Wednesday, July 29, 2009

IESPES, continued

Another fantastic view from up on top of the new classrooms building is that of the Tropical Hotel, which is located quite a few blocks from here. Over on the other side of the hotel is a partial view of the Tapajós River, which flows into the Amazon River just downstream in front of the city.

IESPES - Visuals

Last week I climbed up to the top of the IESPES construction to have a look at the fourth floor of the new building. Aside from the joys of seeing future classrooms, I was also impressed with the views from up there. Looking across the street, we get a good view of reception, which is the first step in patient care at Fundação Esperança. Just beyond, the building with the new red roof are the administrative offices of the Fundação. The very large black wall in the background is the backside of the São Francisco Church. I assure you that the frontside is easier on the eyes. It's amazing how the church has become so large. When I worked here at Fundação between 1979-1983, the church was a small, simple wooden building. I remember it well because our older child, Steven David, was baptized there. His godfather was Dr. Bill Dolan, a volunteer general suregon and Franciscan brother at Fundação Esperança.

Classroom construction

The front building at IESPES is taking on a new appearance as we get closer to conclusion of the construction for eight new classrooms. The fourth floor of the building is in place and the brick walls are being plastered. Concrete for the reinforced roof will be poured in the next few days. Construction is expected to be completed by September 15, 2009.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ana Maria Firmo

Ana Firmo, Fundação Esperança accounting department. She's now acting director of finance while Neusa is on vacation. I took this picture of Ana a couple of months back when we were recording purchase of some office equipment via a grant with ASHA (American Schools and Hospitals Abroad).

Friday, July 24, 2009


Nathan Darity and Sidney Coelho. Two good looking guys, but my main interest was in shooting a photograph of our old Toyota pickup. It has seen better days. Nevertheless, it's still rolling when we need to transport people and supplies, as was the case of outfitting the riverboat for the Quilombos trip.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off to the Quilombos

It was great to see the community health team off to the Trombetas River this morning. As mentioned in past blogs, our Fundação Esperança team provides health services to the Quilombos (villages settled by run-away slaves of the 1800s) on a monthly basis via a grant from MRN, the bauxite mining company located in that region. The team traveling today is made up of mostly nurses and health sciences students from our own IESPES (Esperança Institute of Higher Learning) and CEPES (Esperança Center for Professional Education). Because Nurse Ethel Soares is on vacation, we also contracted Nurse Socorro from FUNASA (Bureau of Indian Affairs, Health Division) to help out. Nurse Carmélia is in charge of the trip. More about activities of the team as reports come in to us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Padre Carlos

Carlos Antonio Almeida Figueiredo, better known as Padre Carlos, celebrated 18 years as an ordained priest (Ordenado Diocesano) on the 20th of this month. Being a native of this part of the Amazon, nothing could have been more appropriate than getting together with friends for lunch at one of his favorite fish restaurants in Santarém. I was honored to have been invited to the event. Padre Carlos keeps a busy schedule as administrator for Fundação Esperança and also for the Dioceses. Long before he gets to work as administrator, he has celebrated an early morning mass. Then, too, church activities will probably continue on into the evening and weekends. Congratulations Padre Carlos ... and many thanks for sharing your time with us at Fundação Esperança.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sister Regina, continued

Another scan from an early Esperança, Inc. newsletter with some detailed information about Sister Regina Waschowski, associate of Frei Luke Tupper between 1971-1978. That's her behind the laboratory microscope, top photograph. The person standing next to her is Dr. Win Stewart, who was the first executive director for Esperança, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona. Click on the image for enlargement of the page.

Sister Regina, continued

That's Sister Regina Wachowski dressed in white in the middle photograph. And I assume that's Dr. Luke Tupper next to her with the forced-air immunization machine on the floor. I scanned this page from an old Esperança, Inc. newsletter. Unfortunately, no date included. I would assume around 1973, but that's only a guess on my part. Click image for enlargement.

Historical moments, Sister Regina

Sister Regina and Padre Carlos. Picture taken yesterday.

Historical moments, Sister Regina

Likewise, we were pleased to receive Sister Regina's family here at Fundação Esperança. Her sister and two nieces.

