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Esperança Announces New Board Member

Esperança is pleased to announce Francisco Tort has joined the organization’s board of directors.

Francisco is a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley.  He’s been in the financial services industry for 10 years and his primary focus is on helping successful individuals, families and businesses protect, grow and transfer wealth.

He is a graduate of the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering.  Francisco is a former chairman of the Anthem Community council’s Fiscal and Resource Management Committee, and current serves on the Board of the Arts Council of the North Valley and is a member of the Anthem Rotary Club.

“Francisco has travelled extensively within Latin America and has a great appreciation of our mission and how we assist those in need,” said, Jared Leslie, director of development for Esperança.  “We’re looking forward to having him on the board and know he will provide valuable insight.”

For interest in board service please contact Jared Leslie at 602-252-7772 ext 101


Juliet and Her Journey















It’s called a “faucet.” It brings you water, fresh, clean, safe water.

Imagine taking all your faucets away. No more water. When you want water — and you will certainly want water, probably very soon — you have to go find it. Wherever it is.

This was Juliet’s life. She lives in a thatch-roofed hut in Mozambique, in southeast Africa and is the caregiver of her four young grandchildren.

In her 70’s, Juliet has to walk an hour and 15 minutes to the nearest water source, scoop water into buckets, then trudge another hour and 15 minutes back with her load. She managed to carry 20 liters at a time — imagine lugging 10 two-liter bottles of soda.

To care for herself and her little ones, she needed water for cooking, washing clothes and dishes, preparing food, and a bath for just one of the children — she needed 60 liters of water a day. That’s three round trips. Seven and a half hours a day. For water. Something had to change… and something big happened because of you.

Thanks to the compassion and generosityof friends like you, Esperança arrived. We located a clean water source underground, and then instructed the villagers on how to install a new, reliable water-pumping system right in their own village.

It now takes Juliet seven and a half minutes to get there and collect her much needed clean water.

Today, her grandchildren can get a bath as often as they need one. They’re healthier, too. And they’re not alone. The whole village has been transformed.

I’m writing to inform you that your support will help it happen again in another village. Without clean, safe, readily available water, people suffer. Children get sick from disease ridden, polluted water. They grow weak from diarrhea which causes them to miss school.

Donations to Esperanҫa will help us construct a new water-pumping system in another village like Juliet’s.

We’ll work up the plans. We’ll bring in the materials, and the villagers will dig the well, install the pump and assemble the whole apparatus under our direction.

We’ll teach all the neighbors about hygiene, about clean water vs. dirty water, and about keeping themselves and their children healthy.

The long hours of hiking to the watering hole will be over.

The water project you sponsor today will get children back in school … and education will be the key to escaping the cycle of poverty.

Call it water’s “ripple effect.”




The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Grants $15,000 to Expand Esperança’s Health Education Programs

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, in partnership with the NFL Foundation and the Arizona Community Foundation has awarded grant funding in the amount of $15,000 to Esperança for Salud con Sabor Latino para los Ninos (Health with a Latin Flavor).  The funding provided will allow Esperança staff to provide health-related preventative education programs, including obesity prevention, oral health and chronic disease management to underserved families who live in Central Phoenix or the neighborhoods that line the I-17 corridor.

“Through the Salud con Sabor Latino para los Ninos program, children in central Phoenix have participated in oral health education workshops and training,” said Jared Leslie, Development Director. “In addition, 75 families have graduated from the obesity prevention curriculum and 80 children, ages 10-14, learned about the appropriate portion size and fun ways to be more active.  Our Salud con Sabor Latino para los Ninos program gives children the information needed to make better lifestyle choices.  We’re extremely grateful for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s support.”

To learn more about Esperança’s domestic programs or make a donation, contact Jared Leslie, development director at (602)252-7772 EXT. 101.




Annual Skeeter McFee Golf Tournament

The annual Skeeter McFee tournament is Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 7 a.m. to noon. It benefits many worthy charities that the Phoenix Squaw Peak Rotary Club proudly supports. Esperança has been a past recipient and would like to encourage donors, supporters and friends to participate! The four-person scramble is being played at Stonecreek Golf Course, located west of Tatum Blvd, north of Shea Blvd. To register for this fun and worthwhile event, visit: http://squawpeakrotary.com/skeeter-mcfee-2015/.


Have you met John?

Have you met John?

You should meet John. He’s four. You saved his life. He was a normal, playful little boy, living outside Jinotega in  Nicaragua.

