Cuenca’s Hogar Esperanza continues its work in Esmeraldas helping flood victims

Jul 4, 2023 | 0 comments

By Garry Vatcher

Valeria is four years old and our team found her sitting on the ground, playing with a doll and humming John Lennon’s song, Imagine.  She just heard it playing on an old radio that she saved from the flood. She has no TV or cell phone, and this old radio is all she has. Cesar knelt down beside her and noticed she was pretending that she was putting Band-Aids on the doll. Imagining.

She got up and followed the team into the house as we were delivering food to her grandma, who she lives with since her parents abandoned her. She wiped the tears away as she recalled the horror of that day. She was outside when the waters came rushing down and grandma was taking a nap. “Grandma, Grandma,” she screamed, waking her up. The waters were up to little Valeria’s waist. Grandma picked her up and ran.

Valeria saw so many injured with no one to help. So much destruction. She decided then and there that she was going to be a nurse so she could help others.

Dante is three years old. His mother is a woman of faith and on Sunday, she frequently goes out and helps the neighbors. Dante has a disability and cannot walk. Due to poverty, she has been unable to get Dante the medical treatment he needs so he could walk. On that day, the other children were supposed to be watching Dante, but they were down the road playing soccer. Dante is a happy child and he like to play by himself. When the floods came, no one could make it back to the house to rescue Dante.

Other neighbors escaping saw Dante in the house, the water was already up to his neck, and they rescued him. Dante now clings to his mother all the time. He is afraid to let go of her. When we arrived, they didn’t have a grain of rice in the house. They had no food. They were so excited that we brought them food. One of the boys couldn’t stop smiling because he said he was so hungry and now could eat.

Every day, people wait. Hoping that someone will come and help them. Many of these areas have received very little assistance. Quite often, we are the only ones who show up.

We bring food and Esperanza (Hope). For those of us from North America we are now celebrating. July 1, Canada celebrates its unification into a country and on July 4 the United States celebrates its independence. We are grateful for what we have, our freedoms, the opportunities we have and good standard of living.

For many in Esmeraldas, they have little to celebrate. With crushing poverty and now this disaster, many are left with no hope and few opportunities. We are asking you to join with Hogar de Esperanza and share with them what we have. In the next few weeks, I will be visiting our team there. I am hoping to bring at least 500 hygiene kits for the children.  For each $20 you donate, we will provide a kit for a child and food for their family. We want you to connect with them in a special way, so we are asking that either you or us will write your name on the kit we provide to the child. Each kit will have a special message of encouragement. We will then send you a picture of the child you helped.

We have been doing emergency relief work for seven years now and we know that these little things we do, gives so much encouragement and hope to those who have so little. It gives children the ability to imagine, to have dreams and the strength to thrive. Let’s give them some hugs.

How can you help?

Financial contributions are the most effective. You can make a donation here: https://foundationhogardeesperanza-bloom.kindful.com/?campaign=1260476

Other donation options can be found here: https://hogaresperanza.org/en/donations/

Not all can make a financial contribution but would like to help. If you have items, you no longer need, no matter what they are, we can use them. We will sort through the donations received and determine what is suitable to send, when possible, and what would be better suited to sell in our Thrift Shop to turn into cash to support those in need. You can contact us at info@hogaresperanza.org to arrange a pickup of items.

Natural disasters are unavoidable. They affect those living in poverty the most as they are forced to live in areas that have less infrastructure and support to mitigate disasters. We are grateful to the expat community that allows us to partner with various Ecuadorian agencies to support the most vulnerable among us. Thank you on behalf of Valeria, Dante and the thousands of others we will support and assist with your help.

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