Saturday, April 08, 2006

La Casa Rosada

The other day I went to La Casa Rosada AIDS orphanage. I had a client that wanted to drop off some clothes he brought down, and to find out what else he could bring on his next visit. As always, the place was spotless and the kids all laughing, playing and just being kids.

One new addition to the orphanage, Carlos, was very reserved and shy. The Nun in charge, whose name escapes me now, was very patient with him, and trying to bring him out of his shell. The one thing I noticed was that he had sores in his mouth. She told me he was just brought to them by the hospital, having been abanadoned, and they were trying to secure some extra medicines for their kids.

They have 50 kids aged 7 months to 17 years old. Most kids are brought to the orphanage either because they were abandoned at the hospital, or their caregiver has also died of AIDS. She would like to take in more children but their resources are stretched to capacity.

She then took me by the hand and showed me all aournd the place so that I could see all the work that was being done to make sure the kids had a nice healthy environment in which to strive. I thought I was just going to come there drop off the clothes and beat a hasty retreat, but she would hear none of it. This place just brings the humanity out of you.

She then had some of her workers bring me a list of things that they need desperately, which I will list at the bottom. Before I left, she said, "I know you are going to help us. I will see you when you come back."

Of course she is right. I will be back.

Okay, here is what I'm proposing. For all those people who ask me what would I like for them to bring me, this is what I now say. PLEASE don't bring me anything. Please pick something off the list below to bring to the orphanage. Another concern is food. They have to feed 50 children (along with staff and volunteers) 3 times per day and ask if anyone can donate food that would go a long way with helping their circumstances.

If anyone brings at least $100 worth of items to donate, I will drive them to the orphanage personally. If you would like to donate food, again, I will drive you to the supermarket and to the orphanage. You don't need me, you can go and drop off things yourself, if you like.

Many times I get emails and comments about how I need to write about more positive things, blah, blah, blah. But, when I write about things like this there are very few comments or responses. Let's see if we can get many comments from people who would like to help.

Okay, here are the things that are needed ASAP:

Medicines:
Amoxicilina
Cefalos porina suspencion
Azitromicina
Penicilina
Acido Clauvulanico

Vitamins:
Calcium
Vitamin E
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

Food:
Chicken
Beef
Canned Goods
Beans
Rice

I'm sorry the medicines are in Spanish, I will try and have someone translate what they are exactly. Anything else you think kids will enjoy would be most appreciated and welcome.

28 comments:

the Allen gallery said...

Of course, in hindsight, we could have picked up a lot of this stuff when you took us to the supermercado and farmacia. J and I will gladly pick up what we can on our next visit.

Mario Sessions said...

Thanks Anthony, I will bring what I can in like 2 weeks

Bahian Heat said...

For anyone that wants to see a short video of La Casa Rosada you can go to http://www.zenbizness.com/CASA

The need of the children continues to grow. Great entry Anthony.

Anonymous said...

It would make it so much easier for us here in the states if there was a website we could go to and send them a donation with a credit card. We could do annual donations or monthly donations or just whenever we can. Sending a $100 charitable donation is much easier than trying to do it when your paying for your trip and hotel and food on vacation. Is it possible to get a secure website where we can send it directly to the nun who runs the place?

Anonymous said...

Unfortuately we have tried several times to try and make that happen but because of the banking system it hasn't happened. The only thing I can suggest is that you use enviosboya to send it. The problem with that is that the fees eat up some of the money. As Anthony said if you or your friends are going down, take it with you.

Monaga said...

There is no website that I know of. The next time that I talk with them I will bring up the subject of a website to solicit donations.

In the meantime you can wire money to their bank account, if you like. Here is the information:

Banco Popular
Acct in Pesos: 700-502842
Acct in Dollars: 455-17461-5

You can contact them @ 809.596.2250 or email lacasarosada2001@yahoo.com.

PLEASE remember that they do not speak English, though someone may be there who does.

Also, your donations ARE NOT tax-deductible.

Lastly, some of asked why no photos of the children. Reverend Mother asked me not to put any of their photos on the internet, out of respect for their privacy.

