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Cada Nino

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****NEW UPDATE*****
March 6, 2009
Thank you to all of you who contributed to my most recent efforts to assist those affected by the flooding in Panama.  Below are photos showing the boots and truckload of food that was purchased and went out to help the children of Los Valles and surrounding indigenous communities.  You made a difference.  Thank you for that.
 
November 2008
The villages of Los Valles have been devastated by the recent flooding in Western Panama.  Please read the letter I most recently sent out to friends and family.
 
Thank you and have a blessed holiday.

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Dear Friends & Family,
 
Many of you already knew me when I lived and worked with the villages of Altos del Valle and El Valle Abajo in Panama (collectively called Los Valles).  The time I spent sharing my life with the Ngobe Bugle people was probably the most inspiring and meaningful experience I have ever had.
 
This week much of the western part of Panama experienced incredibly severe rains, and consequently, tremendous amounts of flooding.  Among the areas hit were the communities of Los Valles.  To date there are more than 14,000 people who have lost their homes or been forced to leave them. Among the homes destroyed were many of those in Los Valles.  To me, these are just houses.  These are homes that I spent time in.  Doors that were once opened to me with incredibly and amazing generosity and kindness. 
 
I am still working to find out how many homes in Los Valles have been lost, but the count appears to be significant.
 
Since I left Panama I have maintained my efforts to assist them, but what the communities need now is above and beyond anything I have ever done.  The highways are destroyed and the villages cannot be accessed.  There are two Blackhawk helicopters that the US government has supplied to fly food and basic supplies into the area, but from the reports I have received from my contacts down there, there is an ongoing and desperate need for help.  Of utmost need is: clothing, baby formula, medical supplies, bedding, food, and monetary donations with which to purchase supplies.
 
I know that times are hard here.  I know there are a million disasters and causes every time you turn around  I know it's the holidays.  I never want you to read a message I send and feel obligated or feel bad.  I want you to support who, and what causes you believe in.  But I also know that I love these people, and that I will ask for help for them 5,000 times over.  And the truth is that as stressed as our economy might be right now, we've still got it pretty good in comparison (most people seem to be more worried they're going to eat too much tomorrow than that they won't have anything at all).  
 
The villages have little to nothing.  These communities are agriculturally based and the long term implications of this disaster on their local economy will be hard felt and long reaching.  With an average annual income of $400, rebuilding will be challenging at best.  They need help.  Especially right now.
 
If you have clothing or bedding or anything you think could help please contact me. If you live in the Los Angeles area I will come and pick it up from you.  It is of course easier to send money, but I will take anything you can give and I will get it to them.  I don't care what it costs me. I don't care what it entails.   (See below for donation details).
 
So much of our lives we spend separating "us" and "them".  We forget this is all "us".  Every disaster.  Every triumph. This flood.  Last week's fire.  Our most recent election.  It's all part of one amazing and never ending cycle of life and our shared human existence.  
 
We are one world, and truly one community.  Tomorrow is a day to be grateful for all that we have - for all that we share as well as for the all the ways that we are given to love one another in this world.  If you can help with this it will be, as it always is, very much appreciated.
 
Happy Thanksgiving.
 
Much love,
Jess
 
TO MAKE MONETARY DONATIONS GO TO www.powerof5.org and link to our PayPal account.
You can call me directly at 310-402-1793 to discuss any of this or to have me pick things up from you.
 
If you're on Facebook I have posted photos of Los Valles and the children, as well as photos of the flooding.

Hope is a smile.

 

Hope is a hand reaching out to help. 

 

Hope is a light where before there has only been darkness.

 

Our mission at Cada Nino is to bring hope and light to children who are have long been forgotten.   We work with various groups of indigenous children who live in the most remote parts of Panama, and until now, have received little to no outside support.  Quality of life is low for these children.   They suffer from severe malnutrition.  They live in squalid conditions with limited access to clean water and where sanitation is poor.    They have extremely limited access to health care and education. 

 

We are building programs to help these children.   Our mission is to address their most basic and pressing needs by concentrating on improving health and educational services.   Through our Feet First Program we provide children with one of the most basic of needs - shoes.   And through our educational program we hope to enable other children to reach further in the world by providing them with access to higher levels of education.   

 

We thank you for visiting our site and for supporting us in our work.   Together we will bring hope and light to every child.

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Hope for Every Child