Tag: Chile

Sep 29 2010

Chilean staff report on trapped miners

Since the collapse of Chileís San JosÈ mine that trapped 33 miners, many in the CFCA community have been keeping the miners and their families in our prayers. No sponsored members were directly affected; however, one father of a sponsored member was scheduled to work in the mine on the day that it collapsed.

A recent Yahoo news report said that the rescue efforts have made some outstanding progress.

Luis Olivares, who works for CFCA in Chile, sent this report.

“Many thanks for your concern about what is happening to our 33 countrymen who are trapped 700 meters (0.43 miles) deep in the ground. This occurrence has all of us dismayed since our country is like a big family, even though there have always been social and political differences.

“All of us Chileans are praying for the miners every day, that they may have the strength and the courage to survive, that they may not be daunted by the difficulties or setbacks during the process of their rescue.

“There are no fathers of sponsored children trapped in the mine. There was a father of one of the sponsored members who worked in that mine, but on that day he decided to change his schedule at the request of a friend. Therefore, he was saved from being trapped in the mine. This father said how terribly at fault he felt because of this.

“Some fathers of sponsored members work in other mines, especially in other small mining companies without any security at all, with lit dynamite in hand and running, with shovels and picks in subhuman conditions. Those parents only work sporadically at this job since most of them are looking for other alternatives to making money. At present the price of copper is good and the companies are using contract workers because the price of copper makes it convenient. This will change when the price of copper goes down and these workers turn to agriculture or construction.

“…I must add that the miner is a tough person, accustomed to the roughness of the job, a man who can survive in extreme conditions, accustomed to the solitude of the desert and to living in permanent risky conditions. They are very proud of this.

“For example, years ago many coal miners in the south of Chile refused to reconvert to labor as construction workers because, in their estimation, being in construction was a job for ‘delicate young ladies.’

“We pray daily that the miners may not become depressed and that they may keep up the fight. May God help them.

“Yours,

Luis Olivares”

Mar 3 2010

Early report indicates no CFCA fatalities

An early report from staff members in Chile indicates that there have been no fatalities among sponsored members. Our staff will continue to assess the situation of families impacted by the quake and send a more detailed report at a later date.

The report also said that a day center where aging members ate breakfast and lunch and took handicraft and art workshops is uninhabitable. As a result, the sponsored elderly will receive their nutritional benefits at another location and all workshops have been postponed until a new location is identified.

And finally, Sara Leiva, the Valparaiso project coordinator, said that sponsors with friends in Chile should keep in mind that letters both in and out of the country will be delayed. Some letters may arrive late or coated with earthquake dust. For now, the staffís top priority is to assess and respond to the current needs of the families.

For more information, read the full news story on our website.

Mar 1 2010

CFCA staff are fine

The following is an email sent Saturday evening by Sara Leiva, CFCA coordinator in CFCA Project Valparaiso, Chile, to Henry Flores, director of Communications Center in El Salvador, about her first impressions of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile early Saturday morning.

Dear Henry,

Good afternoon. Thank you very much for sharing the worries and concerns of the CFCA community. We have power in some areas of Valparaiso, Chile, and I was able to send this email from my sister’s house.

It was 3:35 a.m., when the earthquake started. We are kind of used to this because Chile is an area with high possibilities of earthquakes; however, this earthquake kept going longer than usual. It was then when my husband, Luis, our son and I tried to secure ourselves in the safest section of our apartment.

The noise was terrible. In spite of having the lights off, they began turning on and off by themselves. Shortly after that, the power went off. From my home, you can usually see all of Valparaiso and ViÒa del Mar, but when I looked outside, everything was dark. The water was off, too. Everything was full of dust, and phones lines had collapsed.

Some time later, some of my CFCA colleagues started to phone me, because we could not call out. Praise God, they were fine. At this moment, I can say that my family is well, too. Praise God, the construction in Chile is strong and can withstand the full force of the earthquakes.

As soon as we had daylight, I went to the CFCA office. On my way to there, I saw some areas of Valparaiso. They are very affected because they are historical constructions and not as strong as present-day buildings. I saw houses collapsed and many destroyed walls. The CFCA office looks OK. When I entered, I saw everything on the floor, the walls have cracks and the place is full of dust.

