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Nevada Building Hope Foundation - Arts, Education, and Humanitarian Aid

We would like again to thank all our sponsors (from around the world) for funding every child attending school in Ayacucho Village! All 65 children in the Kindergarten and the Primary School now go to school in a uniform, (slacks and shirts for the boys) and (blouses and skirts for the girls) wear shoes, (school shoes, croc type shoes, tennis shoes, and rubber boots, shorts). New this year the children received, sports shirts/shorts for physical education, undergarments and school supplies. Our children received all that was needed for a full year of education. We would like to acknowledge and thank our Iquitos-based attorneys who organize all our purchases and who do an amazing job in preparing each packet for each child, making the distribution very easy.

In October, we met with each family living in the Village of San Juan Yanayacu. This is a very small community with 30 children attending school. I am happy to report, with the generosity of the Sikh Society of Reno, nearly every child living in San Juan has a sponsor for the 2019-20 school year! NBHF is very grateful to nurse, child sponsor, and one of our greatest advocates, Rae Mangat for her support in our medical mission and with her help in sponsoring the children living in the community of San Juan Yanayacu.

Women’s Project

In February of 2018, NBHF provided the funds for the construction of a women’s artisan house in Ayacucho Village. The house was completed in March 2018 and was immediately used by the women to co-operatively work on projects and to sell their crafts. In the summer of 2018, Nevada Building Hope Foundation was honored to have internationally renowned artist, Tia Flores, join us as we travelled to Ayacucho Village. Tia, conducted a ten-day workshop for the women of Ayacucho and provided them with new skills and strategies for working with gourds naturally found in the area. In October, we found the ladies working on their craft and the new skills they learned from Tia. Tia will be returning to Peru in March, 2019, and will also teach ladies of San Juan Yanayacu these same skills and strategies for working with gourds.

The selling of these crafts, baskets, carvings, and various types of jewelry provide the women with an income they otherwise would not have. This new source of income provides the women with the ways and means to better serve the lives of their families and give them a stronger voice in the community.

Medical Mission

In October 2018, Shawna Zorio, Vice President of NBHF, and Rae Mangat, both registered nurses from Reno, Nevada, conducted a week-long wellness/medical mission. The outcome of this mission includes the following information. This information was shared with our partners at the University of Nevada, School of Public Health and Tulane University, School of Science and Engineering.

The research activities we conducted and implemented for Ayacucho Village and San Juan Yanayacu Villages were to a) assess wellness b) identify risk factors c) identify at risk populations. We assessed each women and child for height/weight and body mass index ratio, checked hemoglobin levels on female’s post-menstruation, and blood sugars of all adults. What we found was that the children are in generally good health; maintaining healthy weights, average growth development, well-nurtured, extremely happy, and are socially active children as a whole. The risk factors for the children are poor dentition- multiple cavities in both primary and secondary teeth. Also seen were skin disorders and rashes throughout all populations of children. The women were the most vulnerable population, they presented high risk factors for such disease processes as diabetes, anemia, and cardiovascular disease. These risk factors include: obesity (High BMI), hypertension, five women with elevated blood sugar (the highest at 400), and wide-spread anemia. (The hemoglobin’s ranged from 5.5-9.1). The women averaged approximately 4 pregnancies; with 12-14 pregnancies at the peak. They suffer heavy menstrual periods, lack of iron-rich foods, and inadequate clean water supply that leads to chronic dehydration and gastrointestinal issues. Almost every adult complained of “dizziness”, “headaches” which could be related to both anemia/and or dehydration. There were approximately six men that participated in our program; these men had issues ranging from chronic muscular skeletal deformities, probable eye cancer, and chronic flank pain possibly related to dehydration, and potential cardiovascular disease related to untreated hypertension. - Shawna Zorio, Registered Nurse and NBHF Board Vice-President

The information obtained from this mission will be evaluated by our partners at the University of Nevada, Reno, Tulane University, and medical professionals living in Reno, Nevada.

Dance, Arts, and Education

For the past two years, NBHF has been presenting movement classes in the village of Ayacucho. The Gazette, the official journal of the Royal Academy of Dancing, London, England, published an article about this pioneer arts program in the Amazon Jungle. NBHF has received world-wide recognition for this program, the only one of its kind in the Amazon. NBHF received a generous donation of shoes and dancewear from Bloch Corporation and Judy’s Dance in Reno, Nevada. Reno Dance Company, a local ballet company in Reno, Nevada, donated dance wear, shoes, and other dance items to the dancers in Ayacucho Village. NBHF thanks Lesa Dusich and Donald Mahoney and the staff of Reno Dance Company for their kind and generous donation.

In Iquitos City, dance wear and shoes were donated to ballet students of Sorella Melina Salazar Braga with Escuela Art Dance – Peru. The students are working very hard learning the Royal Academy of Dancing Syllabus with Barbara Land. Currently in place, are Royal Academy of Dancing Grades, Pre-Primary, Primary, Grade One, Two and Three. Sorella will come to Reno in February, 2019 to study with Miriam Allen from the Conservatory of Movement in Reno, Nevada the strategies for teaching the Royal Academy of Dancing Syllabus. NBHF thanks Bloch Corporation, Judy’s Dance and Reno Dance Company for their generous donation of dancewear and shoes to the dancers in Iquitos City, Peru.

The Secondary School in Ayacucho Village

The people living in this part of the world are some of the poorest in human society today. They live on what they can farm and fish with little or no income. These communities are isolated from the cities, they struggle to get all they need to survive. We have had many meetings with community regarding the building of the school. Our first task was to find suitable land in the village that does not have excessive flooding during high water-season.

This was done in February 2018, the land was cleared and photographed. A copy of a land title providing the permission to build school and a signed copy of the community requesting the school was obtained. NBHF paid an Engineer in Iquitos this past July to create blue prints and a budget for the school. Barbara Land had a meeting with the Engineer and NBHF now has both the blue prints and budget for the proposed school. Barbara Land, a representative of Curassow Lodge, the Mayor, and the PTA president from Ayacucho Village had a meeting with the Department of Education in Iquitos. On that day, the Minister of Education granted permission to NBHF to seek the funds for the high school in Ayacucho Village and committed three teachers to the school. A great victory for our team. We are now seeking foundations who can support us in the building of this school. We thank Alfredo Dosantos and Patrizia Marchese, from the Amazon Discovery Lodge, in their partnership with this project.

Final Comments and Thoughts

In October, Barbara Land and Weninger (Weny) Pinedo Flores (official NBHF guide) visited every family in Ayacucho Village. During this visit, they were able to provide clothing to every child and mother in the community. Visiting with each family is always the highlight of Barbara’s visits to Ayacucho Village. Barbara and Weninger met a family from Columbia now living in Ayacucho Village. This young family came to Ayacucho with nothing only what they could hold in a small boat. Included in this family, are six children, one of which is severally disabled. Barbara and Weninger provided the family with much needed clothing and had several meetings with the family and the school principal. NBHF will pay for the children to be Baptized in Iquitos City, thus giving them documents in order to obtain permanent residence status in Peru. It is only with the help and support of Martin da Silva Saavedra, owner of Curassow Lodge and Walter Navarro Paredes, Ayacucho School Principal, can this help be given to the young family.

Again, as in the past, we learned that some of our NBHF families left the community. Reasons such as death, illness, and lack of support of close family members are all valid reasons causing a family to move. We thank our sponsors for being flexible and understanding that there is always the possibility of a change in their sponsor child. The parents are very appreciative of their child’s sponsor’s support, and look forward to sending letters and gifts each June to their child’s sponsor as a token of their support.

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