As you wake up today, many of you will be facing a day of feasting and enjoying the family. Between now and January 2, you will probably gain a pound or two and may even become tired of turkey and stuffing and all of the foods of the season.
You will be sharing your time with family and friends and will begin thinking of what 2011 holds in store.
To all of you that read Chiriquí Chatter, I wish you the happiness that you deserve and a very prosperous 2011.
However, for some, this time of year is just like all of the other days that they survive. And many look at life as just a matter of surviving, if they are old enough to understand the concept. I got to thinking about this because of a recent visit I made with a couple friends of mine.
On December 23, Robert Hatting and Chris Smoot took me to visit Nutre Hogar in David.
Nutre translates to nurture in English. If you look up “nurture”, one of the definitions you will find is “to feed and protect”. That is just part of what this wonderful organization does around Panama for some of the most helpless of Panama’s inhabitants.
Nutre Hogar is located in several locations around Panama and their story and website can be found HERE.
As you will see from their website, Nutre Hogar has as one of its primary objectives
to help in the assistance, recovery and prevention of child malnutrition among Panamanian children. Nutre-Hogar’s principal objective is to save the lives of children from marginal areas who suffer from severe malnutrition. Nutre-Hogar provides them with an adequate nutrition and the necessary medical care so that they are able to recover and lead a normal life within their environment.
I invite any of you in the David area to visit their facility. If you can walk through this immaculately clean care giving location, for some of Panama’s future generation, and not leave with a lump in your throat and an ache in your heart, then I will be very surprised.
To get to Nutre Hogar, I will direct you from the Boulangerie Bakery. If you are driving toward the right, when facing the bakery, then you will eventually start seeing signs directing you to Nutre Hogar. You will eventually see a sign telling you to make a right. You will stay on this road until you see the following sign.
Above the child’s picture on the sign are the words. “Each Day Better”.
They were setting up for a Christmas party for the employees as we arrived. Nutre Hogar has thirty employees for the 40 children they take care of. They work in three 8 hour shifts. I could tell that each employee I met gave everything they had to their job and each showed extreme compassion for the children they cared for.
The three ladies that manage David’s Nutre Hogar are Melitza, Deysi and Carol. The following photo is of Carol and Melitza. I will meet Deysi on a future visit. Melitza was kind enough to give me a tour through the facility so that I could take photos and write this post.
One of the first things I noticed was how clean everything was. All of the beds, for the very young, were made of stainless steel.
Here is lovely little Anabel. You can see that she is a little over a year old now and has been here for a short period of time. Each child has its own name plate above the bed.
How long they stay is based on how long it takes to get them back to a “normal” nutritional state based on the following chart. The green scale is normal and most enter in the bottom most scale.
The following little girl is four years old and has been here about 3 months. Here condition has greatly improved since she came. She is crying because she misses her family. She had such a beautiful little face, but her arms and legs still show the effects of malnutrition.
Most families visit if they are close enough and can. If they can’t, then they call or are called by Nutre Hogar.
This was another little girl in the same room. What a sweet face she had. She had a beaming smile the entire time before I took her photo, but decided to get serious as the shutter closed.
We went to the laundry room. They keep three washers going all the time and two dryers. In the following photo, the machine on the left is a dryer and the three the right are washing machines.
These two are dryers, but the one on the left is broken and parts to fix it cannot be found. How handy are you?
This play area is used twice a day for the young ones. Some of you might enjoy being a volunteer to play with the children. The beds on the left of the photo are for an addition, that in progress, for 10 more children.
This is another area and has some therapy equipment and toys.
The grounds are very well kept. Nutre Hogar is on about a hectare of land. It is sufficient for them to have their own chickens for food and eggs, but when they tried doing that, the neighboring residents stole the chickens for food.
You can read the Nutre Hogar website and see the requirements that have to be satisfied for a child to be admitted. The age limits are from birth to 5 years. I did see two clients that were exceptions to the age limit. Both had been abandoned by their parents. One was badly crippled and about 10 years old. The other was blind and deaf.
Both abandoned by parents, but both receiving love from Nutre Hogar.
So let me close this post this way. As you go forward into what I hope will be a very joyous time for you and your family, remember that there are others that are less fortunate. If you live in Chiriquí, I would invite you to visit Nutre Hogar as I did. You might want to call the numbers on the following card or send an email to see what you can bring that would help them.
Their monthly expenses run at $18,000. That included the salaries for the employees, and all other expenses. In the past one of their largest contributors was UNICEF. However, with the problems in Haiti, Panama’s funding has been cut off I am told.
Nutre Hogar can take physical donations or monetary donations. If you want you can stop by a local HSBC and deposit money into the Nutre Hogar Account (0100971093). If you do that, send an email to email@example.com letting them know of your donation and that you learned about them on Chiriquí Chatter.
If you live in the US and want to make a donation, either of money or item, you can contact me and I will provide you my Paypal account. I will either give them the money and receive a receipt (in your name) that I will send you, or I will purchase the items you desire and take them to the facility (again sending you a copy of the receipt of the purchased goods).
This is the time of year to feel good and to do good. There are plenty of opportunities to help worthy organizations in Panama. This one is a perfect example.
I would like to thank Robert and Chris for introducing me to Nutre Hogar. They have become a fixture around Nutre Hogar and should receive some well deserved recognition for the good they are doing. Recently they assisted getting an air-conditioning unit for the facility. I tip my hat to Robert and Chris.
UPDATE September 15, 2011: I am adding a driving video to help you find Nutre Hogar in David, Chiriquí.