Dear SAMS

Having met up yesterday with friends from our time in Paraguay, including one of our Paraguayan teaching colleagues, I realised I haven’t been in touch with you about the Esperanza Foster Home since last Christmas. There has been some very exciting news recently as twin girls F and F have been matched for adoption with another ex teaching colleague of ours, Gloria, and her husband. Gloria is an amazing person, not least because she was one of only a few survivors of the terrible supermarket fire in Asuncion in 2004. Although her survival seemed miraculous, she spent a long time in hospital. She now teaches some of the poorest children in the city and we believe she will be a wonderful mum. Siblings M and J remain in the Esperanza home and have been joined now by one year old L who arrived with bronchitis but who has made a good recovery and has just learnt to walk.

Inocencia remains committed as the main foster mum, working long hours, but it has been difficult to find the right helper for her so, if you pray, this would be a good point to include. On the plus side, Inocencia has had  help from some local volunteers this year and donations of clothes and nappies have come from parents at the San Andres school where we used to work. One aim of the project is to become less dependent on help from abroad and, although your donations are still very much needed, Esperanza has now managed to get independent charitable status in Paraguay which we are hoping will help in terms of donations from within the country. The ladies who run the home ran an Open Day back in April and encouraged visitors to consider giving on a regular basis. We hear that a few people have already committed to doing so. In theory, the State Adoption Centre should be providing all the milk for the Esperanza children but sadly we hear this is rarely the case.

You may have seen in the news that the people of Paraguay suffered terrible floods earlier this year and thousands lost their homes, many of them from the area of Asuncion where Esperanza is based. Thankfully, the home itself wasn’t affected and in fact is benefitting from a new roof.

As always, we are so grateful to you for enabling the project to continue and make a very real difference to children’s lives. The hot weather we’ve been enjoying recently has often made us think of life in Paraguay, although these temperatures are more likely to be experienced in winter than summer over there. Our children find that hard to believe!

Those of you who know us personally may like to know that we are all well – the children are growing up so fast with Alber going through a growth spurt and going in to Year 11 in September, Jack to Year 9 and Luli to Year 6 – only one more year of trawling up the hill to the little Primary where they have all been very happy. Murray is still teaching at Kingham and will be Head of a boys day house in September. I have just started a new role supporting adoptive families in Gloucestershire with anything relating to education and find myself drawing on my experience with the children of Esperanza and of course closer to home !

We wish you all the very best for a great summer.

Love

Penny and Murray