Anonymous said...

I guess when I go to the bank this week I will sit with the Customer Service Rep and ask how I go about wiring money to their bank account. I think if I am sending money to a charity (like the Red Cross when Katrina happened) that I do not pay for the fees for wiring the money as long as I do it via the internet from my checking account. Thanks for the Info Anthony.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony,

I was just remembering that last month I saw a small clip here in Boston with Bill & Nancy Gates and their Foundation to help charity and specifically educate and support AIDS causes. They spoke about the $1Million he gave to Rory Kennedy (Robert Kennedys youngest child that Ethel was pregnant with when he was assinated) to make the documentary series on AIDS. That series shows on HBO all the time and highlighted the AIDS situation and progress in Africa, Thailand, Brazil, Russia and one other place that I cannot remember. Anyway I remember that Bill Gates said that people could go to the website and apply for funding and charity from the Bill & Nancy Gates Foundation. The website address is:

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/default.htm

Maybe we can get him to give them a nice chunk of change to help these children and expand & upgrade the facility. It's worth a try. Anthony since you know the people who run it and more about the organization than we do maybe you can look at their website and see if you can convince Bill & Nancy to contribute. Good Luck and keep us informed. One Last Question for you: If we wire money to the accounts at La Casa Rosada can we write and email to them at the yahoo address just so that they know the money is there?

Jim from Boston

Anonymous said...

YEAH MAN! Anthony this is a great idea. I saw this on TV as well in CT. Wouldn't be great if the gay expatriates could get a grant for the orphange from Bill Gates and invite the Priest that you were talking about saying all these bad things about us. It would be nice to tell him face to face that the gay community there was the driving force in getting those funds...NOT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!

Brett in CT

Anonymous said...

The medicines in English:

Amoxicilina:
Amoxycillin, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the brand Amoxil.

Cefalos porina suspencion:
Cephalosporin suspension, including Ceftibuten and Cephalexin.

Azitromicina:
Azithromycin, marketed by Pfizer under the brand Zithromax, by Merck Mexico under the brand Azitromicina.

Penicilina:
Well, that's penicillin. :)

Acido Clavulanico:
Clavulanate. Also comes as Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium tablets) or Timentin (ticarcillin disodium/clavulanate potassium intravenous).

Anonymous said...

The idea of the Gates Foundation is a good one and this type of charity is a priority of this foundation. I work at Microsoft in Seattle and I know that this would fall into the priority cause.
Here is an excerpt that shows HIV/AIDS causes to be a priority:

Our priority diseases and conditions are:

Improving Chances for Children
In the world’s poorest countries, nearly 11 million children younger than 5 die each year, including 4 million babies who do not survive their first month of life. The majority of these deaths stem from health problems that can be prevented or treated with existing technologies.



CHILD HEALTH

The foundation supports efforts to:

Speed the adoption and use of lifesaving interventions at the community level
Develop new tools and strategies to address the major causes of death during the first 28 days of life
Build commitment, awareness, and financial support for child survival programs

HIV/AIDS

Slowing HIV’s Spread
Preventing the spread of HIV is the most durable long-term solution to the AIDS epidemic, and a top priority for the foundation.





We support efforts to stop HIV transmission, including development of:

A safe, effective, and affordable HIV vaccine
Microbicides–gels or creams that women could apply to protect themselves from sexually acquired HIV infection
Large-scale initiatives to expand access to existing HIV prevention tools, both in countries with emerging epidemics and those already with high HIV infection rates
Advocacy to build commitment for a science-based approach to stemming the epidemic

HIV/AIDS Backgrounder

Preventing transmission of the virus that causes AIDS is the best long-term solution to the global epidemic. The foundation supports efforts to strengthen HIV prevention as part of a comprehensive response that includes care and treatment.





Priority Strategies for Grantmaking: HIV/AIDS

To use our resources most effectively, we fund projects that have the potential to provide the greatest benefit for the most people over the longest period of time. Our resource section for grant seekers has detailed information on our grantmaking priorities and processes.



