Tag: Bolivia

Jan 26 2011

‘Smiles, appreciation and love’ from Bolivia

John and Carol Aceti, CFCA sponsors, recently returned from a mission awareness trip to Bolivia. Here is John’s description of the experience:

John Aceti's mission awareness trip

John writes, “The first photo is of Carol and John with Claudio in Cochabamba. The second photo is a lovely young girl and lead dancer who entertained us. The third photo demonstrates smiles, appreciation and love of the women of Bolivia.”

Our mission awareness trip to Bolivia was both humbling and awesome. †The trip has affected us positively in many ways.

It has made us more cognizant of the many needs of the people as well as their generous and hospitable ways.

We met our sponsored child, the competent staff, all the wonderful people and the little 4-year-old girl who pulled on my shirt sleeve and asked, “Are you my father?”

All staff members in each of the three countries where we sponsor children are dedicated and committed to the program.

John and Carol Aceti, Texas

Jan 18 2011

Meta’s mission awareness trip to Bolivia

Here are comments from the evaluation form that one of our sponsors, Meta, sent us after a recent mission awareness trip to Bolivia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did you find that the orientation and information provided by CFCA project staff during the trip adequately described the host country and CFCA’s work there?

Yes. My favorite part was Cochabama ñ that is where I really saw how CFCA works with the people there.

Would you recommend a CFCA mission awareness trip to others?


Why or why not?

To appreciate the country and culture. I suggest to anyone who has or is planning on sponsoring a child, adult, teenager to go on these trips. I really understood how CFCA works.

Please describe your impressions of the trip and how the trip affected you personally.

I am still affected ñ which is good!! I took over 500 pictures and posted about 50 on Facebook … My impression of this trip was awesome. It was a humbling experience. CFCA taught/teaching how to survive, how to succeed. They appreciate it so much with their huge smiles and pride.

CFCA did not give them a fish to eat for one day ñ CFCA taught them how to fish so they can eat for a lifetime!!

Note: To see captions to Meta’s pictures displayed in the slideshow above, check out our Facebook album.

Jan 17 2011

Bob from the Road – Peru/Bolivia crossing

Bob on Walk2getherBob Hentzen and the Walk2gether team have left Peru and are now crossing into Bolivia.

They have walked more than 5,000 miles of the 8,000-mile walk through some of the highest terrain they will encounter: the Altiplano of Peru. Their highest altitude to date was 14,856 feet above sea level.

Thank you for all your prayers and support of Walk2gether during this time.

Dec 17 2010

ëHow big a difference CFCA makes …’

We welcome comments from people returning from individual sponsor visits about their experiences. Hereís a written evaluation from Scott VanDerveer, who recently visited Cochabamba, Bolivia, to meet his sponsored friend.

Did you visit your sponsored friend? Yes.

How did you coordinate the visit? I called CFCA and arranged the visit through the very kind and helpful coordinator in Kansas City. She followed up with an email that put me in touch with Eufronia (the Cochabamba project coordinator).

Fileberto and Scott

Fileberto and Scott

What was the primary purpose for your trip (to see your sponsored friend, visiting family, business, personal travel, etc.)? I was studying Spanish at the Maryknoll language school in Cochabamba for six weeks, so that allowed me to be in the area long enough for a visit to be logistically possible.

Did the assistance provided by CFCA Kansas City staff sufficiently prepare you for this trip? If not, please tell us what we could have done differently. Absolutely. Thank you, CFCA Kansas City Staff! :-)

Was the CFCA staff at the project site helpful and knowledgeable? I was so impressed with Eufronia and her colleagues. She came to the language school with a translator to pick me up.

They took me (via a hired cab which they contracted for the entire visit) to the CFCA project office where I met Fileberto (my sponsored child) and his social worker. It was a Sunday and these three adults were giving it entirely to Fileberto and me so we could have a rich and fruitful visit.

I am so, so grateful to them. To me, they are saints.

Please describe your visit and how the trip affected you personally. I was profoundly affected. It is a day that I will never forget and one that will affect my life from now forward.