Historical moments, Sister Regina

Sister Regina with Dona Zizi and Sister Alice. Sister Regina left Cliníca dos Pobres in 1978 and now lives in Manaus, upriver from Santarém. Dona Zizi retired from Fundação Esperança a few years ago but couldn't live without us, so she returned to her old job in the stockroom. Sister Alice is one of the founders of the Maternidade Hospital in Santarém, now called the São Camilo Hospital. I took the picture yesterday morning in front of the Children's Center.

Historical moments, Sister Regina Wachowski

We appreciate yesterday's visit of Sister Regina Wachowski. She is a person remembered by many people around this part of the Amazon because of her volunteer work with Frei Lucas between 1971 and 1978. She was the second permanent volunteer to join his team and I gather co founder of Cliníca dos Pobres (Clinic of the Poor), the forerunner of Fundação Esperança. More coming.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Birthdays, continued

To keep up with the marathon of birthdays, I made a fast trip out to Bosque Santa Lúcia on Saturday morning to give birthday greetings to Cleuson Teixeira, our caretaker there. That's him with his young son. The kid on the right belongs to Carlos, our neighbor across the road.

Birthdays, continued

It may seem that we spend a lot of time celebrating birthdays, but in reality we're experts at doing them in record time. Last Friday, someone reminded us that it was Sr. Arnaldo's birthday on Saturday. Towards the end of the day we quickly took up a collection to buy a small cake and some soft drinks. Sidney diverted Sr. Arnaldo by taking him over to the IESPES construction. When they returned, it was "SURPRISE!" Then I let the cat out of the bag by announcing that it had been Nathan's birthday the day before. Someone rushed over to the Esperança housing to take Nathan and Val from their Portuguese class. "SURPRISE!" They cut the cake together (image) and 15 minutes later everyone was on their way home for the weekend.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Birthdays, continued

Some birthdays go unnoticed. Such was the case yesterday when Nathan Darity failed to say anything to us at Fundação Esperança. Almost by chance we decided to have dinner at a Lebanese restaurant downtown. Since the place was closed, we headed off to Nossa Casa restaurant, which is probably the best place in Santarém to eat fish. It was there that we discovered a birthday almost over. Bernadete and Antônio from the Pastoral do Menor were also guests of Nathan and Val. Image from left to right, Bernadete (Social worker), Antônio (professor of arts and crafts), Nathan, Val (nurse) and Áurea, my wife. As reported in an earlier post, Nathan and Val are on loan to Fundação Esperança from Amizade. Their mission is to help us coordinate fund-raising activities, as well as in-coming volunteers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birthday parties

Birthdays are always important events for everyone and it's seldom that ones passes without everyone knowing about the ocassion. Congratulations and hugs are always part of the event and there are times when coworkers come up with a small cake to show their friendship. Such was the case last week when someone whispered in my ear that Elvana Malheiros from Scholarships was celebrating her birthday and that some folks were gathered next door. Image, from left to right: Beatriz, Alexandria, Nubia, Rosinete, Junior and Ana. That's Elvana out front.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

James M. Ryan, Bishop

As we left AMAMDOTI (Associação de Menores e Amigos DOM TIAGO) and Maicá Diesel yesterday, Ivair Chaves pointed out a large poster photograph of Dom Tiago on the office wall. "Dom Tiago" he proudly said to Nathan and Val. "Our day school is named after him." Then I got into a discussion with Sr. Ivair on the date of Dom Tiago's death. I guessed around seven years, but Ivair said it couldn't be. "Maybe four years" he said. Then Ivair's wife, quietly ended the debate by reading the dates written on the poster. "Seven years tomorrow", she said.

Dom Tiago was born James M. Ryan in Chicago, Illinois in 1912. He was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1938 and volunteered to come to Brazil in 1943. His first assignment was at Fordlândia, the first Ford Motor Company rubber tree plantation in the Amazon. He was bishop of the Santarém Diocese (perhaps the largest in the world) between 1958-1985 and continued to live here up until his death. He actually died in Chicago because he had been hospitalized for stomach cancer. Nevertheless, he wanted to die right here in Santarém. Death came one day before his scheduled flight back to Brazil. The first time I met Dom Tiago was in either 1979 or 1980, when we crossed paths at Lago Grande, upriver. I was walking up the trail from our riverboat to the community center at Inanú and he was walking down the same trail, on his way back to his boat. We spotted one another from a distance because 6'2" gringos stand out among the smaller people of this region. Even before we reached out to shake hands, he shouted, Mais um gigante! I didn't know it on that occasion, but Dom Tiago was already a legend in his time. When his remains were brought back to Santarém for burial at the cathedral, tens of thousands of devotees filled the city to pay their respect to the man and bishop they so much respected and loved.

