Hola from Dominican Republic, where we are currently conducting the second of our in-country projects. You will be able to see exactly what we have accomplished in Peru, where we wrapped up a project at the beginning of February, in Dominican Republic ,where we are currently working, and in Guatemala, where our electric project begins April 25.
We are resuming in person meetings for our annual gathering in May with much hope and anticipation that we may see many of your faces again, shake hands or offer hugs!
SAVE THE DATE of Saturday, May 27 for our 45th annual meeting. We wanted so much to make this year a celebratory year, but with the remnants of COVID still with us, we have postponed our big celebration for next year, with plans to "do it up big" .
Our semi-annual newsletter will give you more details of our meeting and we hope you will come to bid on our silent auction items that we have brought home from the Latin American countries.
As always, thanks for your support and we hope to see you in Guelph, in May!
Well, it's been over two years now since we had to shut down our projects here. Now we see the light. Here's what's been happening!
* sponsorship has been steady and we are SO fortunate to have our donors continue their support
* Zoom board meetings are "a thing" with our people
* our homes faired well with getting through the pandemic but as you can appreciate, not as well as we did.
* our projects are getting back on track for January 2023
* we had a succesful plant sale recently and some mini campaigns to boost funds for the homes
* we secured the services of a media manager which has boosted our presence online
In short, we made it through and are hoping to come back bigger and stronger to assist all children within our scope. Next year, we hope to have more projects, inperson meetings and fund raisers and our first in person AGM. This is especially important since our 45th Anniversary is presenting itself in 2024 and we hope to gather for something memorable as we celebrate this important milestone.
Thank you for keeping us in your periphery and continuing your support! Stop in and visit the office any time you find yourself in Guelph!
What an exciting fall for me as I was able to reconnect with our Nicaragua and Mexico homes in person! Now the work has taken a different slant and I am working at home. Sometimes, when the weather permits, I can venture into the Guelph office to ideate with my collegues other new and brilliant ways to support our homes, who are still reeling from this global situation.
Christmas is three weeks away and amid all the prep and firng up, the rush is on. The winter newsletter is out, we have begun to dip our toes into the possibility of stepping into NPH countries in January of 2023, so we are waking up the national directors to see if they are interested in having the Canadians return, all things in place, by next winter.
I know that the office staff is thrilled that our very wonderful sponsors are feverishly writing to their children at this time with seasons' greetings and I, like all of our sponsors have received the Christmas cards so lovingly fashioned by the godchildren from each home. If you have not yet received yours, they are in the mail this week.
I have also had an opportunity to peruse through the homes' "wish lists" which are available in a centralized location on the internet. Each home submits these lists to be seen by the fund raising offices around the world to specify which projects need financial backing and support for the fiscal year.
For example, there is a project in Nicaragua for funding of university students trying to finish their selected programs, an urgent surgery required for a young man with Pulmonary-Renal Syndrome in Mexico, a request for new bunk beds and cribs for children in Peru and a new tortilla machine desperately needed in Guatemala. (I've seen those kids eat this staple food and believe me, these machines which spit out 80 kilos of tortillas a day can't afford to break down!) The cost for these dozens of projects ranges from $1,000 to $500,000. The variety is astounding and daunting. For the most part, all projects depend upon funding from international sources.
At Christmas time we are always grateful to those who consistently support these homes through their donations to FOTOCAN. We also want to make our youth aware of the need and so I ask that you consider mentioning our little charity to your children and grandchildren. It always warms my heart when young people from Canada meet up with youth in our homes, through our in-country projects or correspondence by letter or social media.
So, Merry Christmas and Happy New 2022 Year! May you and yours gather safely in the warmth and comfort of each other and enjoy the peace and cheer of the season!
Feliz Navidad and Joyeau Noel!
September 22, 2021
Three days after attending our godson's wedding, we return to Casa Padre Wasson to finish our work here. We will meet with Marlon regarding the future of Canadian projects in Nicaragua and will be looking into repairing or purchasing two large speakers for the church.
Since we have returned, there has been progress with administering the vaccine in this country. Now, persons 35 and older are able to receive their first innoculation and Evita has gone to her pueblo to line up for her turn. She left this morning at 11:00; she is scheduled to receive the vaccine at 1:00 tomorrow morning; we have no idea when she will return.