Even though I had read his profile, I didn’t have a clear concept of just how profoundly poor Fileberto’s family is. Nor did I realize that without my sponsorship, Fileberto would not be able to attend school.

The impact my involvement makes on his life blew me away!

I also didn’t know until I met him that he sees me as more than a sponsor; I’m his godfather (padrino). That took me by storm.

Fileberto and Scott

Scott takes home some gifts from Fileberto’s family as the two say goodbye.

As a seminarian in training for ministry, I have lots of opportunities to talk about CFCA and my experience. I have spoken about this to all of my friends, to 100 teenagers and a Catholic junior high youth rally, and soon I will write an article on my visit for our local diocesan Catholic newspaper.

Everyone I tell is moved and expresses interest in becoming sponsors. I know of two who have already sponsored because of my story … and more are on the way.

Please share any additional comments or suggestions about your visit.

I am THOROUGHLY impressed with CFCA. Only by going to a project in person can someone truly understand how big a difference CFCA makes in the lives of the poor you serve.

God bless you all!

Note: Scott is a seminarian in training for the Roman Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. He hopes to be ordained in 2013. He also wrote about his trip, “Knowing the Poor,” in The Evangelist, the official publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

Feb 26 2010

The best birthday gift

By Shirley Foley, CFCA sponsor

On Aug. 30, I went on a mission awareness trip to Bolivia to meet my sponsored child, Kevin, and to visit the different CFCA projects. The mission awareness trip coincided with my birthday, Sept. 1, and this trip was the best gift that I have ever received.

I couldnít wait to meet my godson, Kevin, who will be 8 years old next month. Kevin and I have been writing to each other regularly for nearly three years now, and have become close through our letters. Meeting Kevin personally for the first time was truly a moving experience. As we hugged, I was in tears ó tears of joy and gratitude for the gift of sponsorship of this beautiful child. Kevin is delightful: he loves to play football, loves to draw, was the best student in his class last year, is an excellent reader and is very precious to me. Kevin and I were able to spend three days together visiting homes and projects with our group

As I am writing this, I am filling up with tears, not tears of sadness, but tears of joy as I remember the outpouring of love by our Bolivian friends. We visited homes and projects each day. In every project and in every home, we were received with such warmth and love as one could not imagine. During these visits, we, the group of sponsors, experienced a whole range of emotions ó love, joy, kindness, heartbreak, laughter, friendship, faith, goodness, generosity, sadness, elation, the love of God, solidarity and the oneness of us all.

It was obvious that our Bolivian friends had spent months preparing for our visit. Everything was perfect. No detail was overlooked. Everywhere we visited, we were met with welcoming banners, with music and dances, delicious home-cooked meals, handmade gifts, necklaces, flowers and their wonderful warmth and love. And we danced!!!!! Joyfully!!!

The sponsors that I met in this group are loving, caring people who filled my heart with happiness and appreciation to have the pleasure of sharing this visit with them. I think that we really didnít know what to expect on our visit. We knew that we would see poverty, but what we found was a deep and abiding love ó a love showered on us at every step of our journey. Yes, we saw poverty, heart-wrenching poverty, but through and overall was the ever-present love and hope and faith of our beautiful Bolivian friends ó men, women and children, old and young. They thanked us for our help and called us Godís angels. But they are Godís angels. We could never give these wonderful, kind and generous friends what they have given to us.

We were honored to walk with them, honored to stand in solidarity with them, honored to be united with them and honored to be family.

Dec 23 2009

Walk2gether begins in one week

The walking begins in one week!

On Dec. 29, CFCA President Bob Hentzen will embark on Walk2gether, an 8,000-mile, 16-month journey through 12 countries in Latin America.

CFCA staff and BobExcitement and anticipation are building as families and CFCA staff in Guatemala prepare to bid Bob and his fellow travelers “Buen Viaje.” More than 65 sponsors participating in the mission awareness trip will also be on hand for the launch.

