Mission awareness trip
Aug. 30 ñ Sept. 7, 2008
Boliviaórich yet poor
Rich as it is in minerals, natural gas and oil, Bolivia is regarded as one of South Americaís poorest countries. Subsistence describes the struggle of many of our sponsored families. They are very much on the low end when it comes to the distribution of resources and opportunity. Yet they are very much on the high side on helping us to grow in awareness and grace. Characteristic of many CFCA projects in Bolivia is a guitar-toting nun and a chorus of highland children, smiles burned into their faces by the mountain wind and sun.†
ìThe economic situation is out of control in our country Ö many times we are unable to offer the families what we have planned in our yearly work plan. This is the result of the urgent need for food. Our main products now cost too much.î Tamara Quinteros, CFCA Coordinator, Santa Cruz.
“My sponsor resides in the U.S. but she lives in my heart.” CFCA Cochabamba Scholar
ìAt CFCA I met God.î Cirilo, Cochabama
ìI have two mothers Ö the one who wakes me up each morning and sings to me Ö and my second mother (Mary Jones) who is my sponsor. Even though far away, she loves me and is concerned for me.î Adriana, subproject Barrio Lindo, Santa Cruz
ìYesterday was my sponsorís birthday, and even though he lives far away, we celebrated his birthday in our home in Barrio Lindo, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.îóMother of sponsored child
Fruits of sponsorship
At the Comedor Cristo Mensajero, children, scholars and aging receive nutrition, school supplies, shoes and uniforms. We visited mother Genovava who raised eight children on her own after her husband died. Sponsored sons, Ismael, 19, and Alex, 18, both are about to finish college prep. The family has built a nice home with help from CFCA and two grown children working in Spain.††
Dusty Okinawa Subprojects
This has been one of those days when we literally ate lots of dust. But when received with much enthusiasm and love, one hardly notices the inconveniences. I accompanied sponsor Anntoinette Johnson-Preston in her visit to the family of Antonio Lozano. We walked through several pastures. Mom Gladys cooks with wood on a three-stone stove. Dad Jesus works on a cattle co-op owned by Japanese, mostly on horseback eight hours a day. He got special permission to leave work and be with us a couple of hours. They have eight children, seven still at home, and sponsored son, Antonio, walks far to school. Sponsor Anntoinette wants to invest in a couple of all-terrain bicycles for the family.†
Reality of Cochabamba
Eufronia Taquichiri, coordinator, shared these statistics:
People living in extreme povertyó39 per cent
Malnourished children under age threeó24 per cent
People who have no access to good drinking wateró66 per cent.
Our families change place of residence quite often and there is massive migration to Argentina, Spain, Italy, the United States and to other countries.
Final day in Bolivia
After visiting subprojects SP and VSU, located in El Alto at 13,448 feet, a city of one million said to be the highest, most challenged and fastest growing city in Latin America, I am impressed by the depth of community of compassion experienced here. Most of these families have been rejects from a burned-out mining industry or economic refugees from the countryside.
Thank you, sponsors, for being such messengers of hope. Please join me in prayer for the people of Bolivia.
La Paz, Bolivia