Jessica 15th birthday at Posada

We received this news from our friend and fellow board member Tachi Cazal:

Dear friends:
As we start this new year, I want to wish you all the best in 2018. I am sure the year will bring us happiness and challenges.  And as we deal with our challenges, it is always important to remember the tremendous impact of the work that  Claire and Richard started in memory of Emily and that you all do and support in Manitos.  It is tough to see these sick children fight for their life but we all bring to them comfort, dignity and smiles. And there are so many stories to tell..
I want to share today with you a story about the Posada Emily that happened yesterday. Jessica has cancer and almost two months ago she arrived at the Posada  because she is following her chemotherapy treatment. She lives far away from the hospital  and it is hard for her to go back and forth (about 120US dollars each time in bus tickets  for her and her mother). Yesterday,  she turned 15 and a surprise party at the Posada was organized for her in the afternoon with donations from several people who gave her everything for the event (equivalent to sweet 16 in the USA) Friends provided the dress , decoration, cake, souvenirs, hamburgers, etc.. When she arrived from the chemotherapy session at the hospital,  they brought her through the front door of the Posada so as for her not to see the decorations  They took her to her room where a volunteer hairdresser was waiting for her and dressed her.  As she walked to the back of Posada with Mario at her side to dance the traditional waltz, she found the surprise with the patio and the flower garden flower garden fully decorated They tell me that she could not contain their tears. The guests: the children and their parents staying at the Posada and the doctors and nurses who take care of her at the Hospital.    An unforgettable experience for Jessica despite so the so much pain she is going through.   Here are some pictures
This is what Richard and Claire started and you supported.  You ought to know
Warmest regards from Paraguay,


THE POSADA’S HEALING GARDEN – Created by Mariana Boldu & Gustavo Dallmann

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Mariana Boldu and Gustavo Dallmann; Master Architects & Landscape Architects (MArch/MLA) through their firm “UNOstudio Arquitectos”  had collaborated  with the Posada Emily in the production of the design master plan that  promoted the integration of the building’s architecture and the exterior spaces including the execution of the Therapeutic and Healing Garden . Their contribution intended to elevate Posada Emily towards a sustainable and healthy sustainable architecture.

The beautiful garden was unveiled at the opening of the Posada Emily with the performance of the Cateura LandfillHarmonic Orchestra. We have more work to do in order to complete the vision of UNOstudio.

60 minutes – Landfill Harmonic

Movie Trailer

It was a particularly meaningful performance for the young musicians who lost a fellow orchestra member last year to cancer at the age of 16. The “Jardin Fernando” was initiated in his honor.


Orchestra playing
Below is the complete list of professionals who contributed to this effort:
Sustainable Architecture: Gustavo Dallmann, MArch/ MLA, UNOstudio Arquitectos
Landscape Architecture: Mariana Boldu, MArch/ MLA, UNOstudio Arquitectos
Architect of Record: Ileana Canillas
Building Construction: Carlos Bellassai, Engineer
Landscape Installation: Cristina Boss
Playground donation and installation: ITAIPU Binacional, Direccion de Coordinacion

PRESS COVERAGE! Posada Emily Inauguration


New Yorkers build shelter for children with cancer

A New York couple built a shelter for children and adolescents following a cancer treatment at the Department of Pediatric Oncology at INCAN. The same ones, they had a small one with a linforma, passed away in 2006 and in honor of her they raised “Posada Emily” for the ones of scarce resources.

In the arms of her Paraguayan nanny, Emily Bigelow Nalley learned words in Guarani, took tereré in the mornings and encouraged the albirroja in the most difficult parties.The New York girl, daughter of Claire and Richard Nalley, lived with a lymphoma until age four. Sh e passed away in 2006.

In honor of the years spent by the little girl and the moments she spent in the country, her parents built a shelter for children and adolescents who follow a cancer treatment in the Department of Pediatric Oncology of the National Cancer Institute (INCAN)Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare.” Translated from article from “Ultimahora” 

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Article – ABC Newspaper 9/28/17

Pareja Neoyorkinos – September 28, 2017

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Colorida Posada – ABC September 26,17

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Ultimahora article – September 25

La Nacion – September 28, 2017

Ultimo Hora – September 11

Itaipu Binacional – September 25, 2017


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Grand Opening Posada Emily


The day could not have gone better. In attendance – children from the posada, doctors, families, government officials, members of San Peregrino,  Manitos board member Gordon Stewart and my beloved Betty. Not to mention the members of the Landfill Harmonic, stars of the acclaimed documentary made in 2015 about vision of one man, Fabio Chavez, to teach children from the slum (Cateura)  to make music from instruments made from trash Landfill Harmonic – Trailer



with betty



Brindis Posada Emily_Page_1

Richard and I will be traveling to Paraguay on Friday September 19 for the official opening of the Posada Emily. Although the housing facility has been up and running since May, the official ribbon cutting, complete with a blessing of the site (customary in Paraguay) will take place next Monday September 25. In addition, our friends and local patrons Ernesto Gómez Espeche  and his wife Teresa will be hosting a promotional event on Tuesday September 26.

