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September 18, Port au Prince, Haiti

“Dear friends and supporters,

Two nights ago, as the long day was finally winding own, a few of us went to Cité Soleil to have a look at the progress of the house we are building, and to try to solve some related problems.

We stopped by our St Mary’s hospital to visit there, and right away a motorcycle raced up to us with three men on it, the man in the middle flopping to the side and near dead.

I knew right away it was cholera. I knew right away I just needed I few IV needles, and a half dozen liters of IV fluid to save his life.

With difficulty I was able to get a catheter into each arm, while Amaral, Fr. Enzo, Wisley and Murat took turns squeezing the IV bags in order to make the fastest entry of the fluid into this man, who was minutes away from shock and death.

While I worked, I made small talk with his brother who had held him up on the motorcycle, small talk with the half conscious man who had cholera, and small talk with myself, in order to keep everyone, including me, clam and hopeful.

I knew if he died, many dreams would die with him; for him, his children and his family.

I kept my fingers on his pulse as the boys squeezed the bags. I warmed him with sheets against his shivering, and prayed quietly.

A little at a time, first a faint, then an intermediate, then a strong pulse told my fingers he would be OK.

I am always amazed at how little it takes to help, how high the impact of that help is, and how often dreams that are about to shatter come to full sail again with the beautiful gust of the wind of hope.

Our school year has just started, as has yours. We have some 15,000 students.  They have young minds and young hearts, they are eager to learn,  and eager to apply their talents toward rebuilding their country.

I love their pride and enthusiasm, and their endangered innocence.

Like all children everywhere, they deserve to spend these tender, and then less tender years learning and growing, instead of carrying water and wood and begging for something to eat. 

My heart breaks for our less abled students. They are not a few. Walking, thinking, talking, and learning require Herculean effort on their parts. I feel a sorrow for them, yet  they don’t seem to feel it for themselves. I guess my sorrow is that of someone who knows how difficult life is already, even if you have no disabilities,  and I can’t imagine how they will meet the many challenges of life. I know not every dream can be fulfilled and not every storm can be weathered.

Yet they make their way to their programs every day, strong and determined, sharing their smiles and embraces – what is most essential in life is already theirs!

Speaking of school, I am also a student, though not a young one, and not just September to June.

Lately I have been reading a lot about the claim that bad is stronger than good. I am convinced now that it is true. Bad is stronger than good.

The main point is that the bad is much more damaging to a person than the good is healing. You should read about it. On the internet look up the topic of bad being stronger than good.

It does not mean bad wins. It means a bad thing has to be offset with 100 good things in order to heal and help someone thrive and grow.

We are all shocked at the beheadings done by ISIS in the past months. An email from some Catholic sisters in Iraq yesterday claim that even children are being beheaded. This is distressful beyond words.

Yet I am reminded of when Jesus learned of a beheading. It was his own cousin, John. When he learned of it, he went apart in solitude, grief and prayer, and when he emerged he fed 5000 hungry people with a few pieces of bread. Jesus is showing us that in the face of badness we have to multiply goodness. In the face of wickedness we have to multiply goodness to exponential powers.

This is, in a nutshell, what we are trying to do in our vast work in Haiti. We are trying to offset the bad effects of poverty, corruption, and tragedy with thousands of positive activities every day, trying to preserve hope, which is the prime matter of dreams.

We have what money cannot buy. We care, we want to help, our hearts are in it. We have faith, we live the strength of solidarity, and there are many of us.  But for sure without money, classroom seats disappear,  food distributions decline, hospital beds stay empty, the hammers building homes and neighborhoods become silent, the life of the disabled becomes harder, the destitute dead don’t get buried, the victim of cholera does not survive, and the weavers of dreams lose their stamina.

It is not usual this time of the year for us to have a financial slump. Last year my 60thbirthday, and the many donations sent for the occasion, carried us through it. I am afraid 61 is not as big a deal!

If you have any means to help us as the school year begins, please do remember us. We are still willing and able to help. In fact we love to be able to help.

Lets offset the bad around us with thousands of life giving, dream fulfilling acts of goodness.

Thanks very much for your support and prayers. Count on mine!