Meanwhile, CFCA staff in Kansas gave Bob an official send-off when he visited the headquarters in late November. Read more here.

Check out the new Walk2gether website, where you can follow Bob on an interactive map, and explore links to his electronic journals and to videos, slideshows and stories about the realities, people and activities in the countries he visits. You can also send messages of support and encouragement that Bob will share with the families of sponsored members and the CFCA staff in the communities he visits.

Walk2gether is a way to help counterbalance the isolation of people living in poverty, and show them that someone cares. The walk will help build community and strengthen the bonds of unity between CFCA’s sponsored members, sponsors and staff. It will also symbolize and promote the unity of countries, races, languages, genders and creeds. Visit Walk2gether.org to learn more.

Oct 22 2009

Notes from the Field – Bolivia

Jose Rodriguez, CFCA’s project director for South America, talks about his recent visit to Bolivia where he witnessed the work being done by two CFCA scholarship students, Juan and Jhaneth. The students are helping to give back to their own communities by working with families to build greenhouses and teaching local mothers to read.

Watch more Notes from the Field
Donate to the scholarship fund

Sep 16 2009

Bob’s notes – visit to Bolivia

Mission awareness trip
Aug. 30 ñ Sept. 7, 2009

Itís a pleasure to share with you the experience of this mission awareness trip and the growth and excitement of CFCA Bolivia.

As background, the population of Bolivia is two-thirds indigenousóthe highest proportion in the hemisphere. Evo Morales won presidential elections in December 2005, the first indigenous Bolivian to do so. A year and a half later, a draft constitution giving more rights to the indigenous majority and more autonomy to the nine states led to sometimes violent demonstrations. Among our sponsored families and especially the youth, the CFCA-lived doctrine of non-violent conflict resolution will play a key part in their attitude and behavior.

A motherís testimony
In the Santa Cruz subproject of Los Bosques, 47 percent of the families are headed up by single mothers. A mother of five, Dominga, told us that belonging to CFCA and attending workshops on human dignity, self-confidence and conflict resolution turned her marital life around and actually brought the childrenís father back home.

Home for prisonersí children
We were privileged to spend a late afternoon and evening with the outgoing girls and boys at Hogar de la Esperanza (House of Hope). This home, dedicated to the children of prisoners, is owned by an association and run by Catholic sisters. We have 38 children sponsored in this hogar.

A tremendous refreshment
On Sept. 1 in Yapacani, we visited families who mostly live in homes made of rough-cut planks. Dads work hard in the fields. The sponsored families are deeply grateful.

Sponsored children play the violins for sponsors

Later in the day, we stepped into the cool and moderately lit parish church and found ourselves in the midst of a full orchestra and chorale made up of children and teensówith about half identified by their shirts as being sponsored in CFCA. The music, except for the Star Spangled Banner sung in English, was classical.

Dancing with the sponsored aging

After the formal concert, the show continued outside on the basketball court with snacks and lots of dancing with the sponsored aging. My partner, Dona Isabel, had obviously worked hard all her life. She threw me around the dance court like a feather.

By land to Cochabamba
On Friday morning in subproject Sacaba, my group visited Dona Tomasaóan ailing grandmother who never attended a single day of school. Yet Dona Tomasa and her husband, Roberto, strive each day to raise and educate Brian, 10, Christian, 12, Norma, 15, and a fourth young girl who was in school. Only Brian and Christian are sponsored. Dona Tomasa spoke of what a fine student Norma has become. Norma spoke of her aspirations to study medicine, and sponsor Jane Kinney-Knotek offered to sponsor Norma.

Youth group impresses
At subproject Pucarita Chica in the afternoon, we were all tremendously impressed by the 50 or so sponsored teens assembled for a meeting. They invited the sponsors to their meeting. Martin, a CFCA scholar, communications major and group facilitator, was able to establish a good interchange between the youth and sponsors. I really felt a sense of ìbrimming with potentialî in these teens.

