We Couldn’t Do It Alone

Emily, Tom, Melissa, and Charlie in the back of a truck

It was on our 2nd trip to Honduras, riding in the back of a pick-up truck when my husband and I looked at each other and knew, “this is what we’re suppose to do.” We feel very fortunate to have found our shared passion, and to have the ability to live our dreams…but we wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of others.

First, and most importantly, is our immediate family. I remember telling “the boys” that we would be hosting our first patients, a 17 month old girl and a 19 year old young woman. Their first reactions were of reluctance. They knew we wanted to help others, but now it was going to impact their lives. I can honestly say that it was the most positive way we influenced their childhoods.They certainly formed bonds with the children and some became as close as siblings, and they were taught life lessons from them, as well. Our boys shared these experiences with their friends, and they too became actively involved.

Noel with Bobby and his friends

My extended family has shared their love and support with our Honduran children. Often times “Abuela” and “Abuelo” (a.k.a. Grandma and Grandpa) have stepped in to babysit and drive to/from the airport and hospitals. My brothers have been actively involved with the children and also shared their expertise in law and finance. Esperanza wouldn’t have been formed without their help.

Collins/Kimball/Lania Family with Stefany

Certainly our friends have made all the difference in the world. They have provided much needed respite…at the exact times we felt pushed to our limits. Friends have welcomed “our” children into their homes, and fully immersed themselves into their lives. I’m thankful to have friends with a common vision, and we have so much fun sharing our memories of the children.

Ricky's friends with Noel

I absolutely agree with the statement “it takes a village to raise a child”…thanks to all who share our journey.

Remembering Ray Tye, with love

Ray Tye and Noel

A year ago today, our beloved friend, Ray Tye passed away. He truly was my hero and his spirit lives on in me, as I share his desire of helping improve the lives of others. Please take a moment to read about this remarkable man and the impact he had on so many lives at his foundation’s website: www.raytyemedicalaidfoundation.org. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his wife, Eileen and his large extended family. We are incredibly in debt to this foundation for providing the financial support for three of Esperanza’s patients. The following words were included in our tribute to Ray…”I love how he had no boundaries and helped people of all ethnicities, religions and ages. I think of him when I read Proverbs 31:8-9: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly: defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

This evening, we will be toasting Ray with grateful hearts…may he be having his own celebration, surrounded by loved ones.

Searching for Hope…

Ana

Yesterday afternoon, I was having lunch with friends in Concord when I received a call from our friend and Honduran coordinator, Ana Hernandez. A family from Tegucigalpa had arrived at her house ( 1 1/2 hours away) looking for help from “the Americans” (us) for their 11 year old son. I asked how they knew about us, and her reply was, “they had talked with a friend of a relative of a child you helped who had a heart problem.”

This extremely impoverished family had gathered together enough money to travel to Ana’s in search of hope for their child. And now Ana was on the phone with me over 2,000 miles away, trying to explain the child’s medical condition. This young boy had been to the doctor in Tegucigalpa and was told he had skin cancer, and now he was wearing bandages over his eyes and had lost his sight.

Unfortunately, doctors give very minimal information to patients and parents, and often times it is not accurate. Therefore, many Hondurans have very little trust in the medical profession and believe that American doctors will offer better care. Thankfully, over the years we have developed some very trustworthy relationships with Honduran doctors. They are extremely accessible to us (giving their cell phone numbers) and will see our patients promptly. Peggy Kipps, executive director of The Ruth Paz Foundation will refer our patients to the American brigades she coordinates.

Although we cannot always offer a cure for the patients, we are able to give the parents accurate medical information in a compassionate manner. We also offer other resources (ie. physical therapy, medications, medical aids) which can assist the patient and their families with living with a particular illness or injury.

Last evening Tom (a pediatrician) talked with a woman assisting this child in need. She described his condition in greater detail and Tom asked for photos to be sent ASAP. We will be sending this child to San Pedro Sula to be seen by an eye specialist who treated one of our other children born with congenital glaucoma (and now has restored vision).

Once again we are reminded of Ana’s critical role in our work in Honduras. Without her, none of this would be happening. Ana offers her bilingual skills, endless hours of commitment to “her people”, is incredibly resourceful, has trusted relationships in every corner from her neighbors, to political officials to the medical community. She is very intelligent about everything from how the water system works to explaining to us local customs, traditions and beliefs. She truly is the Honduran heart and soul of Esperanza, and we are grateful for her presence in our lives.

Airline Ambassadors Program

Margaret

Many people work behind the scenes offering their assistance to Esperanza and many other organizations. Meet Margaret Whitehead (above), director of the Airline Ambassadors program which provides escorts for children coming to the United States for medical treatment. Margaret works enthusiastically and timely as she coordinates her ambassadors to accommodate the needs of the child.

American Airline employees volunteer their time by providing these needy children comfort and compassion, as they leave their families behind because their native countries cannot provide the medical care needed. One Ambassador who is especially adored by Esperanza is Ina Melen. Ina is home-based in the Boston area and has transported children from there, back home  to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Ina’s love and commitment to helping children in need is evident as she devotes her day (and sometimes over night) to reuniting children with their families. Ina is pictured below with 9 year old, Noel who is a cardiac patient at Tufts Medical Center.

Ina and Noel