August 4, 2008

Summer’s over and so much to tell

Filed under: PDC News — Administrator @ 10:39 pm

But, I’ll stick to the highlights.

1 – “Promises: A Party With A Purpose,” our third benefit rock concert on March 29 of this year was a big hit! We had four rock/ska bands – Awry By Design, Breaking The Innocent, Busekrus and Pimpbot (for the third time!). We were also proud to present our openers, “Na Kane O Hawai`i,” a pair of Castle High Seniors with talent beyond their years. Despite some delays with the sound system, these two boys bounced back and got the crowd on their feet. They will be back on the scene, without a doubt!

We held a ticket pre-sale contest and Awry By Design (ABD) won both tiers: the first to sell 30 tickets and the most tickets sold. The first tier earned them recording time from Fifteen07 Music Studios. The Grand Prize was an opening gig for a major act (yet to be announced), and was provided by Sick Nick Productions in collaboration with 808 Shows and Life Rocks.

We had an amazing group of sponsors, including The 808 Scene Zine,  Hawaii Grad Nite,  Pass Out Records,  Quality Transmission,  Fifteen07 Music Studios,  Bananagrafeeks,  Jelly’s Aiea,  Oasis Skateboards,  808 Tattoo and Budweiser,  and of course,  the five bands. Between the ticket sales, our Peruvian jewelry sales, the silent auction and the calabash bowl, we raised $1,000 that night! This is an amazing amount, particularly when translated into Peruvian “soles”. We also had a mess of volunteers whom we’d like to thank again! In all, it took FIFTY people to put on this show. How crazy is that!?!

2 – Two months ago, we heard that Presli had left the orphanage and was living with his mom and siblings. Although it was great that he had been reunited with his family, it meant that we may not be able to continue our mission with his medical care. His family is quite poor and does not have email or a phone. We were very worried that we would not be able to find him. In addition, the orphanage had yet another “new” Director, one who does not know us or Ely.

After many emails to the Director from us, and a visit by Ely, we have discovered that Presli has been returned to the orphanage. This is sad for him, because he misses his family even more, but good in the sense that we will be able to continue to provide for his surgical needs and, hopefully, continue with his education as he becomes an adult. Both Presli and his family are in need of psychological services. We are not able to provide it at this time, but we have taken it into consideration.

The Director has made arrangements to get him to La Oroya for another surgery and Ely has made contact with both of them (the Director and Presli)! We sent funds last week for his transportation. Ely will not be able to go this time, as her own charity and school programs are keeping her busy about 18 hours a day! Instead, the Director and Ely’s friend, a Social Worker, are making the trip. In fact, they went TODAY (Monday, August 4)!!! We are anxiously anticipating an update.

Rotaplast is expecting him and, unlike last year, he does not have a cold this time. This means that during their stay in Peru, the Rotaplast surgeons may be able to do more for him than last year. We will keep you up to date as we hear news.

3 – Merardo is doing very well. Ely is taking him with her to Huancayo to purchase the vitamins, creams and gauze that he needs to protect his skin from the effects of his EB. Soon he will be able to do this on his own and leave Ely more time for her other obligations. He is also thriving at the PLE school and is involving himself more in the activities. We are very pleased to hear this. He has just turned 17 and will soon be of age to go to a technical school or college. His dream is to become a businessman, but he still has the problem of fused fingers caused by his EB. Ely is looking into programs or doctors who might be able to help. When she finds more information, we may be doing another burst of fundraising to make that happen.

4 – On that note, we have been quiet, but not idle, especially mom. She spends several hours a week posting (and re-posting) items we have for sale. We have diabetic supplies, designer shoes, designer or haute couture handbags and purses, CD’s, books, jewelry, and more. We have stores and listings on various websites, including eBay, Craigslist (Oahu) and, among others. All of these items have been donated by us or by friends and neighbors for the benefit of our boys. If you are interested in any item, or you know someone who may be, please let us know and we will send you the URL(s) that show you what we have. Please pass on the word.

5 – Dr. Bridgette Kuhn (Honolulu) has graciously donated to us a membership as retailers of Herbalife. Why does this help? Ely can order their highly regarded nutritional products online for Merardo, and they can be shipped from the Herbalife warehouse in Lima. This eliminates the waiting of emails, and the exorbitant shipping costs and delays of sending these items from the USA, and they are of much better quality than what Ely is able to find in her corner drugstore. It will also eliminate a trip from her home in Chupaca to the Huancayo P.O. during business hours by taxi to pick up packages – the Herbalife is delivered to Ely directly!

6 – Which brings me to the final point: PLE (our affiliate charity in Peru, run by Ely and her husband) has purchased land and begun construction on their Community Center. With plans and funding from our other affiliate, the Andean Outreach Program, a solar-powered oven is under construction which will facilitate the baking enterprise that Ely has begun with the mama’s and grandma’s of her village. In an attempt to both increase their skills and provide a form of “cottage industry,” this is the first of many steps to help the village of Chupaca be less dependent on farms and mines as they teach the women a trade and business management.

They have been working on hand crafts for nearly a year now and have quite an inventory. So far, the only customers have been the volunteers at Ely’s program, but they have nearly enough inventory now to try to sell them in a market. They are very excited for this opportunity to take a dip in the mercantile pool. Many of these women have never left their village, so this will be quite the adventure for them.

Well, that’s the last 5 months in a nutshell. We are potentially planning another benefit concert later this year, perhaps October or November, which will be just in time to help with PLE’s Third Annual Chupaca Village Christmas Party! If you are interested in helping out in any way for a show, or know of someone who may be interested in being a sponsor, please let us know so that we may get in touch soon.

As always, Aloha ka kou, Mahalo nui loa and Dios te vindiga!
Lisa and Sherrill Sturm

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