I just returned from Santa Cruz,
Bolivia where I did a medical assessment for Project C.U.R.E. While
there, I enjoyed speaking to the families of many children at two
different schools. I spoke to them about Project C.U.R.E. and what we
do. Before I left for Bolivia, I accumulated over 40 pounds of clothing
for the children there. The clothing was sorted by teachers at the
school and passed out to the poorest of the families. I enjoyed
watching them sort through the clothing. They were very excited! For
more information about Project C.U.R.E. Phoenix and how you can help, please visit www.projectcure.org
On June 21, 2014 the Phoenix Phil-Am Lions Club will hold its annual Induction and Installation Ball at the Hilton Phoenix Airport. This undertaking is partly a fundraising event to support the club's signature project - Medical Mission. The upcoming one in 2015 would be the 11th betwen the Philippines and Mexico missions. Last year we netted over $2000 and the celbration was attneded by family friends, supporters and cignitaries. We were able to do the following with the funds: 223 cataract operations, 67 pterygiums, dispensed 9000 corrective glasses, identified school children with vision problems and screened over 300 patients for diabetes.
This year we're even committed to making a bigger success and I am hoping you will help. The aim is to raise about $5000 and the funds will be used for the cataract and medical mission on February 15-20, 2015 in Zambales, Philippines. The club always breaks its record and this tiime we hope to be able to help 250 blinded patients because of cataract.
In reciprocation to your kind favor, we will put your pictures, greetings and advertisements in the club's souvenir program. We will be issuing a donation receipt for the entire amount as requested. Raising funds for such a noble cause cannot be possible without your generous support and sponsorship.
For more information, please visit http://phxphilamaz.lionwap.org/
While in Colombia I was thrilled to be able to meet with Felix Ospino, the Asesor del Gobernador, for Governor Juis Cotes at Don Pepe Hotel in Santa Marta, Colombia . I presented him with a brochure from Project C.U.R.E. and spoke to him about coming to Colombia again in the future to do a medical assessment. He's excited about Project C.U.R.E. and exploring the possibility of having many containers send to the 13 municipal hospitals that the government is in charge of in the state of Magdalena. We are hopeful we will be able to work with the customs officials to provide much needed donated supplies and equipment.
In Colombia, thousands of families have been allowed to build homes along railroad tracks. After five years, if they maintain the house, they have squatters rights and can apply for a title to the land. The homes unfortunately aren't well maintained, and are poorly built. Only a few have electricity and water.
With the help of Project C.U.R.E., Jose and his wife Clarita, Ana Maria Pisciotti, my friend Stacie Berman Webb and her children, my assistant Jennifer, and her daughter's Hannah and Grace, we donated clothes from America to hundreds of children, both boys and girls. They were extremely excited to receive new clothes - everything from shorts, t-shirts, jeans, skirts and dresses. I also locally purchased toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and cookies for the kids and handed them out, until I ran out.
You can see by their happy grins and faces they really enjoyed our visit. Enjoy the photos.
While in Colombia I was thrilled to meet Julio Cesar Nieves
Escandon. Julio is a History professor of Indigenous people of Colombia
- Arhuaco people. He was our mentor and facilitator and took us to
see this private and extremely prestigious community.
The Arhuaco are a profoundly spiritual people who follow their own
unique philosophy that tends to globalize their surroundings. They
believe in a creator or "father" named Kakü Serankua, who
engendered the first gods and material living things, other "fathers"
like the sun and the snowy peaks and other "mothers" like the earth and
the moon. They consider the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to be the heart
of the world, and believe that the well-being of the rest of the world
depends on it.
The Arhuaco live in the upper valleys of
the Piedras River, San Sebastian River, Chichicua River, Ariguani River,
and Guatapuri River, in an Indigenous Territory in the Sierra Nevada de
Santa Marta Mountains. Their traditional territory before the Spanish colonization,
was larger than today's boundaries which exclude many of their sacred
sites that they continue to visit today, to pay offerings. These lost
territories are the lower parts by the steps of the mountains, lost to
colonization and farming.
When I visited their community, I
brought with me toothbrushes, toothpaste, cookies and soap to give to
the children an their families, which they loved. Nutritionist Professor Iris Perico with the government
was also there and she weighed and measured the children and gave a
lecture about food preparation, nutrition and cleanliness to all the
women. She taught them things like how important it is to clean under
your fingernails before preparing food to stop the spread of disease.
Here are some photos from my visit. The children sang for us and thanked us in their indigenous language.