Hugs Goodbye and Hopes for the Future

Well, as I sit here waiting to take the 12 hour bus ride back to Buenos Aires I can’t believe how the week has flown bye. It was tough to say goodbye to the girls today, but before we jump ahead lets back track to this morning…

We decided on our last day to take the girls and their mothers to the centre for lunch, a huge treat for them and a great opportunity for all of us to sit down and laugh discuss and reflect on the past week.

Eating together on our final day

I was lucky to have my adorable buddy Daniel at my side to make sure no orange juice was left behind!

This little boy is one of the sweetest little guys I have ever met

We were in tears as the girls presented us with letters they had written and a thank you sign they had made, the teary photos didn’t make the cut but once we composed ourselves we managed to get a dry eyed one.

so sweet, they each wrote us a letter that they said we could read when we got back :)

Then we got to work finishing up a little surprise for all you wonderful people who helped out so much by donating and supporting the project.

Finishing up our tokens of appreciation for all our wonderful Canadian supporters back home

From there we were off to the park to brainstorm some rules the girls wanted to put up for the new centre, examples they thought of included; 1.Be patient with the younger kids and teach them how to put away the things they use 2. Respect each other and don’t fight 3. Wash your hands before using the books and put them back when you are done.

In the park brainstorming the rules the girls wanted to put up in the newly transformed centre

From the park we went back to the centre. said our goodbyes, and were off to get our things and head to the bus station.

As I promised here are some before and after pictures. More impressive than any of the photos is how the atmosphere changed. From a place where no one could sit, and the walls had an empty echo, to a place where kids were laughing, reading and painting, and adults were able sit comfortably and talk, discuss, laugh and take a moment to relax.

BEFORE

The Main room after: (the last few wooden trunks be bought for storage and seating arrived today so aren’t pictured)

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

The reading room

Not the best before picture but it'll have to do!

AFTER

So there you have it, the transformation physically was impressive, the work and unity of all the communities both in Canada and in Resistencia was amazing, and the experience for me was life changing.

This project was not something I did alone. Each and everyone of you who supported Health Here Help There via donations, time, advice, services and encouragement are what made it happen. You helped bring a brighter future to these girls and the younger generation coming into the centre behind them. I cannot thank you enough for believing in the project and for all your support

Before I sign off I there is one special thank you that I would like to say…

My absolutely incredible sister Jess, you have been the rock of this project from day 1

To my absolutely incredible sister Jess. From day one you have believed in both me and the Health Here Help There project. You have been by my side with encouragement, non stop help, and drive from the first inspiration to the very last drop of paint. I truly cannot thank you enough for all you have done. With your open love and caring heart the girls and boys adored you from the first moment you arrived in Chaco and it was the gift of a lifetime to be able to share this journey with you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kids are often the best judges of character, they loved Jess from day 1.

So what does the future hold for Health Here Help There? With a successful year 1 we are brainstorming ideas for Health Here Help There 2013!

We are working on a video to highlight our journey with this community and the story behind their families, and will be posting it on the website as soon as it is done.

We hope that you have been inspired in some way by this blog, project and journey.

If you have, our hope is that  you will help us spread that inspiration to those who need it by supporting Health Here Help There 2013. By donating your ideas, positivity, dollars, services, or support you can help us continue to spread the message that

Inspiration IS contagious, and we as a community CAN make a difference.

Please feel free to submit any comments, questions or ideas you may have for our 2013 project, I would love to hear them!

info@healthforhelp.org.

Thank you for jointing me on this incredible trip and I look forward to your input for our 2013 project!

The power of one.

Sincerely,

Naomi Casiro & Your Health Here Help There Team.

 

 

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Dolls and Exciting Deliveries!

Day 6, this is one best described with pictures. It was truly touching and inspiring.

First we went with one of the mothers to buy a stove and burners, something that for years to come will help them to make and sell local food to sustain and support the centre.