One of the walls on the first floor have collapsed, and there was water coming out from somewhere. I contacted some firemen who were working in the area, and they helped me close it. The firemen told me that I needed to report the damages because some of the walls are loose and dangerous. They suggested that we evacuate the office building.

We immediately took the files and other important things to the houses of some of the staff members to keep them safe. We knew that in situations like this there is always a high risk of robbery. After that, I visited the house of some of the staff members: Luis Olivares, Olga and Mauricio. We need to contact a friend of ours who is an engineer to have him assess the damages we have in the office.

The most affected area is located south from Valparaiso, and at this moment, we are in alert of tsunamis. The islands in front of Valparaiso are being affected by the high waves.

Henry, we strongly believe that our CFCA families are very scared, without running water, power or communications, but we are hopeful that they are well. As soon as we receive more news, we will notify you. We hope to have a steadier channel of communication, because we wonít be able to go back to our office for some time.

Thank you for your concern. I will be in touch.

Sara

Read the news story

Feb 27 2010

Walk2gether team aware of tsunami warnings

We received the following report this morning from Karen Allemang, the lead Walk2gether coordinator, about how Bob and the Walk2gether team are impacted by the tsunami warnings resulting from the 8.8 Chilean earthquake.

I called down to Nicaragua and spoke with Adolfo, who is with the walkers. He’s driving one of the vehicles and is the technical expert. The tsunami warning covers an extensive area including Central America. Aldolfo said that they had heard the news earlier this morning when they started walking. They are only 15 or 20 kilometers from the coast so they are keeping an ear to the news stations. They aren’t overly concerned for their safety, but are aware of the warning. I let him know that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shows that a tsunami has been generated but doesn’t specify where in the Pacific. He sends greetings to all.

Feb 27 2010

Earthquake in Chile

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the earthquake in Chile. We have contacted our Chilean staff, and will update you as we receive information from our project located in Valparaiso, Chile.

The Valparaiso project, the only CFCA project in Chile, is approximately 220 miles north of the epicenter. CFCA serves more than 5,000 sponsored children, youth and aging members through this project.

We ask that you join us in keeping all those affected by the earthquake in your prayers.

For more information about the earthquake in Chile, read this article from NPR.

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.

Nov 4 2009

Bob’s travel notes to Chile

Mission awareness trip to Chile
Oct. 24 ñ Nov. 1, 2009

Iím told that the word ìChileî means ìland where the earth ends.î Staff reports that Chile is considered ìFirst in Inequityî in Latin America, with 42 percent of resources owned by less than 10 percent of the people. There are so many marginalized families, whose only shelter is a one-room wooden structure. A recurring theme is violence to women and children. Our CFCA families strive to make it on very modest income. According to staff, 70 percent of mothers in the Chile project are single heads of family.

A day with our sponsored elderly
CFCA currently serves 566 aging sponsored friends in subproject D. Most live precariously in houses constructed with nontraditional materials. Some of them rent a room in another familyís home. Only six live in homes for the elderly. The aging sponsored friends receive a $103 monthly subsidy from the Chilean government. However, the money is not enough to cover basic needs such as nutrition and clothing. CFCA provides daily breakfast, lunch and snacks for them at Casa de DÌa, a facility attached to the Valparaiso project office.

Bob serenades the sponsored aging during lunch.

Bob serenades the sponsored aging during lunch.

At the Claretian Sisters facility at El Cerro El Litre, the elderly can attend different kinds of workshops. Every year, the subproject offers a field trip to give them the opportunity to share their talents and stories, and also just to have a fun time.

Testimony of Maria Cena, a 14-year participant in the program: ìMy dream as a girl was to have loving parents, and I achieved it. Iím also grateful for excellent teachers and social workers. At age 80, I now play guitar and sing in our choir.î

Free clinics serve health needs
After sightseeing in Valparaiso, the group visited Consultorio de Salud las CaÒas. Consultorios de Salud are free health clinics created by the Chilean health system to serve the less fortunate. ValparaÌso has 13 consultorios in the hills of the city. About 11,000 people benefit from the services. Not only do these clinics provide medical and dental care to our sponsored children and aging, but they also make CFCA aware of other families that could benefit from the sponsorship program.