Programs and Partnerships

Learn more about a few of the key programs and partnerships in our HIV/AIDS program, including Avahan, the Global HIV Prevention Working Group, and the Global HIV Vaccine Enterpise.

The website has a section that you fill out called a inquiry. They will look at the information you send via the internet and will give the money directly to the charity via a wire transfer from the Foundations 5 billion dollar account to the charitable agency.

Good Luck...and thanks for buying Microsoft products. Without all the Window users of the world Bill and Melinda (not Nancy) Gates would not be able to support these Charities.

Max from Seattle

Nena said...

As far as the prescribed medicines I don't know what I can do about that. Perhaps I can contact Pizer and Merck. Since I have an acct with Banco Popular North America, I'll look into a monatary donation.
For christmas I sent a small package of clothing for 10 children, I have not heard back from La Casa Rosada if they received it (i included a self addressed stamp envelope to the nuns and yes I wrote it in spanish)hope that got the tee shirts and undies.
***Now if Cardinal Nicolas Lopez would only concentrate on helping the children and not try to insight hate and violence against "us" (see my blog comments on him)
Happy Palm Sunday brothers and sisters~

Ron Savage said...

Anthony: I'm planning a trip to the DR at the end of May and will be in SD for the first three days and staying the the Duque de Wellington. I'll bring you whatever I can then. I know a lot of people here are going to be sending you stuff so if there is something left out just let me know. And thanks for giving me the opportunity to help.

Mr. Washington said...

Hey Anthony, see you on the 29th. Will do something for the kids while I'm there.

Anonymous said...

Anthony, thank you for this wonderful post. I think you have found the perfect flagship project for your Fifth Anniversary celebration. (But don’t give up on those silly-ass contest ideas, either.) 

As you know, I’ve been to La Casa Rosada twice now, and what a heartwarming experience it is. The head sister is truly a wonderful person and the children are unforgettable. My first visit took place on my way to the airport at the end of my first visit to the DR. Although I left the country with many happy memories of places I had stayed at and friends I had made in a country new to me, the most indelible of these are the images of the children and staff at La Casa Rosada. They occupied my mind completely on the long flight home to California.

It is great to see so many positive and unselfish comments on this post. It brings out the better parts of our nature. I’d like to add the following comments on some of these posts.

1. We Americans might be able to make our contributions tax-deductible if we can find a 501-c-3 charitable organization in the United States to act as the intermediary. We send the money to them, and they send it on to La casa. I don’t know all the ins and outs of how to make this happen, but perhaps Max from Microsoft in Seattle or someone else can provide some information. Of course, there would have to be safeguards to ensure the money goes where intended.

2. The idea of going to the drug manufacturers is a great one. Maybe one way is to see if our physician friends can pull some strings with the distributors. I was able to secure a fairly large batch of four different drugs through a couple of physician friends in California. I asked Anthony’s advice about bringing them in through DR customs. He suggested I just document who they are destined for (printing out La Casa’s website home page is a good way), and there should be no problem. Once again, Anthony was right. I bought a $4 roll-away at a thrift store and waltzed right through.

3. If you do visit La Casa, take your camera. True, Sister requested (actually, she made it a condition of giving her permission) that I not publish photos of the children in any form. However, she said it was OK to show them to personal friends, and they are a very effective way, of spreading the word and getting your friends to help out even if they don’t come to the DR themselves.

4. I wonder who’s doing more good for their country and fellow human beings – the Cardinal in his palace or the Sister at La Casa?

Thanks again Anthony – See you in May-June……..George

Ron Savage said...

This is fantastic! So there is a way to get the meds in country?! Please explain the process we need to follow to make this happen. Thanks again!

Ron Savage said...

PS: F~~k El Cardinal! We can show 'em better than we can tell 'em! (I meekly apologize for the expletive).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anthony. I will bring some items down in May. - Brad

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are interested in wiring money to Santo Domingo to the bank account of La Casa Rosada, I have gotten a response from MY bank about the costs. Please see response copied and pasted below:

Your signature is required to initiate a wire transfer. You would need to do this either at a branch or via a letter with your signature.