From Cochabamba to La Paz
About an hour out of Cochabamba, we began our ear-popping climb. Eufronia Taquichiri, aide-coordinator of subproject Melga, Cristina and I traveled with Don Pablo in a Toyota van, which negotiated the mountain roads very well.

Children welcome sponsors

Our gathering at subproject Alto Pampahasi took place on a sun-baked, outdoor basketball court, packed with children, families, teens and the sponsored elderly.

I spoke with a young Aymara mother of four small children who was recently abandoned by their father. She earns a little money by washing clothes in the neighborhood and expressed great gratitude for the sponsorship of two of her children. I am told that 80 percent of the mothers in this area are heads of households but also that 80 percent of the parents in a nearby subproject now can read and write thanks to CFCA classes.

Subproject San Martin de Porres
We have been working in this neighborhood in the southern part of El Alto since 2000. We have 167 children sponsored, about equally divided between girls and boys. This figure is significant because a great number of the families had to move from rural Aymara areas, where boys were favored in opportunities to study. Life is challenging here. For the mothers, small incomes are generated by washing clothes and street vendingómainly food items and sale of macramÈ. For the dads, the work consists mostly of construction help and temporary day labor. They are all deeply grateful for the CFCA presence.

Bolivia has begun a Children/Youth Congress. One of our sponsored girls, Laura, 11, has been elected by her peers and teachers to represent the children of El Alto at this congress. She attributes her successes in life to her family, teachers, sponsors and CFCA.

On to Brazil
Cristina and I have been very fortunate to obtain visas for Brazil at the Consulado here in La Paz. They are quite strict about the requirements but, fortunately, we had everything in order. To scout the roads and conditions for my walk, we will drive the 637 miles from Santa Cruz to the Brazilian border at Corumba. There we will be met by the CFCA team from Mineiros, who will accompany us to visit the projects in Mineiros and Cipauba. Thank you for being with our mission awareness trip groups in solidarity and prayer.

God’s blessings,

Bob Hentzen

Aug 11 2009

August isn’t back-to-school month for everyone

As U.S. students prepare for the onset of school, students in other countries have already taken mid-terms.

That’s right. For students in many countries where CFCA works, school does not start in August or September.

The school year in Central America started in January or February. Those lucky children are only two months away from the end of school. Schoolchildren in India and the Philippines are already into their third month of the school year. And students in Kenyaówell, they follow the British system and attend school all year, with long breaks at the end of each quarter.

Find the school calendar for your friend on the graph below.

School calendar

Related links
Time for school

Jul 2 2009

Celebrating freedom

On the Fourth of July, Americans will gather to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades and picnics. Although the United States and the countries CFCA partners with do not celebrate independence on the same date, we share many customs and events.

In Central America, most countries celebrate their independence on Sept. 15 with parades and music. The running of the Central American Freedom Torch from Guatemala to Costa Rica, taking a total of 14 days, reenacts the news of their independence spreading through Central America.

South Americans celebrate with large celebrations, flying flags, parades, fireworks and feasting. In India, all cities have Flag Hoisting Ceremonies run by politicians and other officials. Indian schoolchildren gather to sing songs and watch the hoisting of the flag.

Under colonization, Haitians were forbidden to eat soup, a meal reserved for the upper classes. Now on Independence Day, it is traditional to eat soup to demonstrate the equality of all citizens.

People of the Philippines celebrate their independence with ceremonies, historic exhibitions and memorial events. Festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony and parade in the historic city of Cavite, where Filipinos first proclaimed their independence.

We would like to encourage you to research how the country your friend lives in celebrates its independence. And from all of us at CFCA, we wish you a safe and wonderful Independence Day.

The Independence Days of the countries CFCA partners with are listed below.

Jan. 1
Feb. 27
Dominican Republic
May 24
June 12
June 26
July 5
July 20
July 26
July 28
Aug. 6
Aug. 15
Sept. 7
Sept. 15
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Sept. 16
Sept. 18
Oct. 9
Dec. 9
Dec. 12


Updated July 1, 2011