Sister Sara at the El Litre CFCA facility devotes herself to the aging and to the most rejected street people of Valparaiso. Their source of warmth at night is the dogs with which they sleep. Relying completely on Godís providence, her team of volunteers provides lunch each day for more than 100 people on the street. She receives donations of food and clothing.

Key programs for women
The training program was created in 1992 to help the mothers of sponsored children learn skills that would allow them to save money and increase the household income. The program holds workshops in tailoring, weaving and hairdressing, and provides supplies, transportation costs and child care for participating mothers. Every year, around 230 mothers benefit from the training program.

The CFCAís Womenís Program was created in 1993 to provide a space for the mothers to be better informed about domestic violence and its impact on their relationship with their children. The program offers workshops on self-esteem, child-mother relationships and formation for all members of the family. Around 200 people per year attend the workshops.

The fishermen and women of La Caleta
La Caleta de Pescadores Portales ValparaÌso is the biggest fishing cove in the region. Approximately 200 families make their living from the fishing activities here. Family fishing is not only a dangerous job, but it also presents big challenges, such as a lack of government assistance, climate changes, high cost of gasoline and overwhelming competition from the commercial fishing industry. Here, fishing is done both with nets and hooks. Some of the sponsored childrenís mothers work in this cove as fishhook baiters.

Don Juan, head of the fishermenís union, explains in Spanish and good English the life and lore of family fishing in Chile.

Don Juan, head of the fishermenís union, explains in Spanish and good English the life and lore of family fishing in Chile.

Indigenous roots
Cabildo, one of the communities served by subproject RUR, earned its name from the indigenous people known as Cabildos. Subproject RUR was created in 2001 to serve the rural communities of the ValparaÌso region. This is the biggest subproject of the ValparaÌso project with 1,258 children and 116 aging. The mid-sized Las Cenizas copper mine in Cabildo is owned by Chilenos who are seriously working on minimizing ecological impact of the mine.

Thank you for joining us in this wonderful experience! Cristina and I are looking forward to a couple of days ìon the farmî in San Lucas before heading for Costa Rica on Nov. 7. We shall be with you in spirit, song and prayer.

Godís 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
Haiti
Feb. 27
Dominican Republic
May 24
Ecuador
June 12
Philippines
June 26
Madagascar
July 5
Venezuela
July 20
Colombia
July 26
Liberia
July 28
Peru
Aug. 6
Bolivia
Aug. 15
India
Sept. 7
Brazil
Sept. 15
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Sept. 16
Mexico
Sept. 18
Chile
Oct. 9
Uganda
Dec. 9
Tanzania
Dec. 12
Kenya

 

Updated July 1, 2011

Feb 12 2009

Solidarity walk begins the new year

CFCA President Bob Hentzen and 1,000 fellow walkers celebrated his upcoming walk† from Guatemala to Chile with a solidarity walk in the community of San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. The solidarity walk, which took place on January 23, was almost three miles long and took about two and a half hours.

Guatemalan staff members and CFCA families organized the solidarity walk as a way to kick off preparations for Bob’s walk to Chile, which is set to begin Dec. 29, 2009. The route Bob will travel will weave through 12 countries (see below for a list) in Central and South America and is scheduled to conclude in April 2011.

During the solidarity walk, the 12 countries were represented by their national flag along the three-mile trek.

We hope you’ll enjoy this video clip of the solidarity walk.

Bob will be walking through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Chile, although not necessarily in that order. The official route is still being finalized.

The purpose of the walk is to facilitate the building of community and strengthening of the bonds of solidarity among our CFCA families, sponsors and co-workers. Bob will use this walk to thank the families for the inspiring example of their daily walk, and tell them that we love them. He hopes to help counterbalance some of the isolation of poverty and offer the poor a sense of identity with the CFCA community.

“On my journeys, I find that CFCA truly walks with the poor and enables many people of good will to do the same,” Bob said.

In 1996, Bob walked more than 4,000 miles from Kansas City, Kan., to Guatemala. His upcoming walk will continue that trek.