But he started complaining of pain in his stomach. Maybe a bit of bad food, his mother figured. But the pains kept coming — and kept getting worse. John’s energy drained away. He stopped playing. He stopped smiling. They went to a local doctor, but he couldn’t figure out the source of the little boy’s terrible, mysterious pain. His mother found another doctor, and yet another. No luck there either. What they didn’t know was that John had an unusual “mesenteric cyst” deep inside his small intestine — a problem so rare, only 820 cases have been reported anywhere worldwide.

This is a cyst that can perforate the intestine — start internal hemorrhaging — infection — tissue death — and trigger two deadly forms of cancer. But your love stepped in … and rewrote the ending. Your generous support of Esperança enabled us to send a pediatric mission to Jinotega. Dr. Custer and his team looked at John and saw trouble. They scheduled surgery for the very next day. In an intense and complicated operation, three surgeons worked together to remove a very large cyst from a very small boy. Little John was a trouper. After three days of post-op observation, he was back to his old self … laughing, chattering,

playing. His mother could not stop thanking the doctors — and thanking God — for sparing her son’s life.

He’ll turn five soon … thanks to you.





Jinotega for Esperanҫa: Mission Possible

craig story













From the desk and comments from Robert Craig – Esperanҫa Boardmember and Esperanҫa Traveler

Three days after surgery to correct a disfiguring cleft lip, nine year-old Gabriela broke her silence. Accompanied by an adult neighbor from her village, she walked from the pediatric ward and sat at the nurse’s station where members of Dr. Nick Retson’s volunteer surgical team huddled daily to manage surgical supplies and nurse the recovering patients’ incisions to ensure proper healing before their often long journeys home.

The shy girl who arrived five days earlier for evaluation with her hand always covering her face spoke through her interpreter who said, “Gabriela wants to know if she can give you a hug.” This is when you know that Esperanҫa transforms lives.

This February I will return to Jinotega with my wife Robin who will photograph the work of Esperanҫa and their partner AVODEC. Our mission is to help tell the stories of the people we serve through surgical missions and community development projects.

My previous trip with the volunteer surgical team was a true light, to see how everyone plays a role to create a successful mission. You have the surgical teams that dedicate their skill and time away from their offices and patients back home, responsible for bringing all surgical supplies and paying all international travel and local in-country costs. Next is the local partner, AVODEC, who provides local medical mission management. Led by Luis Lanzas, the Medical Mission Coordinator, AVODEC maintains Esperanҫa’s relationship with the hospital ensuring they are prepared to allocate the necessary facilities and extra local medical staff.

But perhaps the most important task is to find the people most in need of surgery—the kind not available to local doctors and surgeons—and bring them to the hospital. From the start of the mission surgical teams hit the ground running, and they want candidates pre-selected, ready for triage on day one, with as many surgeries as time will allow. This requires AVODEC/Esperanҫa to ensure that the people in need are there and ready to have their lives transformed by our surgeons.

The Jinotega Department (think of a “state”) is the largest of Nicaragua’s 15 departments. It stretches from the city of Jinotega on the southern end to the Honduran border and the huge Bosawas Natural Reserve which makes up almost half of this department. To find patients for the different types of surgery, Mr. Lanzas and Dr. David Quezada travel for days, by truck, by foot, and on the rivers by “cayuco”, a motorized wooden longboat, stopping to visit villages in some of the most remote parts of Central America.

This is where you find people with the most severe cleft lips and palates.  Clefts are birth defects with a strong genetic component and wide variation between different ethnic groups. Native Central Americans not only have one of the highest incidences of clefts, but also the most severe. When Luis and David reach the far edge of Jinotega district, a three day 280 km journey down Rio Coco bordering Honduras toward the North Atlantic Autonomous Region of Nicaragua, they are in an area populated by indigenous people with distinct ethnicity, language and culture. And their children suffer disproportionately from clefts.

These are the people most in need. People who subsist on farming and fishing, and may have never seen a hospital, People with limited means to travel great distances. As Dr. Retson says, “these are exactly the people I want to treat.”

On February 19 Robin and I will board our flight for Managua on our way to Jinotega. AVODEC has graciously agreed to take us on this journey to the villages to find more patients for Dr. Retson. On this upcoming mission he is bringing two dentists, who will add another valuable dimension to the work of restoring patients to good health. We may also be reunited with Gabriela and her dad in her remote village in the Miskito region.

As a board member of Esperanҫa, I am grateful for the opportunity to see how our donors contribute to the incredible team effort that has made possible over 7 surgical missions in Jinotega last year alone, transforming the lives of 265 patients and their families, and spreading goodwill from our communities in the USA as those patients return to their families, schools, and communities.