We will have an incredible treat because members of the young orchestra – the Landfill Harmonic will be playing at both events. This incredible group of young musicians starred in the prize winning documentary in 2015 which told their story as kids of the Asuncion slums or “Cateura.” Living on the edge of an area of landfill and expanses of trash, they were recruited by the forward thinking Favio Chavez, who became the conductor of the orchestra. Every one of their instruments is made of recycled trash from the landfill. The kids have received world wide acclaim and have travelled to play before large audiences.

Landfill Harmonic You Tube



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Half Marathon for Manitos -April 30,17

Dear, dear friends

Thank you for the outpouring of support for my half marathon yesterday and, more importantly, for helping Manitos to make the  “Posada Emily a reality.  We reached our goal! The money we raised will pay for 4 months of operating costs for the 6 room housing facility. It has just recently welcomed it’s first family from the cancer hospital.
This year, again, as though orchestrated,  there were pink cherry blossoms to remind me of Emily and lift my heart with gratitude for the beautiful day.
Thank you and much love



2016 – 2017 – Before & After

construction withBettyfront

Our visit to Paraguay in March 2017 included a visit of the newly constructed Posada Emily and a reunion with Betty Oviedo, our beloved caretaker. We were also visited by the director of the large hydro-electric plant Itaipu, Mr. James Spalding, who is responsible for his company’s donation of beds and furniture. During the visit, we were interviewed for a post on the hospital website. Here is the translated transcript of the interview that was published on their website:



In the arms of her Paraguayan nanny, Emily Bigelow Nalley learned words in Guarani, took tereré in the mornings and cheered on the Albirroja soccer team during their most difficult games. The little New Yorker, daughter of Claire and Richard Nalley, lived with lymphoma. Strong, cheerful, intelligent she died in 2006 at age four. In honour of her immense love for Paraguay, her parents built a shelter for children and adolescents undergoing cancer treatment at the Department of Pediatric Oncology of the National Cancer Institute (INCAN), Ministry of Public Health and Well-being.
The hostel is called “Posada Emily” and is ready to house low-income families from distant points in the interior of the country. It has six furnished rooms, bathrooms, a dining room, and a meeting room; A large garden with trees and an old well, where Claire and Richard sit with that nanny: Karina Beatriz (Betty) Oviedo of Martinez, and tell us the story of this dream.
Claire Nalley and Richard Nalley created “Manitos USA,” a New York-based foundation with the central motto “Helping Children with Cancer in Paraguay.” A year ago they visited the INCAN, asked what was needed. To raise the necessary shelter, they joined the Paraguayan organization with experience in helping children with Cancer: The “San Peregrino” Foundation.
Claire Nalley says: “We had a daughter named Emily who lost her life at age four because of a lymphoma. She had the best medical care that money can buy and was treated under the best conditions; And yet I can say that when I visited the INCAN, where many people with low income arrived, I felt that all the mothers of children with cancer are the same as me and that the suffering that all families go through needs be recognized. We wanted to help the people of this country we love because our dear Betty took care of our daughter until she was 3 years old and gave her all the love she had inside. We wanted to return that love to this country. ”
Richard Nalley says: “We are individuals with this private initiative and all the money from this foundation comes from our family and friends. We are aware that we cannot cure cancer. But what we can do is allow the people who suffer it to live with more dignity and more comfort. That is the spirit of the construction of this family shelter, the “posada. ”
About the future organization of the posada, Claire comments: “We will work directly with the Pediatric Oncology Department of the Hospital and with the “San Peregrino “Foundation, which will be managing the day to day and deciding which children need to stay here and seeing what help we can provide them. ”
_ I think I would tell them that being the father or mother of a child with cancer is a struggle. To each one I would say: you must do what is your work as a father or mother; And your only job is to love your child. When your child is diagnosed with cancer, you do not know what the outcome will be, but you can do your job: love. If you do that, you can find peace because no matter what the outcome you have done what you should do.
Claire laughs. She wants Betty to respond, the woman from Ycaparai who was her “Nanny” until the age of three. And Betty responds:
_ “She was a spectacular, good little girl. Every time Paraguayan soccer team La Albirroja played, she shouted” Paraguay! Paraguay!” She was a huge fan. And my whole family of Paraguayans loved it! All  who lived in New York knew her and adored her. Although her first language was English, she always called my husband Jorge  by hisCastilian name. She learned  Guarani when she heard me speak to my sister-in-law, she said several words well, and she would drink “maté” with me in the morning. She was like a Paraguayan . She had a very strong personality. And very intelligent”.
Claire and Richard laugh when they hear Betty remember Emily. The embrace and then a photo next to the cistern of the inn in Capiatá remains as a portrait of that little love that unites them. And it unites us.