Jessica posing with the large burners the mothers will use to make a local dish called "Locro"

 

With the oven the mothers will be able to bake empanadas in large batches rather than individually frying them in a pan.

It was an incredible gift to be able to give the  community so that they can continue to raise money to help support the girls in accomplishing their goals, and reaching their  dreams.

When we arrived at the centre we found the kids busy painting the rest of the outside of the building, they had woken up early and come all together to finish the work. Very touching. Check out the finished product!

The front all finished! Now the community just directs people the the bright purple building!

With the tables beautifully varnished we began the doll making lesson, what a sight.

Working on the dolls on the beautiful new tables!

The girls will have 3 more pre-paid lessons to learn how to finish the dolls. Thanks to their already practiced sewing skills they got a good amount finished in no time!

legs sewn and ready to be stuffed!

first finished and excited for the next lesson!

While we did the dolls, the varnish on the chairs dried and when we were done we put on the bright pillows we had bought, they brought the chairs to life!

drying in the sun

blue pillows to give the chairs some colour and comfort!

From there the joy continued as we gave the girls the guitar and saw their smiles and joy as they played with the strings, excited to learn to play songs.

looking forward to lessons!

The joy continued as we painted more signs for the walls.

painting more canvases to brighten the walls

A very special canvas was painted with the name the youth chose for the program “El Poder de Uno.” Translated it means “The power of one,” a very fitting name to signify the difference each person can make in shaping their own future and affecting the lives of others.

"The power of one"

We had fun “getting our hands dirty!”

the perfect signature

Last but definitely not least the day ended on a wonderful note as the bookshelves arrived and we were able to unload our supplies. We put up the chalk board and world map and were overjoyed as the place was transformed.

I was speechless as I saw all the pieces coming together and a place for learning forming before my eyes

The library was beautiful as well!

As we left for the day the site of the kids sitting and reading was heartwarming

I could barely believe my eyes as the kids sat and read and argued that they didn’t want to leave  when it was time to go. What more could I ask for.

The little ones COULD NOT GET ENOUGH of the stuffed chairs we bought and spend all afternoon playing on them!

They refused to get up! :)

The chairs were quite the success!

Today was truly inspirational. Seeing the centre transforming into a place of learning, positivity and comfort is something that I will never in my life forget. With a few odds and ends to wrap up tomorrow, a few more small pieces of furniture to be delivered, and some more time with the kids, the week here is coming to and end.

As I reflect, it is astounding to me how much of a difference can be made when people come together to support one and other. I am so proud of what my canadian community has done to help and am so proud of the work that has been done as a community here.

Inspiration is a magical thing and I hope you can see why these wonderful girls and boys inspired me from day 1.

Thumbs up for learning :)

Tomorrow is our last day here and you will get to see the before and after pictures and  the last bits of the project come to fruition. I can only hope that those of you reading this can feel the inspiration and take this opportunity to

“Be Inspired and Inspire in Return”

Until tomorrow! Hasta Mañana!

Naomi

 

 

 

 

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Music & Magic

Well, the days here are full to say the least. After a bit of sleep we woke up early and were off again combing the city for supplies for the centre and items for the girls.

We stopped to get a few of the last items for the centre such as a black board, chalk, and a laminated world map for the large wall.

From there we were off to pick up a very special surprise for the girls. When we asked them about their dreams many mentioned their desires to sing, dance, or play an instrument, an opportunity they had not yet had. One instrument in particular had been mentioned and we thought it would be wonderful for them to have one in the centre for them all to share and learn with… so off we went to buy…

Testing out the guitar... or trying at least!

A beginners guitar! This will a be an extremely special addition to the girls new after school centre and a great way for them to learn that persistence and practice are necessary for success.

Needless to say my guitar skills are indeed lacking but luckily we also bought them a guitar book for beginners so they wont have to learn from me!

From there we were off to the centre with all our supplies (it took 2 taxi’s jam packed to get everything there!)

We arrived and after unloading, were sanding and getting ready to paint some more!