The attached image of Dom Tiago (far left) is located in the Fundação Esperança office. Some day I'll get around to introducing the other personalities on the wall.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

AMAMDOTI, continued

The founder of AMAMDOTI, Manoel Ivair Chaves, and wife, whose name I don't remember. This picture was taken at AMAMDOTI yesterday afternoon. Ivair turned 70 years old just recently and he has been president of the Fundação Esperança, one term back. He is now vice-president and I must say, a very active member of the board. It's no secret that there was a time when he was not too happy with the day-to-day operation of our organization. Although a very busy businessman, he devoted half days to F.E. for a long period of time to see what was going on there. Eventually, he recommended some traumatic changes, which are in effect today. He writes about these things in a book he published to celebrate his 70th birthday. Ivair refers to himself as a caboclo, which translates into something like a country bumpkin. He was brought up on a cattle ranch and continues to be a rancher to this day. He's not a small time rancher, since he owns several of them. He and his family also own Maicá Diesel, which is a dealership for farm tractors, trucks and buses. He was a close friend of Dom Tiago (Bishop Ryan) and followed the history of Fundação Esperança from the early days of Frei Lucas (Dr. Luke Tupper) in Santarém. I thought I was being pedantic when I mentioned having found an old photograph of Frei Lucas overseeing the foundation of the Cliníca dos Pobres around 1971-72. Sr. Ivair retorted by saying he remembered when the church constructed a palm-thatched hut somewhere in the city for Frei Lucas' first clinic. Later, Bishop Ryan donated the piece of land where Fundação Esperança is located today. Everyone remarked that the place was too far out in the sticks. Ah, I forgot to mention that Sr. Ivair is building another day school for AMAMDOTI, this one at Santana do Ituqí, a community located closer to ranching country. Congratulations to Ivair Chaves and his family for being part of Fundação Esperança and for investing in the well being of children.

AMAMDOTI, continued

Some more of the AMAMDOTI students. There are 90 kids attending this day school sponsored by Fundação Esperança director, Manoel Ivair Chaves.

AMAMDOTI, continued

Nathan, Val and I were more than pleased that we were able to attend the closing semester event at AMAMDOTI because kids are always special and what Ivair Chaves is doing for them is also very special. The day school is not a substitute for public education, it's a reinforcement for kids who have not been able to keep up with their regular classwork because of handicaps, mostly related to poverty and deprivation. There are around 90 students enrolled at Chaves' school, half in the morning session and half in the afternoon. There are three full time teachers, two of which appear in the attached image. The professora in the foreground became very emotional and cried during her presentation about the arts and crafts component of their classes. As she so convincingly related, most of the children at AMAMDOTI are so poor, they have never had the joy of owning a toy. At Ivair's school, they make their own. They are made out of plastic bottles and other "trash", but they bring happiness to those who have never had anything. More coming.


I invited Nathan Darity and Val Hess to last Monday's board meeting to update the directors on the fine job they are doing with grant writing and coordination of volunteers. Towards the end of the meeting, Manoel Ivair Chaves, vice-president of the board, slipped Nathan a note written on a napkin inviting them to some event that wasn't clear to any of us. On the way out of the meeting, Sr. Ivair clued us in on the cryptic note. He was asking for our presence at the end of the semester session for a day school he sponsors. His philanthropic organization for deprived children is called AMAMDOTI (Associação de Menores e Amigos DOM TIAGO). Now that's a mouth full. The translation in English is Association of Minors and Friends of Dom Tiago. I've talked about Dom Tiago already in this blog ... and I'll certainly be writing more because the bishop was the supporting pillar for Frei Lucas and the Cliníca dos Pobres, which later became the Fundação Esperança. More coming.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Belmacy and Suely

