“We are committed to provide specialized medical care, as well as psychological, spiritual, and social, so that those affected are treated fairly,” says its founder, Sister Annie Credidio, who has dedicated her life to the welfare of those who most in need. She came from the United States in the late 80’s to Guayaquil to join the Nuevo Mundo nuns, she later visited the Damien House, which at that time, was in deplorable conditions; and kept working there. Today, the foundation is filled with colored walls, the beds are always neat and the floors are always shiny.
The Foundation’s primary purpose is to eliminate the stigma that has been created around the disease, informing that Hansen can be cured and that basic preventive measures can eradicate the disease.
Most patients make handicrafts—they create items made of wood, typical dolls, embroidery, fabrics, jewelry, Christmas decorations, among others—as a supplementary therapy to improve their physical rehab, mainly in the upper extremities. That way they fight the effects caused by the nerve atrophy disease. These crafts represent a small income, it gives them financial support and improves patients’ self esteem by making them feel useful.
As an institution that provides free care, it needs resources to continue to benefit their patients, that is why Alvaro Noboa went to Damien House on Wednesday. He delivered gifts and shared a fun time with all the members of the institution. Through Crusade for a New Humanity Foundation, the banana businessma has provided financial support to Damien House for over 20 years.
Twelve former patients who are completely recovered are currently working for Damien House , four of them have benefited from scholarships granted by groups of foreign volunteers and others who support these initiatives.
The maximum capacity of patients admitted is between 30-40 men and 10 women, most of them live in the Foundation because many of them were abandoned by their families due to sequels of the disease that was not treated on time.
Few patients receive family visits; there are four cases that were recieved in 1966 and others in 1975, they have never stopped living in the hospital.
All the members from Damien House (workers and volunteers) are for most of the patients the lost family tie because they receive from them attention and continuing care.
There are 48 patients admitted in this Foundation and approximately 360 outpatients.
Daily, 12 to 15 outpatients visit the hospital for a check up.
Among the services offered by this foundation are clinical consultation, ophthalmologist consultation, dental care, otolaryngology consultation, gynecological consultation, major and minor surgeries, amputations (including donation of prostheses), physical therapy services, medications, balanced diet (including 3 meals a day for inpatients) and coordinated meal consultation for outpatients.
Alvaro Noboa’s Speech At The Damien House Foundation
We are going to begin our Christmas celebration reading the Gospel according to Saint John. It says:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man that was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light, he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was comming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not recieve him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out saying: “This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
This is God’s word. – We praise you Lord.
Well I guess that we must already be turning thirty years of coming here periodically. To me is an spiritual moment and a fraternal moment that is very important. You are my brothers, children of God as we all are, to me is very joyful to see how you receive me with applauses, affection, with an honest heart, that each time is less common to see in this world. That makes us see that it exists a spirit of light in all of us, a spirit of love, a spirit of truth.
Spirit can only come from God for the strength, the brilliance, and heat that he emits. Therefore, you are one more place where God dwells. When you receive communion, you receive God. And as you keep believing that Jesus Christ was born from Virgin Mary, that He gave his life in the Cross to save us, that he rose the third day and now is reigning next to God; while you believe that, you will be always with God, you will be saved, you will be saints, and you will be next to God when we pass from this corporate body. So be glad because today you have God in your heart. And then as long as you believe that, you will have God face to face, there in heaven where you belong.
Merry Christmas, Glory to God, long live for you all.
Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us ourtrespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Glory to God!
Now we are going to deliver a small individual Christmas gift, for each and every one of you, and a small gift as well for the community fund.
Now we will make the delivery to Sister Ana Credidio that has come from the United States to Ecuador, and has been working here for many years on behalf of all patients of this community, who are well thanks to God, and thanks to her and the entire team. We have just given an envelope to Ana for the community and also gave her an envelope as a gift from each member who is present here.
I want to thank to all the community and members of Fundación Padre Damián, to Sister Ana Credidio and everyone who has worked for this calendar, thank you very much. I am very thankful.
I want to thank you very much for this gift, this craft that I am getting on your behalf. I want to thank you very much for this piece of artcraft that all of you are giving me. I have come here for 28 years thanks to God, and I offer this to God.
Thank you very much for this calendar and congratulations to all the people who made this, too.
Thank you very much for this gift given to me by the lady members of this community.
These are all the members of our Foundation, and this lady here is offering a gift to everybody who has worked in their favor right now.
I want to wish you and all the members of this Community a Merry Merry Christmas… to Sister Ann, who is the daughter of God, and she is a Sister, a religious and member of the religious Community, who has been here for many many years helping the Ecuadorian people who are well because of her care.
I am grateful to Sister Ana who comes from the United States to help here in Ecuador, and I thank you because today I was very gifted.
I also want to thank everybody in the Community. Today I have received a lot of gifts from you. And I thank everyone for all the love and the beautiful words that I have received tonight.
Glory to God and Merry Merry Christmas to all of you and I wish that you live many many years and more.