-fast-facts/index.html LAST UPDATED December 2018)

Effect on Foreigners
102: Death toll of UN personnel
122: Americans confirmed dead
(Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/12/world/haiti-earthquake-fast-facts/index.html LAST UPDATED December 2018) 

Information about Education in Haiti:
50 percent of children do not attend school. (World Bank 2013)
Approximately 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade; 60% will abandon school before sixth grade. (UNICEF 2008)
Only 29 percent of Haitians 25 and above attended secondary school. (USAID 2015)
Almost 80 percent of teachers have not received any pre-service training. (USAID 2015)
Half of public sector teachers in Haiti lack basic qualifications. (USAID 2015)
90% of primary schools are non-public and managed by communities, religious organizations or NGOs. (USAID 2007)
Haiti’s literacy rate is 61% – 64% for males and 57% for females. (CIA Factbook Nov 2015) The average literacy rate for Latin American and Caribbean developing countries is 92%. (World Bank 2015)
Compiled by: https://haitipartners.org/haiti-statistics/

Information about Health in Haiti:
Life expectancy is 63 years. (World Bank 2013)
30% of the population is considered food insecure. (World Food Programme 2015)
Infant mortality: 55 per 1000 births (UNICEF 2015)
59 per 1,000 born in Haiti die before reaching their first birthday (Ministry of Health 2012)
Under five mortality rate: 88 per 1000 live births (Ministry of Health 2012)
“An estimated 1 in 285 births will result in a woman’s death, a ratio about 16 times higher than in the United States.” (Partners in Health 2014)
Prevalence of stunting (moderate to severe) is 22%. (UNICEF 2015)
Compiled by: https://haitipartners.org/haiti-statistics/ 

 

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Happy 2020 everyone! As we leave one decade and enter another, we are reminded of the importance of standing together in moments of crisis. Just like 10 years ago when the world woke up to hear of a powerful earthquake which destroyed a great portion of Haiti. Many around the world came together in support of Haiti.

 

Today, we know the situation has not improved much with many other factors hindering the progress of this poor nation. Indeed not just the NPH Haiti home, but all of the nine homes of Nuestros Pequeñose Hermanos are suffering through two years of weakened funds provided for them. Budgets are decreasing, jobs are lost, children lose services. If we can see it in our hearts to give a little extra to Haiti or any of these homes, the children of the future will certainly appreciate it. 

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As the long-regarded traditional holiday approaches and the forecast for my area is SNOW for the "evening of eeries", I am frantically trying to organize the three projects for our return to Nicaragua next year. I'm a little out of practice because following the political unrest of 2018, I had no student teams travelling to Nicaragua.

 

The "trick" is for me to have everything ready for our farm team in February (we are still recruiting members despite the November 15 deadline) and our student team in March, AND assisting my co-director Steve with his college and university team in May!  My husband along with farm team leader, Andy are off to Nicaragua on November 1 to scope out the job and activities for the winter teams.  Hopefully we will have all the info we need to get things underway!

 

The "treat" is that I get to see my Nica family again after a two year absence. I'm sure lots has changed and lots needs to be caught up, but to be able to accompany some of the students who were so disappointed when we had to pull out of Nica 19, is a welcome and anticipated pleasure. 

 

Alas, I am not participating in any Halloween fun - the community I live in does not celebrate Halloween and my children are too old to go out. But I am looking forward to "knocking on the door" of the NPH Nicaragua home and seeing all the children and how they have grown since last I saw them. I can't wait to put my arms around my godchildren, Yuri and Jimmy. One hundred days to go!

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Donna Mair was a force to be reckoned with. She was tough, fierce and incredibly human. She lost her short battle with cancer on May 15, too soon after she was diagnosed. If Donna was in the room, Cathy was not far behind. The two were blood buddies - did most things together and they were funny! I mean, they could have been a comedic team! 

 

I first met Donna through FOTOCAN when she - and Cathy - signed up for the medical team in Dominican Republic. I was not able to go with them, but my husband did and I heard about all the antics. They managed to complete projects in the DR, Nicaragua and became our country coordinators for the Bolivia home, which they truly adored.

 

Donna was a mom, a grandmother, a tia, a dear friend and a colleague. 

I know I speak for our board members when I say we will miss her terribly; the amazing crochet work she made, the smoking breaks in the middle of a meeting, the dry, deadpan face when she cracked a joke, the straight woman for Cathy's jokes. I know the children and staff at the homes she visited miss her already. She impacted the hearts of many. Thanks for the memories, Donna........​

 

 

 

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Last Saturday, fifty persons spent the day getting reacquainted and reliving experiences of the past winter (and fall) working on projects sponsored by FOTOCAN. A wonderful meal of Mexican food was enjoyed by all and we offered more wares from around the world for our silent auction. This is more or less our "wrap up" for the project season and we are already looking into projects for next year. It looks like we have possibilities in Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua (after a year's hiatus) and Peru. Our pilot project in South Africa last September was a success and we are hoping to offer another experience in the fall of 2020.

 

Our sponsorship is holding steady and we are moving toward providing electronic newsletters for our tech-savvy supporters and we are launching a coorporate sponsorship campaign soon via telephone. 

 

We welcomed two new board members and new volunteers in our Guelph office. The office was also given a fresh coat of paint and breightened up with a glass etching of our logo donated by Central Canadian Glass Company! 

 

Happy summer to all and please consider a journey for a project in the new year!

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February has come and gone with its snowy, blowy winds and bitter cold. Teams working at our homes  are returning from the sunny south.

 

I was privileged to accompany the Our Lady of Lourdes High School team to Dominican Republic. This group of 25 students and 3 chaperones was wonderful to work with in every way. Their school was excellently represented and they were exemplary ambassadors for FOTOCAN.

 

I was also in Mexico to scout for future teams to assist in the homes in Miacatlan and Cuernavaca with five of our seasoned project participants. We had a blast joining in the activities with the pequeños in various places around the home. We are hoping to have some projects ready for a team of 12-15 people next winter to work at the birth home of NPH.

 

The accomplishments of all of our projects will be revealed at our annual general meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 4. Details appear here on the web site and in the spring newsletter which will soon be delivered to our membership.

 

Hope to see you all there! It promises to be rewarding in every way! Bring a friend or two!

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SO... we're well into January, past  "Blue Monday" and FOTOCAN will begin its projects this weekend!

Peru, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico will be hosting Canadian student and adult teams. All teams are reportedly FULL!

  I will be departing for DR on Saturday and then straight to Mexico, FOTOCAN's first project in that country, on February 5. Hopefully, we can have some bloggers from each country to let you know what and how we are doing.  

  Now with some real snow and winter approaching, you can vicariously enjoy the warm sunshine and adventures of our team members. 

  Thank you for all contributions for 2018 and we hope you will continue support for all our endeavours to come.........

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Thank you for your kindness, dear volunteers!