God bless “

Fr Rick Frechette CP DO

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As the issue of unaccompanied minors emigrating from Central America to the U.S. remains in the international spotlight, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) Guatemala received California’s 44th Leal de Pérez last week.

NPH provides a permanent family and home for over 3,300 orphaned, abandoned and at-risk children in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. As the U.S. continues to mitigate the humanitarian crisis of undocumented and unaccompanied minors fleeing Central American countries, Representative Hahn toured the NPH home to observe what viable deterrents exist at the local level.
Rep. Hahn, who co-chaired this year’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., was in Guatemala to deliver the keynote address at Guatemalan’s 2nd attendance were Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, former Governor of South Carolina David Beasley, and high-level actors of Guatemalan government, telecommunications firms and national banks, along with NPH representatives.

The best way to help the less fortunate is to soften the hearts and strengthen the minds of their leaders,” said the congresswoman, shortly after announcing to the room of invitees that she would soon visit the children of NPH Guatemala.
Before the Congresswoman’s Friday visit to the NPH home, NPH Guatemala’s National Director Christopher Hoyt met privately with Guatemalan First Lady Rosa Leal de Pérez, Rep. Hahn, Interim Ambassador to Guatemala Charisse Phillips, Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez, and NPH supporter, Lisa Rossi. They discussed strategies to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis and fortify collaboration between NPH Guatemala and the agency of social welfare, which the First
Lady oversees.
Following their meetings, National Director Christopher Hoyt stated, “Congresswoman Hahn and First Lady Leal de Pérez understand the need to attack the root cause of emigrating youth. Unaccompanied minors are fleeing to the U.S. as a result of insecurity, lack of technical and formal educational opportunities, and unstable family environments.” Hoyt continued, “Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos protects and forms young leaders, offers the promise of trade school and
higher education, and above all, provides a family of unconditional love. We are pleased that these leaders recognize the critical importance of NPH in Guatemala and all the countries we serve.”
Friday afternoon, Rep. Hahn and Bishop Mendez visited the NPH Guatemala home, school, and vocational workshops. Over 300 children and youth of NPH Guatemala, from infants to university students, welcomed them with a performance of the NPH marching band and our traditional Marimba players. The performance was dedicated to the Rossi family, who facilitated
the Congresswoman’s visit and who have supported the NPH soccer and music program in memory of Leo and Lisa’s late son, Ryan.”The children greeted us with big smiles and warm hugs,” expressed the Congresswoman after seeing the home. “As we toured the facility I was impressed with the quality of life the children are provided and the warmth and love they receive from the staff.”
On the importance of Rep. Hahn’s visit to their home, Hoyt stated that “Congresswoman Hahn’s visit underscores the confidence that elected officials and donors have had in NPH for 60 years. Our supporters recognize that education is the key to lifting children out of the cycle of poverty, and for six decades, NPH has done just that. Today’s humanitarian crisis sends a message loud and clear: the need for NPH to reach more orphaned and vulnerable children in the region is
greater now more than ever. We just invite more people to roll up their sleeves and join us.”
As to the future of the children served by NPH, “There is no doubt that these children have faced challenges few of us can imagine, but NPH has stepped in to ensure they are safe and have a chance to receive the education and support they would not otherwise get,” added Hahn. “Thanks to NPH, these children have a bright future and I hope they will have an opportunity to live their dreams.”

 

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MOREwww.nph-guatemala.org

August 16th, was the eight anniversary of Fr. Wasson’s eternal life. He passed away in Cottonwood, Arizona surrounded by loved ones and members of the extended family that he created.
All of our NPH homes have honored his memory by hosting activities and memorial masses throughout the week and over the weekend.

Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Dear Friends,

The rainy season has always brought troubles for the Haitian people: flooding, mudslides, malaria, and in recent years, deadly cholera. Now there’s a new outbreak spreading across the country: Chikungunya fever.

Our programs have been flooded with patients, with both St. Luke’s and St. Mary’s in Cite Soleil stretching as usual to meet overwhelming need. Our ability to serve the many seeking treatment depends on the funds to buy fluids and medications, and our ability to maintain these overflowing structures.

We wanted you, our friends, to be aware of this great new need.

The name Chikungunya means “to become contorted” or “to bend up” because the pain caused by the virus is so intense that all you can do is hold your aching joints and wait for it to be over. Haitians have adopted the name kraze le zo or “breaking bone” in Creole.