National Cancer Institute – INCAN

Brick Church Fair NYC – Manitos

November, 2016 – Manitos was present at the yearly Brick Church Fair in Manhattan. Thanks to Julie Richardson, we could sell beautiful cashmere items and all proceeds went to Manitos. We were incredibly happy and touched by the outpouring of interest in our cause and the amount sold.

Construction Underway! Latest Photos

We are into Phase 2 of construction of the “Posada Emily” and have begun the second floor. The housing facility will have 6 private rooms, 5 bathrooms, a kitchen facility and a room to lodge a couple who will oversee the Posada.

Patients and their families can access the Posada through the back garden, without having to go out on the road.

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Hooray – Construction begins!


Hurray! We are excited to report that construction began this Monday on the “Albuergue Emily,” which will house the families of children undergoing  treatment at the National Institute for Cancer outside Asuncion, Paraguay.

Thanks to our donors and the hard work of our in-country partners, the San Peregrino Foundation, we were able to finalize purchase of the land this spring and begin phase one of construction. We hope to open the Albuergue within six months as a facility with 6 bedrooms and private baths, as well as a common area, backyard play area and garden, kitchen and living quarters for full-time overseers. This will be a huge quality of life improvement for the families, some of whom are currently sleeping on the hospital floors


Albuergue Emily - construction Posada construction begins


cashmere-event05With the help of our friend Julie, we had our first ever Manitos promotional event. Julie, who is living in China, provided an abundance of cashmere items to sell. All proceeds went to Manitos. It was so successful that we are hoping to do it again in the Fall. Stay tuned as I am hoping to also provide some local Paraguayan filigree jewelry.

It was a fun event and the outpouring of support for our mission was very touching.



Claire,laura,leslemarathon April 2016, NYC – Thank you all for helping us exceed our goal of $10,000. With all your support and good wishes I received, I was well- armed to face the 13.1 miles in Central Park. What a lovely Sunday afternoon, with exploding cherry blossoms and brilliant blue sky and the company of Laura and Lesle.

OVER $11,000!!!!! It will go a long way towards helping the “Posada Emily.”


From Claire & Richard:

We went to Paraguay on a whirlwind trip in February that we count as a huge success.

We had two big goals in mind: One was to inspect the land and existing structure for the Posada Emily, a shelter we hope to build for the families and children undergoing treatment at the National Cancer Institute—and to come to terms with the current owner for purchasing it.

And two, to meet and discuss future plans with our new in-country partners at San Peregrino Foundation, a faith-based, all-volunteer organization with an office in the hospital. San Peregrino works to get the children otherwise unavailable testing, medicines and everything from clothes to crutches. They will also undertake the day-to-day running of the Posada Emily.

The result: Two for two! The purchase of the land and building for the Posada is underway (we will post more details when it’s a done deal). The land, which includes a big backyard for fruit trees and a playground, backs onto the hospital grounds, so that the children do not have to go out onto the busy main road to get to and from treatment.

And we are humbled and honored to be working with Mario Enciso and his dedicated colleagues at San Peregrino. We have signed an agreement of cooperation—they will share the expense and supervise the work—for the purchase of the land and building, and for the renovations that will begin immediately upon signing.

We were also encouraged to meet with Dr. Julio Rolon, the dynamic new director of the National Cancer Institute, who is very supportive of our efforts, and whose administration has already made a quality of life difference to the children’s ward, which is much cheerier and better-looked-after than on our previous visits.

We spent time with the children, which always leaves us with full hearts. It reminds us that there is a lot to be done.

Thanks to Tachi Cazal, our board member, traveling companion and “handler,” we were able to spread the word and do some on-the-ground fundraising for San Peregrino.

We had a number of meetings with potential donors and volunteers, and did media interviews, including a TV appearance on the Paraguayan “Good Morning America,” a show called “Vive la Vida” and an interview by major newspaper ABC.

We are very excited about developments for Manitos in 2016. Please check back soon for news on fund-raising activities and progress on the Posada.