Our wonderful helper Christian worked non stop teaching the girls to properly paint

Oh and remember that door I told you about? It was time to put it in!

New door in place with the surrounding cement drying on the inside

Sanding the wall to make sure the paint would stick

dust filled but smiling!

Once we were done sanding the fun began, the girls had picked a gorgeous colour and wow did it make a difference!

Everyone was excited as the first few strokes of paint were put on the outside walls

The first few strokes of paint go on the wall

Hard work by all lead to a beautiful finish

Finished!

Next on the list, some very needed clean up in the front yard

10 giant trash bags later it was clean!

Up next time to paint a few of the canvases that would decorate the inside walls, with the canvases, paints, brushes and paper towel we had bought the group got started and had a blast!

each person got their own square to paint as they wanted

big and small painted away

After the painting was done it was time to end the day with a bite to eat!

we bought some pizza for the hungry group and all enjoyed the much needed break!

Once all the supplies were put away, things were cleaned up and it was time for a picture will everyone to end the morning

in front of the newly painted wall!

For the afternoon while Jess and I went to talk to some local youth about the project the girls took a break and then returned in the afternoon to varnish the tables and chairs that had arrived later in the day, pictures to come!

Once again another packed day and another bunch of wonderful smiling faces along the way

Adrii, one of the girls who has high hopes to learn the guitar and does not yet know there is one waiting for her that she will see on friday :)

Tomorrow we have lots to look forward to including finding and buying a stove for the mothers so they can cook and sell food, painting some more canvases to decorate the centre and enjoying a class to learn how to make stuffed dolls to give to other children or sell to raise funds for more supplies and education.

I hope you are enjoying sharing this incredible journey with us and are feeling inspired by this wonderful group of children, we would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

Hasta Mañana!

 

 

 

Markers & Muebles (furniture)

Whew…what a whirlwind the last few days have been! Lets see where did we leave you last…ah yes painting and presents! Well the fun continued over the next two days…

Day 3 &4:Day 3 was an important part of the project, a community meeting. It was extremely important to us that the mothers and community members directed what was bought and that they were the ones that prioritized what was needed in the centre.

All those who attended helped to discuss what was needed and the girls voiced what they felt would help them stay on the path to a better future

The little ones helped out with smiles and laughter, I couldn’t help but show you a few of these faces :)

Playing after sitting patiently through the meeting

a bit camera shy at first but so photogenic!

The meeting was of incredible importance to both us and the community members who attended and we came up with a list of priorities and some fantastic ideas of things that could help sustain the centre long term

List of Priorities:

1. Tables and chairs for the kids to study as well as bookshelves and storage for supplies and books

2. Secure the outside of the building to avoid theft and buy a door for the building

3. Buy art and school supplies and books for the kids.

4. Paint the outside of the building (inside had already been done)

5. Buy materials for the girls to make homemade dolls to give to the less fortunate and eventually sell to help fund  their own projects in the future

6. Buy a large stove and oven  and something to serve as a counter so the mothers could cook and sell local foods to continue to support the centre and the girls.

7. Fund a trip for the girls to go visit the university

8. Buy additional furniture and materials and supplies and fund classes for the girls with any money left over.

As we rounded up the day the girls gave us a wonderful rendition of a B’hai prayer that they had put actions to.

The girls singing a blessing they had put actions to

So with a list of priorities in hand, off we went as day 4 began.

First off be bought a door, delivered it to the site, and then were off to buy materials for the dolls

At the store buying string, beads, ribbon, hair etc.. for the dolls

The women at the store were wonderful and discounted everything we bought to help with the cause.

From there we were off to buy furniture to fill the empty room in the centre

With the store owner in front of one of 2 large tables we bought to seat the kids so they could study and learn

2 large tables, 20 chairs, 2 bookshelf, and 4 storage trunks later we were off and running again to search out our school supplies. The furniture will be delivered tomorrow and the girls along with some helpers will varnish them themselves.