There are usually fees on both the sending and receiving accounts for each wire. Our fee to send a wire is $20.00, to send a wire to a foreign account the fee is $40.00.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact Customer Support directly.

I plan to go in this week since I know one of the customer service managers is from the Dominican Republic and I want to ask her for her help to see if the charges can be waived and instead sent to the charity with the banks assistance. We will see if they want to help us.

Jim in Boston

Anonymous said...

Update on wiring funds directly to La Casa Rosada:

If you are sending funds to the La Casa Rosada you also need the following information:

Banco Popular
20 Avenida JFK/Corner Maximo Gomez
Miraflores
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

SWIFT CODE: BPDODOSX

ABA CODE: BPD International Bank
ABA Number: 026010757

Telephone Number: 1-809-544-8000

Savings Account Number for La Casa Rosada: 455-17461-5

And really lay it on thick for the bank to override or lower their fees to wire the money. My bank usually charges $40 for the transfer but I talked them down to $30 USD. I plan on speaking to the bank manager who is are city councilor and trying to convince him that the bank should waive the fees for sending money to a charity.

Jim from Boston

Anonymous said...

I usually stock up on some antibiotics when I am in Santo Domingo. Ampicillin and others are very cheap so rather than buying them in the U.S., I would suggest people buying them in SDQ. I would love to see "our" community make a real impact on these wonderful people taking care of the kids. It would be a real statement to that bigoted closet case Cardinal in Santo Domingo.

Anonymous said...

Here is my letter to the Pope that you can read:

Dear Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI,

I am tired of the tirades that Cardinal/Archbishop Lopez Rodriguez finds that he must speak in public and to the press to get any attention in the Dominican Republic. In March 2005 he said that the church does not discriminate against homosexuals and then in April 2006 he is trying to get all of the gay community expelled from Santo Domingo. What right does he have to try to run immigration, government and politics? Should he not be spreading the word of God and not spreading hate and intolerance?

Maybe this Cardinal López Rodríguez is doing this just for attention. I would think that given the economic and social problems the vast majority of Dominicans face daily that Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez would be speaking about issues regarding love, charity and helping those less fortunate. I have read reports where Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez is one of the richest individuals in the Dominican Republic yet he does not use those riches to help the unfortunate Dominicans.

There is too much negative work being done by the Catholic Church. I have left the church in Massachusetts after the outrageous church scandal where the Catholic Churches were harboring pedophiles right under their own roof. Rather than speak negatively, he should have been working to feed and care for 50 children in an AIDS Orphanage in Santo Domingo called La Casa Rosada. The poor Reverend Mother that cares for these children night and day and all their illnesses is something Lopez Rodriguez should be focusing on. Raising money to feed these children and providing medicines for them so they will not suffer. I received news from Americans that they have no money, no food and no medicine for vitamins for the children. This in the same week that Lopez Rodriguez is spreading hatred in Santo Domingo.

Holy Father I am very upset and will no longer help any catholic charity, never write to you again and will spit in the face of the Cardinal the next time I am in Santo Domingo. If he wants to spread hatred and intolerance then I can no longer tolerate him.

Here are just a few of the articles showing the tirades of this man that is a Cardinal in your Church? Does the Vatican in Rome train these Cardinals to spread hate and intolerance?

Cardinal says no gays in seminaries

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Mar. 01, 2005 (CNA/CWNews.com) - Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, reaffirmed this week that the Church does not discriminate against homosexuals, but that they do not belong in seminaries.

The cardinal explained, "I understand we must have a healthy, intelligent, and manly clergy that is neither effeminate nor womanly," and he recalled that homosexuality is a disorder that can be corrected and managed.

Likewise the cardinal also emphasized the need to form "serious men with all of the attributes that God has given them so that they may exercise their ministry with dignity."

