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Story and photo contributor: Michael Banner
What started out as a question to the Director of Esperanza Children’s Home, “Do you need any help with anything?” turned into a ‘fix-up event’ Saturday, April 6th with nine volunteers coating two of the home’s roofs & servicing the electric & AC; along with others who donated money for supplies and pizza for the kids & workers.
Esperanza Para Los Ninos (Hope for the Children) is a small orphanage, 15 miles North of Puerto Peñasco, started by a Christian missionary in 1991. It has been home to as many as 42 children at a time, many of whom are victims of abuse, broken households, or simply orphaned. Now, it is lovingly run by Director Guillermo Zapata, his wife, two other full-time staff members, and other volunteers.
Their caring and sharing of their Christian love is reflected in each of the kids you meet. And yet they exist on so few resources as they depend almost entirely on private donations, so every visitor feels compelled to do even more. My wife and I sort of adopted this orphanage when we purchased a condo on Sandy Beach, donating to it a percentage of our condo’s rental income. When we visited this Christmas with our friend Marco Garcia, Princesa Manager of Seaside Reservations, I noticed some areas for improvement, even though the buildings were well maintained. I offered to bring down three men from our Tucson church, Fountain of Life Lutheran, and the four of us would work on whatever Director Zapata needed.
With the help of Mr. Garcia, other locals, American & Mexican, this ‘event’ accomplished so much more than we originally hoped. For nine hours friends new and old, from both sides of the boarder, worked together to help Esperanza. Besides double coating two roofs, two of our Mexican friends also serviced and recharged the orphanage’s air conditioners.
At lunch we shared pizza, provided by local Realtor Dan Monroe, as well as juices and sodas with each other and the children.
Even though this ‘event’ started with four men, so many others gave of their time, talents & treasures to make it a success, especially: Marco Garcia, who convinced others to join & coordinated many of the details; Dan Monroe, who volunteered his time and purchased pizza for many mouths; Steve Schwab, owner of Seaside Reservations, who gave money & support to his staff, three of whom worked exhaustively till the very end; there were many others who gave money and offered their help, asking nothing in return.
Before leaving, as the sun was ready to set, we told Director Zepata that we would be back again, suggesting that next time he should dream even bigger for the next project. We drove away from Esperanza, tired but satisfied that we were able to make a small difference in the lives of 34 amazing children, and their caretakers.
Esperanza Children’s Home is a privately run orphanage. Donations can be made directly by check, sent to Casa Hogar Esperanza Para Ninos I.A.P. at PO Box 1024, Lukeville, AZ 85341. They especially need money for food & gas for their vehicles, used to transport the kids into town and school as often as six times per day.