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February 2024

Board Members Barbara Land, Tia Flores, Maryan Tooker, Mark Schreir, along with CJ Walters and Marcene Rebeck travelled to the jungle this past February. It was a heartbreaking trip as we said goodbye to Sally Ahuanari Panduro, age 17, who died in February from a short battle with Leukemia. Sally has been in our NBHF program since the age of six. Our team took photos from the past and present to Carina and Daniel, Sally’s parents in her honor and memory. The people of the jungle have no access to cameras, the only photos of Sally are of what NBHF holds near and dear in our records. Sally’s long-time sponsor, Rae Mangat, sent a video recording to the family of her heart-felt sorrow for the loss of Sally. Sally was in our first graduating class this December 2024, she will be honored during the graduation ceremony.

Shortly after arriving to the community, the NBHF team was invited to the official inauguration of the new high school in Ayacucho Village. The affair was celebrated by members from all three communities who have children attending high school. The new high school and the Ryan Watson Center are officially built and are ready to receive students this March.

Tia Flores conducted a women’s artisan workshop in San Juan de Yanayacu and Ayacucho Villages. Tia distributed much needed and important tools to the women in two communities to help them better their craft-making. The women love Tia and are counting the days to her return. This trip Tia inspired the young girls of the communities to start their own path to creativity. With Tia’s inspiration and help, the girls are very excited to begin their own way to craft-making.

Maryan Tooker has travelled to the jungle for the second year in a row to make a documentary about NBHF’S work in the three jungle communities. Maryan is also collecting video footage as we prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of Ryan Watson with the building of the Ryan Watson Center. Maryan inspired and delighted the children of San Juan as she taught them how to use her camera equipment. She is a loved member of our team, Maryan’s kindness and generosity is infectious to all who know her. Maryan sponsors a little boy in San Juan.

Mark Schreir also came to the jungle for the second time to work with our team and to meet his sponsored child, Luis Pedro. Luis is a graduating senior and the class president of our first graduating class. Mark and Luis Pedro spent quality time together chatting in both English and Spanish. Mark was a great inspiration not only to Luis Pedro but to the other high school students he met as well. Mark will travel to Peru this December and present Luis Pedro with his diploma. Mark sponsors two boys in our program.

Marcene Rebeck is a midwife, and during her time in the communities, she examined one of our expectant mothers and assured her and her husband that mother and baby were healthy, and the baby would be born soon! Marcene worked tirelessly each day measuring feet and checking uniform sizes.  She had an instant bond with both the children and women of the communities. In February, Marcene sponsored two children in San Juan de Yanayacu, she had the opportunity to spend quality time and get to know her children and their families. We thank Marcene for all her hard work.

CJ Walters is a valued patroness of our foundation, and for the past several years, CJ has funded all the boots for all the children in all three communities. As we witnessed this trip, the danger of poisonous snakes is a lived reality for the people. We are so grateful in knowing that countless children’s lives have been saved by her generous donation of boots. CJ was very helpful in measuring children’s feet and organizing all the data we were collecting as we get ready to purchase the children’s uniforms. CJ has been sponsoring Estafita since she was a young girl, CJ and Estafita got to know each other and spend time together. The interaction between CJ was beyond words and very touching to watch.

Barbara Land brought the entire community of San Juan de Yanayacu to Grand Amazon lodge to be present for a Zoom meeting with JVA Water Engineers, Rosemary Wright, and the Rotary Club of Colorado. The community learned that having a clean water system for their village would happen in 2024. Thank you to Rosemary, (NBHF Board Member) Josh and Peter (JVA Water Engineers) for this project. It was estimated that 80% of illness in the communities is due to the drinking of the dirty river water.

We knew that the new high school in Ayacucho Village would be a magnet to the communities someday. That someday is now! We registered 34 new students who will be attending schools in San Juan and Ayacucho Village. The greatest influx of students will be new students attending the new high school. The parents want their children to receive the gift of education, a gift not afforded to them. These new students and their parents are excited about this new educational opportunity and are grateful beyond words.

With the building of the high school in Ayacucho Village, we thought as board members of NBHF, we could take a break and breathe a sigh of relief. Well, no chance! After a communal meeting with the authorities and the people of San Juan, we were informed that our boat, US DANI, would no longer hold the 22 students now attending school in Ayacucho. We built this boat in 2021 to transport the high school children daily to school. We watched these young teenagers drive very small boats through dangerous river currents and thick water vegetation. The Board of NBHF, along with our patron, Linda Osmond Wirth, purchased a boat to ensure the safe transportation of the children living in San Juan. This boat made of wood is no longer strong nor big enough to transport the children. In 2024, we will begin a campaign to build the US DANI 2, which will be made of aluminum and be much larger.

The 2024 NBHF team, thanks and acknowledges our foundation partner, Grand Amazon Tours. The lodge provided us with a beautiful and safe place to stay, delicious and healthy food to eat, and finally, a loving and caring staff who ensured all our needs were met and then some! Without the support of Grand Amazon Tours, the NBHF projects would not be possible.

We thank all our patrons and sponsors for supporting the Nevada Building Hope Foundation. Without your constant support, our projects would be possible. The next team will leave for the jungle, June 2024.


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