Update: Despite waiting in line for more than 12 hours, Evita did NOT get her first shot. There were 4000 people, lined up for 2000 doses. A small bus of NPH employees, including Evita, are heading to Managua to try again.
As I record the day's activities, the most striking observation is that this home for children has no children. There are less than 15 year of service young adults and a few workers. No one is at school on site.
Teachers are writing guias (guides) which are lesson plans for each student in their classes. The only students on site are those in their final year of study before university (quintos) as these students will need to write entrance exams in the coming months. Guias not delivered electronically are hand deliverd by three of the NPH staff.
Every day in late afternoon, there is a church service comprised of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Liturgy of the Word. Miguel presides over this with Marianne, Rosa and Miriam providing music. Peter has accompanied on the bass guitar. Marlon delivers an uplifting speech after the service is over and today will be the first one since last Friday, as a majority of the NPH staff has been attending a religious retreat on the island for the past three days. His words always inspire hope and fortitude.
I had also offered to assist any staff with translation to or from English. Maudiel, the sponsorship coordinator, took me up on the offer and I spent one full day translating letters of the children to their sponsors (One Family program). It was both heartbreaking and joyous to hear from each child, many of them known to us, writing about their new surroundings and environment since leaving the home in September 2020. Some are thriving, many are not. Some write about their families, how they are coping in school, trying new adventures, tragedies that have changed their lives. If you are reading this, perhaps you can find some time in your day to reach out to your sponsored child(ren), in Nicaragua or in any of the other homes to encourage these youngsters to persevere. They find so much encouragement in these letters and they hold onto them for years. Each letter is guaranteed delivery no matter where they currently reside within the country.
Peter and I have five days remaining here. We have yet to visit Tio Antonio at Cafe Sonrises in Granada. We are hoping that new country coordinator, Mark Robinson, will soon be able to bring teams to work and visit as soon as February 2022. We will keep you posted! Thanks for reading!
Inside the clinic door, one is greeted by the protocols listed during Covid.
All on site continue to wear masks and sanitize hands inside the buildings and outside for some.
Once alive with sounds of many pequeñas, the girls' houses and the planter/rotundas sit bare and empty except for three houses, one filled for the handful of year of service boys.
Mattresses from the kindergarten room air out as the tias clean all surfaces and items within each area. This is the house that was set up by the last Canadian team to visit before COVID.
Today, the head farmers and hired help assist in the harvest of sesame plants. Mincho, Saul and Benjamin also oversee the trimming of tree branches and grasses.
Computer rooms and playground equipment sit abandoned after the school is closed for the remainder of the school year (February-October) because of rising cases of illnesses.
September 14, 2021
It has been 18 months since Canadians in person last served the home in Nicaragua at Casa Padre Wasson.
On September 7, my husband Peter and I landed in Managua via Panama City to attend the wedding of our godson, Jimmy Garcia, on September 18. Preparations for this visit began months ago, when the quarantine period for Canadians coming in from abroad was lifted and we proved a negative test for COVID through a PCR/NAAT screening for 72 hours before our arrival in Managua.
The situation here is complex. Children younger than 18 years were removed from the home and dispersed among family members around the country willing to take them in, orders of a new government policy brought down one year ago this week. The remaining dwellers of the home are a limited staff of caregivers, office workers and students giving their year of service. Most "casas" are empty but the school functions daily with students coming on site for academic classes as well as technical studies. Today, the children only come to school for the Independence Day march. The remainder of the week is a holiday, but when classes begin again is undetermined as six teachers are out sick and suspected of having COVID.
Only four people on site are fully vaccinated. Two of them are my husband and I.
Everyone wears a mask (inside or outside). Our rented car is sprayed down at the control gate. Hand sanitizer (alcol) is everywhere, even when we gather in the church, one person sitting at each end of the pew. Marlon Velasquez, the national director makes sure to dose each set of hands with enough spray to suffice.
While it is a blessing to see "familia" again, it is disheartening to see the emptiness and the fear that permeates the one-time child-filled area.
There is hope- always hope. And we are here to assist in determining what the future will look like for our Canadian teams, here and in all the countries of NPH.
Your prayers, donations, attention is welcomed, needed and appreciated in the past, present and in times to come.