The Guarderia “Casa Maria” in Morazan, a canteen for the very young
We in Europe may not always be aware that the environment in which children and young people live in Honduras – and in so many other Latin American countries – is characterized by the cessation of the school system since March 2020. There is apparently no plan to return to school until the start of the school year in February 2022, which means that there will be almost no schooling for two years, except for a few 15-17 year olds and the more affluent children who have been able to work online intermittently.
For a year, from March 2020 to March 2021, the closure of the Guarderia for lockdown was accompanied by a tiring operation to help families, often single parents, by buying and making dry food parcels and distributing chickens and basic necessities, which Carmen courageously led.
Since March 2021, this scheme has also broken down and Carmen told us that many of the families who put their children in the Guarderia have migrated to the US and Canada. Honduras has also experienced a resurgence of Covid since August 2021, and the efforts of both the parish and the municipality of El Negrito have been focused on helping the sick. Hope is emerging with vaccination gradually, but slowly, and with great delay.
Carmen therefore decided to temporarily suspend the Guarderia’s activity in April 2021, as the disorganization was so great and the needs of the families difficult to manage. Our help has also been suspended, pending a resumption of activity which will probably be – we hope – at the beginning of the school year, in February 2022. Of course, the accounts are not closed and under control, the premises are under surveillance. We have to accept this situation, which is very distressing for us, and prepare ourselves to accompany the resumption with tact at the beginning of the year 2022…
Santa Ana Nutritional and Medical Centre, El Negrito
A few kilometers away, in El Negrito, the Santa Ana center continues to receive children suffering from severe malnutrition, as this need, unfortunately, is increasing… The reorganization of the management of the center had been the subject of several decisions in 2020 in the direction of a strengthening of the teams and a stronger commitment of a lay management, because the Franciscan sisters no longer have sufficient operational human resources. Sister Annie and Sister Suyapa are still in charge of the center and the finances. Sister Annie, who is also responsible for the Congregation in France, must at the same time animate the discernment of the future of the Congregation and is brought to Nantes regularly. At the center in 2021, it was necessary to change leaders again following the departure of several lay people, Luisito, Juanita and Jacobo.
Today, Julio Ochoa is the full-time director, assisted by Carla and Lesly. The medical and paramedical team is very involved, and has a solid team of several educators and care assistants, as well as a psychologist, the nurse Alba, the lady from the pharmacy, around the faithful Dr Julio Aguilar, who ensures the continuity of the medical center since the beginning. Real work on re-nutrition and nutritional quality is also underway.
There are always more than 15 children at any one time, with peaks of up to 20 children depending on the length of time they are hospitalized.
There have been many successes on a human level, including:
- Little Delmis, intubated, whom the team takes to the hospital in Tegucigalpa every week and who is finally getting better,
- and also Vilma and her two boys, Pablito and Ever, who are gradually becoming independent after months spent in the center
- Also a young man of 18 years old, a former child who had been abandoned by his parents and who has just found his family more than 10 years after this separation, thanks to Julio and Lesly’s research!
More than ever, the Santa Ana center needs our two ABJ associations to be united to support them. At the end of 2021, we are joined by some generous donors from the Santa Ana association in Caen, another member of the M.I.A.E. and an association which has to close. These donors are welcome among us, we are happy to welcome them. They have been supporting the beautiful work of the Santa Ana center in El Negrito for much longer than Amiguitos and Bailando Juntos!