We might say that Belmacy Sarmento Sousa (left) and Maria Suely Marques Alves (right) represent the older and newer employees at Fundação Esperança. Belmacy, who is a laboratory technician, was one of the original employees at the Cliníca dos Pobres (Clinic for the Poor) back in 1978. She came onboard just a few months before Frei Lucas was killed on his motorcycle in the United States. Belmacy expects to retire in the very near future. Suely (right) came to Fundacao Esperanca in 2007, as secretary for laboratory. Since she also helps out in reception, she calls herself "two in one". Regardless of where she's at, she one of the first persons to be met by patients when they come in for their appoitments. Belmacy and Suely, beautiful people.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

People, Dr. Andre

When I returned to Fundação Esperança in October of last year, I was surprised to learn that we had a full-time legal counsel, Dr. Andre Luiz G. Lisboa. Mind you, my image of the organization was set in the time frame of 1979-1984, when F.E. was quite small. Today we are a larger family, mainly because of the addition of professors and employees at IESPES (Esperança Institute of Higher Learning) and CEPES (Esperança Center for Professional Education). Adding health services and a centralized administration for all three components, we are 299 strong! Dr. Andre stays busy, I assure you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Historical moments,continued

Another historical photo from the mid-1970s. That's Chuck Post, standing to the left. As I remember it, he joined Esperança, Inc. as executive director in 1979 or 1980. In communicating with him this year about a general assembly meeting, I was surprised that he remembered having seen Be Here Now by Ram Dass in my library when he visited us in Santarém back then. What a memory! The doctor standing next to Chuck in the image is Dr. Geraldo. My own memory is so good, I don't remember much about him. Dona Zizi, our Esperança historian here at Fundação Esperança, tells me that he was full-time staff, not a volunteer. The gentlemen seated in the foreground were volunteers, but I don't recall names. If my readers remember additional details, please share by clicking on "comments" below.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Historical moments, continued

This photograph has aged, as well as the personalities in it. From left to right: Wilmar Frazão and Raymundo Arinos. I'm guessing the year was around 1977-78 because that was about the time that Sr. Arinos took over as president of the Fundação Esperança. It was also the time when the Esperança Hospital Ship was docked at the Deep Water Pier, called Docas do Pará. Sr. Wilmar was director of the port and continued in that position until just a few years ago. He's now retired, but an active member of the F.E. board of directors. Sr. Arinos is now living in Rio de Janeiro. He was president of the F.E. board for 22 years.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CEPES land

Before the surprise baby shower got underway at CEPES, Sr. Arnaldo and I walked over to the other side of the building to see the gardener at work (attached image). He certainly has a job cut out for him in reducing weeds and brush on the very large piece of land on which CEPES is located. I always refer to the land as "the swamp" because during the rainy season the water levels come right up to the classroom building itself. This was a record year of rains and floods, but sunny days are upon us and this "swamp" is drying up fast. I hope this gasoline driven weed cutter will hold up under the situation. A small tractor with a rotary brush hog would be more appropriate.

Baby shower

Sr. Arnaldo and I attended an informal party at CEPES (Esperança Center for Professional Education) day before yesterday to celebrate the beginning of the collective vacation for the professors and other employees. It was also a surprise baby shower for Cristina (attached image). She and her husband, Marcos, have been active members of the Commission for Work Safety (CIPA). Congratulations to both.


I was driving out the Fundação Esperança parking lot last week when I spotted this huge and beautiful iguana making its way across the sports quad. Luckily there were no dogs around to disturb the slow moving vegetarian. It's seldom that we see an iguana of this size because most of them get killed earlier in life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New CIPA Commision

The new CIPA Commision (Safety at Work Commision) took office on Monday afternoon with Sr. Arnaldo Lopes elected as new president. In the image from left to right: Luciene (FE), Osório (IESPES), Helen (IESPES), Sr. Arnaldo (FE), Marinete (FE), Marcos (CEPES), and Prof. Socorro (IESPES). Missing is Diana (IESPES).

The former CIPA Commission under the leadership of Nurse Hirlene. Image from left to right: Cristane (CEPES), Elizete (FE), Ilarilda (IESPES), Hirlene (FE), Anaferino (IESPES) and Reginaldo (FE).