Esperança’s CADEP Program Recognized

Esperança’s program partner CADEP in Peru was recently nominated for an award for its ecological housing program in the COP 20, which is a United Nations sponsored Climate Conference that took place in Lima. They received 400 applications and CADEP ranked 7th overall!

The CADEP Program that Esperança supports provides food security and housing improvements to thousands of people in Peru. The partnership started in 2014 and has seen great results! So far, Esperança has accomplished:

  • Distribution of seeds re-introducing native crops to benefit 778 families in cold, mountainous regions where food is hard to grow; this also included training and technical support.
  • Additionally, they constructed 49 ecological homes in four rural highland communities benefitting 49 families directly and 13, 250 people indirectly through training and workshops on home building and associated projects such as irrigation, more efficient farming practices and efficient use of local resources for home and land improvement projects.

Join us in congratulating our partnership in Peru on this outstanding recognition! To learn more about the CADEP program or make a donation, contact Jared Leslie at 602-252-772 ext 101 or email jared@esperanca.org



Esperança To Benefit From CitySolve Urban Race Phoenix

Tickets are on sale now for the CitySolve Urban Race Phoenix on Saturday, March 21, 2015.  This adventure race is a mash up of The Amazing Race and pub trivia. Teams of four people solve ten clues centered on pop-culture and face fun interactive activities all over Phoenix.  This Phoenix Amazing Race style scavenger hunt might take you and your friends through Encanto, Downtown, Uptown and many great places in between.


Tickets are $25 each until January 27 and will increase to $65 on race day.  Esperança is proud to announce we will receive $8 from each registration for the event.  Grab your friends, colleagues or family and register in teams of four and help raise money for Esperança.


For more information or to register for the run, visit: www.citysolveurbanrace.com/cities/phoenix_az/

CitySolve (5 of 85)



Cacao… Transforming Lives?

cacao in hands













What is the best way to learn something new? You learn from the best! Juan is one of the finest farmers in Jinotega, Nicaragua.  He has dedicated his life to agriculture and the production of basic grains. At 63 years of age, his wife and 8 children support Juan in his work and his service to the community as a health volunteer, church leader and Esperança volunteer. today he and his family are pillars of leadership in the community. But, there was a time when Juan and his family were barely surviving, living with limited resources. He had no hope of additional income for a better quality of life.  Little did Juan know, but Cacao also known as chocolate was going to transform his family’s life.

In 2011 Juan took a chance, and because of your support he was selected to be a part of a new organic cacao project. The goal of the project was to introduce organic cacao growing to farmers in rural Nicaragua, creating an opportunity for  economic  growth for the benefiting families. Right from the beginning of the project we could see the leadership of Juan’s experience and passion as a farmer emerge. He quickly became the leader of the farmers benefiting from the organic cacao program.

He organized program beneficiaries into groups of 10 farmers per community served by this project. After Juan went through the training on growing the new crop, he provided training and technical assistance to other growers, volunteered to prepare the land with them, and helped clean and disinfect it in preparation for organic growing.

Juan used his years of experience growing other crops to recommend supplies such as bio-fertilizers and natural insecticides. Once the seed growing period had been completed, the cacao trees needed to be properly cared for in order for them to produce. Through this time Juan dedicated himself to ensuring that the cacao seedlings were tended properly. His wife María was alongside him during this whole time, in the fields with him, at meetings with him. She did this to show that she supported this new effort for their family.

Now we arrive at 2014-2015 when the cacao trees have reached maturity and are starting to produce. These cash crops need access to the local markets and that is where Juan’s and his family’s hard work is paying off. With your help Esperanca is now building a storage and processing facility that will allow Juan and other growers to store and market their cacao! Juan is thrilled now that he is able to earn a living and market his product at a good price. With his hard work and dedication, he has been able to expand his plot of land, which will yield more cacao plants and beans with each growing season. This will increase his income and bring a better quality of life to his whole family while at the same time continuing to increase his production year after year.



Esperança Announces New Office Manager Flor Chavez

Esperança is pleased to announce Flor Chavez has joined the organization as office manager.

Flor will be responsible for coordinating all meetings and functions for the Board of Directors, overseeing all aspects of office administration and providing administrative support to the CEO, program and administrative staff.

Flor de Maria’s most recent positions were with FACES of Crisis Nursery and The Salvation Army: Phoenix Central Corps.  Chavez holds a Bachelor of Science in Nonprofit Leadership & Management from Arizona State University and an Associate of Arts in Elementary Education.   She also holds a Certified Nonprofit Professional Certificate (CNP).



Esperança is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS rules and regulations.