VISIT TO PARAGUAY 2017

 

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:

“WE WANTED TO RETURN THIS LOVE TO THIS COUNTRY”

CLAIRE AND RICHARD NALLEY BUILT A SHELTER FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER IN MEMORY OF THEIR DAUGHTER EMILY

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.
MANITOS
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. ”
_ CLAIRE WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PARENTS THAT, HAVE A CHILD WITH CANCER LIKE YOU DID?
_ 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.
WHAT WAS EMILY LIKE?
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