Before stopping to get supplies we paused to buy the paint and brushes for the outside of the building, the girls had asked for purple so we chose a bright beautiful violet (pictures to come after we paint tomorrow!)

Then to get the school and art supplies

art supplies, school supplies bean bag chairs, pillows and more!

We bought canvas and paints and will be painting pictures with the girls tomorrow to decorate the space.

We also got pens, pencils, pastels, markers, pencil sharpeners, paper , binders, notebooks…. and the list goes on. We bought enough so that some can be put away for a later date and can only imagine what it will be like for them to have new supplies in a place they can call their own.

Tomorrow we will transport everything to the centre.

close up of some of the supplies we bought

If your wondering what the odd ball items are we also bought lights, a broom, and 2 oven mitts (for when we buy the mothers their stove!) etc.. items that although simple, were desperately needed at the centre.

So after a long day and our very last stop at the store to get those few items that I mentioned above we were done for  the day. We dropped of the paint at the centre and headed home to eat and like good Argentinians had dinner at 11:00pm. :)

last stop to pick up our bean bag chairs for the little ones and some much needed light bulbs and supplies

So with day 4 over I am off to bed as we have a early start and a whole host of painting to do tomorrow. The projects are coming together in an incredible manner and it is amazing to see how far the donations are going.

After buying a broom, lightbulbs and cups for the centre today I realized that we truly are helping to bring the centre to life from the bottom up.

Ill leave you with one last note as I sign off for now; at the meeting I asked the girls what they wanted to be when they were older? What did they feel they were working towards in their studies?

I could not stop smiling as I heard their responses, sitting in the run down room with few chairs and one small table the girls spoke one by one…Kindergarten Teacher, Musician, Lawyer, Gym Teacher, Librarian, History teacher, Singer… Inspirational, and even better, possible.

Hasta Mañana.

 

Books & Bienvenidos

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to our journey with the second half of the Health Here Help There project. We have been in Chaco for three days now and have lots to share with you now that we have internet! It has been a life changing journey since I first met this community it 2010 and I hope to share some of it with you. I hope that here you will be able to see truly how much of a difference your donations have made in the lives of this community and all the projects the funds have brought to life. I hope you enjoy this insight into the unfolding of the project!

Day 1 & 2:

We arrived and were greeted by the two wonderful women who volunteer their time with the community and put in endless amounts of time and love into helping these youth.

Greeted by Volunteers

We went to the centre to meet the girls and were greeted by the wonderful girls and boys and their grandmother Ana. Ana’s father was one of the great chiefs of the Qom people and the community of girls and boys are descendants of her and her 8 sisters.

Prior to our arrival the mothers had worked extremely hard cooking and selling local dishes to raise money for concrete to put in the desperately needed flooring

The centre with the new cement floors

After some discussion we decided as our first step to take the kids to the bookstore, we all walked together from their neighbourhood to the city centre, 30 minutes by foot, but a different world from the one they live in. Going to the store and buying books was a first for them. Each choose 2 books they wanted to have in the centres “library” and we bought those along with the other beautiful picture filled books we chose on Geography, Biology, History, and many other topics. It was a trip not to be forgotten.

Reading in the Bookstore

The girls could not get enough and loved browsing all the options

Picture books for the little ones!

A smile is worth a million words

The children’s section was an incredible

The smiles were priceless :)

Novels for the older girls including Romeo and Juliet, in spanish of course!

Team Work!

After the bookstore it was time to get to work sanding and painting the smaller room in the centre, what was once empty and grey, is now pretty in pink and will soon be furnished and filled with books to act s a reading room and library.

Everyone did their part and worked hard with smiles and giggles all around

Pretty in Pink

Helpers of all sizes

2 days and 2 coats of paint later the room was looking good!

2 coats later

Oh Canada!

With a few gifts from Canada we finished day 1 & 2, tired but extremely grateful to have the opportunity and help to contribute to making this community stronger and hopeful for the future. We were excited to see what day 3 would hold…


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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