There is no anti-viral treatment for Chikungunya fever, and no vaccine, but one can treat the symptoms. While rarely fatal with proper treatment, many Haitians don’t have access to or can’t afford reliable healthcare, putting them at risk for severe dehydration and chronic pain that lasts for days or even months. It can be particularly dangerous for the very young and the elderly.

Thank you as always for your friendship and support. It is a great comfort to know that we can count on you.
With gratitude,

Father Rick Frechette
and Dr. Augustin, Co-Director of Medical Programs, St. Luke Haiti

 

To know more:

www.stlukehaiti.org

Little Engracia, 7 years old, affected by congenital glaucoma, which prevented her sight and caused her eye pain that forced her to constantly bow her head, was visited in Angola by volunteer optometrists and ophthalmologists from the Fondazione Francesca Rava – NPH Italia Onlus during a recent humanitarian mission, carried out in partnership with Federottica and AIMO, in 8 African countries on “Etna”, the Italian Marina Militare’s Ship that circumnavigated Africa.

The mission resulted in free eye screenings for 2,513 children, the donation of 605 pairs of eyeglasses, created ad hoc, and special attention provided to extreme cases that couldn’t be cured in their own country, such as Engracia.

On May 11th, Engracia and her father were brought from Angola by the Fondazione Francesca Rava to the Gaslini Hospital in Genova. The Fondazione had already been collaborating with Gaslini to help children from the NPH Orphanage in Honduras.

Gaslini Hospital provided Engracia with medical care that was not available in Angolia including an extensive diagnosis of her illness, pain relief, cure of the infections, and improved sight.

Engratia was discharged from Gasilini Hospital on Monday and will return today to her home, which is a village 30 km from the capital, Luanda, where she lives with 5 little sisters. Thanks to special glasses she’s able to see shadows and shapes, she is regaining the ability to walk and move in space, her pain is mitigated, and she is finally able to raise her head and start a new life.

The Fondazione Francesca Rava will continue to follow her to guarantee she receives the medicine that she will need for the rest of her life to keep her illness in check.

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The departure from the angolan airport

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The little Engracia the day of her arrival in Italy, with her dad Oliveira and Maria Chiara Roti

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The arrival of the little girl in the Fondazione Francesca Rava’s Headquarters

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Engracia at Gasilini Hospital with Chiara

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Engracia with her dad Oliveira, Mariavittoria Rava, the professor Capris and the general manager of Gaslini institute, Paolo Petralia

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We’ve recieved from Haiti these beautiful and exciting pictures of the first tilapia fish “harvest”: more than 2200 fish ready to be eaten by our little patients from Saint Damien’s Hospital and by the children of the Orphanage!

A big thank you to everyone that has contributed to realising this project against malnutrition and towards self-sustainability for haitian children.

 

HELP US!

CONTRIBUTE €10 TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TILAPIA TANKS.

DONATE €200  TOWARDS THE MONTHLY SALARY OF A BOY WORKING ON THE PROJECT

 

1-   Nutrition for thousands of kids (50.000 meals/year)

2-   Controlled chain

3-   Small profit contribution for self-sustainability

4-   The creation of work for a group of boys to help them learn a trade

5-   Microcredit for women who will sell the fish in local markets

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Your vote – and that of your friends, family and colleagues – will help us win €150,000 from Mediolanum Bank.
The funds from this important crowd sharing initiative will be sent to Father Rick and his team in Haiti for the Tilapia Fish Farm Project – expected to nourish and provide essential proteins to children at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, NPH homes, orphanages and schools in Port au Prince, Haiti.

The voting process is very easy. Please follow these simple instructions:
-enter into the initiative by clicking here;
-click on the Vote button;
-register (in the section on the right);
-you will receive an email confirming activation and providing a link to vote;
-Pick our project “Haiti: pesci per nutrire, lavoro per crescere” in the section “Nutriamo il futuro
-pick the number of votes you want to assign to this project (from 1 to 5) and click “Vota”. You have finished!

Please share this message with as many people as possible.
We have until April 30 and your simple, fast gesture can make a huge difference in the lives of Haitian children.
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