Faith Alive Hospital in Jos, Nigeria

St. Anthony’s Alliance has donated $10,000 to Faith Alive USA, a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting the works of the Faith Alive Hospital in Jos, Nigeria. The hospital was started in 1996 by Dr. Christian Isichei, a physician who received training at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and in 2007 became a friend of Jim Tryon, founder of St. Anthony’s Alliance.  These days, Faith Alive Hospital is a busy place, caring for 10,000 patients a month, many of whom are infected with HIV, or both by HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis. It also provides prenatal care, maternity services and treatment for malaria.

The donation, along with others will help fund the purchase of a GeneXpert © machine, which can quickly and efficiently diagnose drug-resistant TB, also known as Multi-Drug Resistant TB or MDR. The purchase is made possible by a $25.9 million grant in 2013 from the World Health Organization to purchase 220 of the machines for 21 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia,  which could help save an estimated 62,000 lives. The government of Nigeria is considering Faith Alive Hospital for one of the badly-needed, state-of-the-art machines. The grant was responsible for a 40 percent reduction in the price of the expensive cartridges used by the machine to shorten the diagnosis time of TB from weeks to only a few hours. This will allow caregivers in Jos to immediately start patients on treatment and halt the spread of this deadly form of the airborne disease.

In 20 years, Dr. Isichei has helped shepherd the growth of Faith Alive Hospital from a clinic in a four-room apartment to a three-story hospital. It also provides other valuable services in the region, including nutrition education, home-based medical care, HIV prevention education, support groups, a food and clothing bank, transitional housing for the homeless and scholarships for children. In addition, the Faith Alive Foundation in Jos provides small-business loans for patients who present a workable business plan.

A nurse tests a patient for TB in Faith Alive Hospital

The goal for the future of  the hospital, which currently provides most of its care at no cost to its patients, is to develop a sustainable income stream. This may include charging for some services and less reliance on international aid.

In a recent email to St. Anthony’s Alliance, Dr. Isichei expressed gratitude. “What a great partnership for humanity. Thank you St. Anthony’s Alliance.”


The Lavender Project Attains Self-Sufficiency in 2016

After 11 years of planning and striving, The Lavender Project is completely self-sufficient. St. Anthony’s Alliance founders, Jim Tryon and Tes Balcomb, attended a ceremony on the village of La  Colorada  to celebrate the event. St. Anthony’s Alliance envisioned the project as a way to help the village by “teaching them to fish,” as it were, but by growing lavender and selling the products.

Financially, The Lavender Project has grown beyond anyone’s expectation, showing a 257 percent increase in sales and revenue in the past year. The project earned almost 2 million pesos, approximately $113,000 USD at current exchange rates. Month to month, The Lavender Project is showing a profit of 20,000 pesos, or almost $2,000 USD, which is a huge achievement. This success was brought about by several factors, including dedicated business mentorship, steady leadership and increased sales and production. Leaders include entrepreneur and president Aucencio Domenzain, general manager Efrain Briones Piñon, and farming manager Alejandro Torres. These leaders have had to learn everything from business accounting, budgeting, grant writing, marketing — and, of course, farming lavender and making soap.

Sales have skyrocketed and production is keeping pace. The storage rooms are packed with inventory. The production crew has new packaging, which hold exactly 100 soaps for their hotel customers. They have also developed an embroidered gift bag that contains several products, including soaps, bath salts, a tube of natural aromatherapy oil and a jar of lavender honey. (Unfortunately, products are not yet for sale outside of Mexico.)

Production is supported by an increased workforce, including six new local ladies to make soap and six new farmers taking care of the fields. Currently, The Lavender Project has 33 employees, many who are the children and grandchildren of some of the original eight farmers. Acreage has been expanded with a new field devoted to English lavender and grosso. A worm farm creates a rich natural fertilizer and sand from a nearby river provides better growing conditions for the lavender.

And importantly, St. Anthony’s Alliance and The Lavender Project have reached a governing agreement for the next decade, which will provide stability, guidance and oversight.

This success is a blessing for everyone.  They are enjoying a successful venture and a steady income. There will be challenges in the future but now everyone has the confidence they can overcome anything.


Letter From the Founder 2015/2016

Greetings to all from St. Anthony’s Alliance, and here is to hoping you enjoyed a happy, peaceful holiday season!  As 2015 wound down, St. Anthony’s celebrated the successful completion of The Lavender Project in Mexico, and its transition to an independent, wholly owned and operated Mexican corporation.  The full details are included in another post. That said, St. Anthony’s Alliance is now focusing on the development of the not-for-profit Civil Association for the community of La Colorada. This is the Mexican equivalent to our 501(C) 3 organization, which will allow the community to apply for grants and other funding from the Mexican government at the federal, state and municipal levels. We are continuing to support the AC by providing consultants for Board leadership and grant writing, in addition to programmatic support for medical transportation, the library and computer learning center, the nutrition program, school scholarships and clean drinking water initiatives.  The not-for-profit AC working in collaboration with The Lavender Project will hopefully provide synergy for the entire community to expand programs for economic and social development.

Although The Lavender Project has been completed, St. Anthony’s Alliance is still involved with other projects including the Damien House in Ecuador, Faith Alive Hospital in Nigeria and Casa de Salud in Albuquerque.  These are all worthwhile projects that benefit hundreds of people. I hope these projects are as inspiring for you as they are for us. We hope you will consider supporting — or continuing to support — them through your generous contributions.

Thanks to you all once again!

James R. Tryon MD, Founder