Tuesday, August 11, 2009

IESPES graduation ceremony, continued

The keynote address at the graduation ceremonies was made by Dr. Irene Escher, Director of IESPES. Congratulations to her on the fine job she is doing as head of the university.

IESPES graduation ceremony, continued

Haroldo Bentes, professor of administration at IESPES, presenting a diploma to one of the graduating students.

IESPES graduation ceremony, continued

Top image: Environmental management class taking their professional oath at the graduation event. Bottom image: Udison represented his classmates in his speech. I appreciate his mentioning their visits to Bosque Santa Lucia last year.

IESPES graduation ceremony, continued

That's Professora Erbena Costa, head of the tourism department, presenting one of her students with her diploma.

IESPES graduation ceremony

Once again it was a pleasure to represent the Board of Directors at a graduation ceremony for students at IESPES (Esperança Institute of Higher Learning). The event took place at the Barrudada Tropical Hotel on Saturday evening. Graduating students represented several courses, including tourism, environmental management, pedagogy, organizational processes and computer networks. Image, a very proud and happy student takes her professional oath.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Historical moments, Fátima Lira Maia

Áurea and I visited Fátima Lira Maia today at her home in Cipoal, a village located off the Santarém-Cuiabá Highway about 20 minutes drive from the city. She has been in São Paulo for the last five months, where she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She'll be returning next week for several more months of radiology and chemotherapy. Fátima was surprised to hear that I had returned to the Fundação Esperança after all these years. When I arrived in Santarém in March of 1979, she was already in training for the Esperança Health Aide program. As a matter of fact, Cipoal was one of the first two communities chosen by the Fundação for what has been referred to as the "barefoot doctor" program. The other community was Alter do Chão, a village on the Tapajós River, 33 kilometers from here. A lot of years have rolled by since those days. Fátima worked in Cipoal and the neighboring communities as health aide for a few years. She also finished high-school by commuting by bus to Santarém in the evenings. Then she studied at the Federal University of Pará to become a registered nurse, specializing in epidemiology. Over the last few years she has worked at the Fundação Centro de Hemoterapia e Hematologia do Pará. Fátima comes from a very large rural family, one that we known over the years. Her mother and father raised a huge family (around 12 kids, as I remember) by the sweat of the brow. I have fond memories of spending time with them in their simple mud and wattle house with a dirt floor. I smoked a pipe at that time, as both of them did. We traded tobaccos and drank coffee produced on their land. "Amigos pra sempre", as the saying goes.

Top image - Fátima and her colleague from Alter do Chão, Antônio C., in training at the Fundação Esperança. Around 1979.

Bottom image - Fátima receiving a F.E. bicycle, the primary mode of transportation for health aide work. The young man helping unload the bicycle is Gilberto, who was the driver for Fundação Esperança for several years. He later studied to become an accountant.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

IESPES electrical, continued

The older transformer seen in this image was removed from the street to the new power house financed by a grant from USAID/ASHA (American Schools and Hospitals Abroad). Together with the new transformer, power output was increased from 225 KVA to 375 KVA. This will be sufficient to provide the needed power for all of IESPES (Esperanca Institute of Higher Learning), including the two stories of additional classrooms under construction. The next phase of upgrading the system will be feeder switches from the power house to the different buildings on the IESPES grounds. For further details, talk with Guilhereme (image), who is the expert on the subject. For a fast review of transformers, click in on this link.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fabiano Simões, Confederado

The contractor for the electrical upgrade at IESPES and Fundação Esperança is Sr. Fabiano Simões, standing next to me on the left. I had looked forward to meeting Sr. Fabiano because he is father of our friend, Dr. Erik Jennings Simões, neurosurgeon and descendant of an American family coming to Santarém after the American Civil War. We didn't have much time for talk, so I checked later with Gil Serique on details of history. He tells me that Sr. Fabiano is a descendant of the Confederados and he also has German blood running through his veins. Erik's mother, Dona Selva, is from the Jennings family. Tennessee was their home state before immigrating to Brazil after the Civil War.

IESPES electrical, continued

The connection between CELPA (State of Pará Electric Company) and the new transformer was scheduled for today, Saturday. My last photographs were taken before mid-day on Friday. I look forward to seeing the works on Monday, when everything should be functioning, including an elevator that was right down sluggish for the lack of power. Timing of the upgrade was certainly critical because classes for nearly 1,700 students begins on Monday.

IESPES electrical, continued

Workers pull out old cables and wiring from IESPES complex. I wasn't around to see the larger cables being installed, but Guilherme told me that the upgrade was considerable. The old cable will be used for the wiring of the new classrooms on the third and fourth floor of the building next to the street.

Upgrading the electrical system

At last, the new electrical system for IESPES (Esperança Institute for Higher Learning) and Fundação Esperança is being installed. The housing for the transformer and upgraded electrical system was built two years ago with a grant from ASHA (American Schools and Hospitals Abroad), but there have been endless delays in setting dates with CELPA, the State of Pará Electrical Company, for the changeover. Image, Guilhereme bringing in the additional cables needed for the job. Nearly U$ 10,000 worth!

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.