Mission awareness trip to Colombia
May 24-June 1, 2009
This mission awareness trip focuses on CFCA projects near Medellin and Cartagena, Colombia. The next Colombia trip in July will visit the area of Bogota. I find the CFCA teams in these projects very devoted and very organized. Please keep CFCA Colombia in your prayers.
Project Madre Paula
During our gathering at the university, we experienced flowers, mothers and a warm welcome. Mary Luz Palacios is the coordinator and the brand new mother of Emanuel. In the Madre Paula project we have 1,078 children, 150 aging and 11 seminarians.
Introductory words by Mary Luz:
“It is very moving for us today to have this chance of meeting each one of you. We are totally convinced of the importance of these visits. Every child, elder, dad or mom manifests particular needs … our mission is much more than granting material benefits … we make every effort to respond to the multiple needs, worries, sorrows, joys and dreams behind each face.”
Can you believe it? I came to Cartagena over 50 years ago as a young brother and teacher at Colegio La Salle. We just passed the school, still huge as ever up there on the hill.
Gathering at home office
Welcome and prayer acted out by the seven children sponsored by members of this group. Isabel Hernandez, coordinator, said:
“Thanks for the confidence. Thank you for coming. Let us live fully this beautiful experience.”
Visit to Pasacaballos
In a town located about 15 miles from Cartagena the people deal with high levels of malnourishment, drug addiction, domestic violence and high level of school dropouts. On the upside, I find 387 children, aging, scholars bright-eyed, grateful and eager to overcome any obstacle. Teenager Loraine spoke in pretty accurate English with a simple message: “I love you.” Scholars are working with sponsored aging in basic reading and writing.
In the third family my group visited, 18-year-old Jose Vicente, sponsored since second grade, expressed the highest form of admiration for his aging campesino grandfather by stating that he plans to stay in farming. Next year he plans to enter the university to become a professional agronomist and then become a CFCA sponsor. Late in the day, we visited a CFCA livelihood bakery. The eight mothers involved here look sharp in their white outfits and face masks. Their location for sales looks good, and they have a large variety of breads. They also enjoy professional assessment by two business majors from the University of Cartagena.