The mission is happy to say that there were no major health concerns while closed in July. It was important that we take that month to assess where the families are after 5 years of service. Looking forward to the upcoming housing project and the future for the children means many changes.
Preparing the families for this next step takes time as well as careful planning and implementation of changes and improvements.
Simply put the mission as they knew it closed June 29, 2011. The mission team stepped away for a month to rejuvenate. There was no doubt in our minds that the families would do just fine; after all, for the past 5 years with Winnie’s strategic plan in motion, every step has been designed to move them forward to self sufficiency.
After 5 years of service what we do know is:
- No one is going without food for excessive lengths of time. 99% of the people make enough each day to feed themselves and their families, only requiring assistance in emergency situations.
- The 1% who needs help are seniors 65+ years, who can no longer work very much in the garbage dump and have no strong family support.
- There are currently 250 children in the public school system, and still others for which the families are managing to pay for themselves.
- There are approximately 10 young adults in University; we have assisted 4 of them at different times with fees.
- Overall health is good. As the population we are assisting ages, their medical needs change. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression become major concerns.
- Children’s major health concerns are asthma, anemia, bronchitis and parasites.
- There is basic health insurance available to the general population in Vallarta, a simple process of bringing required paper work and waiting one half hour, results in coverage.
- Their medical needs are with financial assistance for medical tests which are not covered and surgeries if they do not have coverage.
- Dental care is much needed. The mission is currently in the process of providing this care in the next year.
- English/Computer classes for Teens and Adults are required to help them move on from recycling in the dump.
- Other classes such as art, music, exercise, and sewing in addition to our Homework Club, Soccer Program and English/Computer would be valuable. Activities to fill the out of school time for the children, would be valuable in keeping these children focused on their futures.
- There are several families whose only need of assistance is Education for their children.
As of August 8, 2011 the mission reopened with new rules, regulations and expectations. Each person desiring assistance must register, bringing all information on their children’s education. They are completing an in-depth interview to assess their current situation and needs. Assistance will become more individualized and personal.
Some people are embracing the change and some are resistant. This is human nature. Those who accept and embrace the current changes will move forward and be fully prepared for the upcoming changes (housing project). Those who do not accept them probably will not be interested or willing to step up in order to be part of the next phase of the mission.
August has been a very busy month, preparing the children to return to school on August 22, 2011. They have all received their backpacks, uniforms, supplies and shoes. The lunch program is running, the Activity Room is a flourishing under Yurima’s direction. Lorali and Georgina are doing an awesome job running the Coop Store and Food Bank and the Daycare is going full force. Moms are really appreciating this service as they can go to work during the day for 4 hours now, either working extra hours or rather than working in the dark while their children are sleeping.
We are preparing to start up Computer and English in October, the children come every day asking when it starts, they seem to have no concept of time! The Teen Mentor Program continues and they are now preparing the English/Computer room, contributing their art work to brighten the room!
Jackie has adjusted to her new living conditions out of her home. She is happy and healthy. There has been a positive improvement in her behaviour and self esteem. There is less stress for all. Jackie is able to visit her friends at the mission and we maintain regular contact with her.
There have been major changes in the dump itself, a new entry for the trucks and an office were put in. In the village itself, new housing, a gas station (yeah!) and an OXXO! An addition to the new Junior High School is in process as well.
Children entering school are checked at the gate for backpack, supplies and proper uniforms.
Progress is happening, Majesterio is growing and advancing along with the mission. With Education becoming the major focus of the mission over the next few years, the goals we set out to achieve will be complete. Food/Water, done! Medical, in progress! Emotional support, ongoing! Education, continuing! Spiritual, ongoing!
September has been an extremely busy month as well. Visits to the local schools have been made to explain our new point system. Families with school-age children are receiving their assistance based on their children’s attendance at school. Instead of a handout, they are now earning points that can be exchanged for food, clothes, shoes and other donated items. They can also choose to save their points to receive much desired household items, such as fans, stoves, shelves, etc.
Winnie and Henry came for a visit so that we can plan and implement the changes in the programs for the next few years. A meeting with the Sindicato and an agreement to assist them, will result in some very positive changes for the recyclers and their families. The mission will be providing water and a food stand which will be affordable for all recyclers. By keeping them hydrated and nourished, they will be able to work to provide for their families. Despensa (Food Bags) will no longer be handed out. The mission will work as a Food Bank for Seniors and those in major emergency situations.
September 24, 2011, five young people were the first recipients of FAMILIES OF ESPERANZA’S 1st annual scholarships. The qualifications were excellent attendance, marks above 9 out of 10, as well as good behaviour in school and at home.
MARIA CONCEPCION received the Scholarship for UNIVERSITY. ROSARIO AND ALONDRA received Scholarships for SECUNDARIA (Jr. High). TANYA received the Scholarship for PRIMARY. JOSE ANTONIO received the Scholarship for KINDER. There was an evening of fun, fellowship and motivation to continue their education.
Pastor Hector continues to provide his service for 50 – 60 families each week. We have added electricity and are completing the roof over the open air church.
We have welcomed 2 new babies in the past few weeks. Blanca and Rosa both had beautiful baby girls!
The rains are upon us, still very difficult for the families, however there is HOPE! God willing the housing project will begin soon.
As always, we would like to express our appreciation to all who support the mission with their time, energy, prayers and financial assistance. We cannot do what we do without your help. God Bless