PLANS 2016

December 2015 Email
Dear Manitos Community:

Big changes are in store for Manitos in 2016—and big plans…

In the first two meetings of our newly elected board—and over a sociable lunch in late November at the wonderful Queens restaurant “I Love Paraguay”—we have decided to move forward on several fronts.

  •  The board has voted to explore acquiring land and building a hostel for the children (and their families) undergoing long-term treatment at the National Cancer Institute—many of whom are currently sleeping on floors or wherever they can find space. Working with our in-country partners, we have identified a tract of land with a foundation already laid very near the hospital and made preliminary inquiries about purchasing and developing it.
  •  Working in conjunction with our consultants, the Foundation Group, we have submitted all the paperwork to the IRS to incorporate as a non-profit entity under provision 501(c)3, meaning that we will handle all our own donations and accounts going forward. We hope for final approval early in 2016.
  • Claire and Richard hope to visit Paraguay this winter, to assess the potential site for the hostel and to explore new partnerships in-country.

As always, your  tax deductible donations to Manitos go a very long way. Please consider a gift to us in this holiday season.

Manitos Paraguay

All the best wishes for the holidays,

Claire and Richard

I DID IT! Half Marathon for Paraguay

Yay, team Paraguay! We reached our goal of raising $5,00. Thank you, all.  I must admit that I was anything but calm in the months leading up to this (very scared) – my very first run,  but ran through this wretched winter (worried about training –  I  ran in the pouring rain in the “Foret de Chantilly” while in France on a trip with students ) But – with my “hermana del alma” Laura and my Manitos fundraising buddy Lesle, we formed a running trio and NEVER STOPPED TALKING for 13 miles! That is a record in itself. We solved all the world’s problems, and then some . What I learned – get a fanny pack for those gel packs and look up towards the trees and the skyline when your feet are killing you – your world  seems to expand and you forget the pain.

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Back of my team T shirt says – RUN ON SWEET MAMA……


Well, I’ve been trying to stay consistent during the winter, worrying if I could do 13 milles after such a brutal winter, having never run any organized race in my life. It was tough –  through sleet and cold and slipping on ice. During a school trip to France with 11 teenagers, I took off through the woods of Chantilly outside of Paris on several occasions. I took a running class at “Mile High” in the East Village which was kinda fun, actually. Our teacher screeched at us over blaring music as we ran “hills” and headed for the finish on our treadmills.  But I guess nothing can prepare you for 13 miles in 2 loops surrounded by hundreds of women. Very excited.

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Here is my Crowdrise link.

“I will be running the MORE Woman’s half marathon on April 19 in NYC in order to raise money for Project for the People of Paraguay. PPP and my “Manitos” charity work together  to raise money for the needy in Paraguay, South America. Programs include child sponsorships to ensure children attend school and get medical help,donations to help children with cancer in the underfunded public cancer hospital (with our “Manitos” charity) and providing housing for families who live in slums. Go to and”


I am touched by the support I have gotten. As my cousin Martha said, It is “the wind in my sails.” And, I will run like Forrest Gump.

Golf Fundraiser Manitos/PPP 2014

Claire Bigelow Nalley writes –

I was invited to fly to Saint Cloud Minnesota on August 11 to attend an annual golf fundraiser that benefits Project for the People of Paraguay. My friend Sheri, the director of the organization and our partner, offered to give all proceeds to Manitos – a generous offer as she has a few priorities of her own, including her feeding program, children sponsorships and housing projects all running.

sheriandclaire2014Claire and Sheri at registration

6thhole6th hole

We raised over $6,000. It was a blast. I sat at the 6th hole as the 26 “teams” came through for a chance to bet against the golf pro (whose drive was closest to the hole), with a double your money incentive.  All bets were given to Manitos. Interesting how wallets opened up (for the men mostly) when offered the opportunity to outshine the pro. We laughed when one of the players looked out over the pond that separated the tee from the green, sighed,  and said “Might as well just drop this ball in the water. Here,  take my money.”  I got a chance to practice my own swing for the pro (too terrified to hit the ball)

claireswingFake golf swing

At the end of the day, we all sat down to  a seated dinner in the clubhouse to give out various prizes.  I was able to tell the 120 people attending about Manitos. I discovered  that many people could relate to our story and I had several moving conversations with people touched by cancer.  There is some comfort in the realization that one’s story is not unique. In any case, as I was driven back to my hotel by Sheri, we passed through the beautiful green countryside, dotted with farms. A very far cry from the lovely red-dirt countryside of Paraguay but connected nevertheless.