Gay Intolerance and Hatred Spread by Cardinal in Santo Domingo

Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez demanded that "authority be imposed" in the Santo Domingo's colonial zone and called for the expulsion of homosexuals because "that sort of social vice is not needed in this historical city", as reported by Listin Diario. "There is nothing for homosexuals here. They should stay in Europe or the United States. We don't need that social vice, we don't need them. I understand that this country should make a show of taking them all out of here", said the outspoken Roman Catholic Church leader. "We cannot allow this place, the historical center of Santo Domingo, to be taken over by foreign and Dominican degenerates", added Lopez Rodriguez.

I know you will never see this email as you may get millions every day. I will say however that all the good work I have done for the church and for catholic charities is done. I will now spend the money to make this Cardinal look like the pompous ass he is.

Best Regards,

Jerry from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Anonymous said...

Just a note to say am happy to se the leter the the Holy Father Benedict the 16 th., you did a fine job writing that letter , very well done, hope it open's some eyes and ear's in Rome. god bless you for doing that. I have been to LaCasa Rosada before and it was a rewarding visit and they are ever so greatful for everything that is done to help them, god bless each and everyone who help those beautiful children under there care,Met the young female Dr. who provides medical care and also there social worker, they do a super job with what funds they have .The enviroment they live in there is very nice, warm and full of love from everyone who works there, god bless each of them for doing god's work , it's a shame the great Cardinal LOpez could not use some of his millions , if thats what he has to help these nun's out with funds to buy what they need, he is a very sorry person and sets a very negative bad example for all those good catholic people in his flock. Good luck in doing what ever anyone can afford to do, god shall send you many blessings in return.It's a very worthy cause for sure.Next time I go shall also try and do something for these good people

Anonymous said...

Has anyone thought of starting a "Friends of La Casa Rosada" membership where we can send an annual contribution of $50 or $75 or $100 (maybe silver, gold and platinum memberships) and when we come to Santo Domingo we can visit the children and have a lunch with them? If the people who run the place could just send us cheap little membership cards with a picture of the Orphanage on it or something with our name on it and we send them our annual memberships it could help raise money and keep the Orphange going. Also I know for me it would be a constant reminder everytime I opened my wallet that I should send them something. One thing is for sure. We need to figure out a way to get them the money without having to spend the $30-$40 dollars wiring it each time. Maybe we could set up a paypal account for the orphanage? Would that work?

Jim from Boston

Anonymous said...

I think its for a great cause. And I am willing to help. Will bring a few things on my next trip.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who stocks up on ampicillin and other antibiotechs in Santo Domingo, that is a great idea. They certainly need all the normal medicines they can get, even simple OTC items like aspirin. But can you also get antiretrovirals at DR paharmacies without prescriptions? And if so, at what cost? Maybe someone has the answer?

In the meantime, if you know people who can donate antiretrovirals in the US it would be a good idea to bring them.

To Ron Savage who asked about the process for bringing the drugs into the country, I can only tell my own story. The first time was last May, when I put them in a cheap roller suitcase and went through airport customs in the normal fashion. I had the Casa Rosada information (printed web pages)in the bag with the pills. I had not been given any declaration form to fill out, and the officer didn't ask for one. He also didn't ask me verbally what I was bringing in and I didn't volunteer any information. But I was ready to do so if necessary.

The second time was in November. Again I was not given any declaration form to fill out, but when I arrived at the customs check pont, she asked me for one. She showed me what it looked like, but then waved me through without asking me to fill it in. If I had had to fill it in I would have declared the medicine, but I honestly don't know whether they would have OK'd it.

My overall impression is that they don't really care unless its narcotics or other illegal substances.

Hope this helps.....George

Anonymous said...

I think Anthony's personal plans are just that...personal and private. I just spent 2 weeks there and did not hear one person speak of this rumor. I think someone is trying to stir up some shi-........in addition, would you please stop writing in all capital letters.

Monaga said...

This entry is about La Casa Rosada. If you don't have a constructive comment to add, it will be deleted.

For the anonymous poster who is so concerned about my plans, reveal yourself. Otherwise all such posts will be DELETED!

But, I would like to take the opportunity to say thanks for being SO CONCERNED (!) about my plans.