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.