Tag: Peru

Dec 2 2010

We honor some of Walk2gether’s heroes

Catherine QuirogaCatherine Quiroga, CFCA director of information services, sent us this reflection from Peru. She is with CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen and the Walk2gether team.

I wrote a long report on everything I’ve seen and decided it was way too long. So I’ve taken a stance at communicating one aspect of the walk: the heroes/saints I encounter daily.

1) Israel, camper driver

Only until you drive one of the vehicles for the walk can you truly appreciate what it takes to drive at 3 mph. Israel has driven the camper for nearly the entire walk (with the exception of Venezuela).

Israel, Walk2gether camper driver

Israel

Go home tonight and try to drive this slow. It is nearly impossible ó at least for me.

Tomorrow I hope to ride with Israel to see how he manages to let the camper creep forward without killing the engine and without using the clutch and brake constantly.

This is a tense job. If you get too far ahead (I consider about 100 yards too far ahead of the walkers), you stop and wait for them, but you are watching in the side-view mirrors (you canít see directly behind this thing) …

So it is a constant creeping forward while watching in the side mirrors where the walkers are ó of course, keeping an eye out for anything that might harm the tires ó rocks, etc.

Israel is a quiet, humble man. He takes excellent care of Bob and [Bobís wife] Cristina, not only driving the camper, but making sure they have everything they need.

2) SeÒora Luz, organizer

I didnít have any idea how much organization it took to pull this thing off. Every meal must be planned, places located, hotels secured ó for varying numbers of people on a daily basis.

SeÒora Luz

SeÒora Luz

Yesterday, there was no place within a reasonable distance for lunch so SeÒora Luz called her friend, Robertina (I believe she and SeÒora Luz walked with Bob as he entered Peru) to fix lunch for us.

It was an outrageously delicious meal served at the ruins of an archeological site that her daughter and son-in-law are helping to uncover (they are archeologists). Amazing food in an amazing place.

SeÒora Luz does this day in, day out for the walk. Today (our rest day) she and her husband (heís another story ó a real sweetheart ó keeps us laughing and acts as a father to everyone) went to mark each 5k along the route for tomorrow.

This way the driver knows exactly where to stop and SeÒora Luz knows exactly where to set up for breakfast, where weíll have lunch and where weíll end up so she can line up a hotel. Ö

She is so pleasant. When I relayed (CFCA CEO) Paco Wertinís gratitude to her for everything she is doing for the walk, Bob and CFCA, she asked me to relay her gratitude back to Kansas for the opportunity to stay busy.

She does all this as a volunteer.

3) Bob

Sure he walks 35 km (more than 21 miles) each day, but did you know as we head to the hotel, he gets into the front passenger seat of the camper, plugs in his laptop, waits while it boots up, plugs in the modem, connects to the Internet to check his emails and monitor the world news?

Bob Hentzen

Bob Hentzen

I watched yesterday as his connection dropped several times. He just tried it again and again Ö just part of the game down here. That laptop goes everywhere with him. His patience and diligence to stay in touch is admirable.

Seeing Bob with the girls and sisters from a residence home in Peru the other day was beautiful. The girls were singing a song that required a response from whomever they had addressed in it ó he playfully sung his response back and then had to sing mine.

He also took time to address them before they left for Lima ó encouraging them, reassuring them. They listened to every word.

Today (our rest day), he spent the better part of breakfast and quite a while after, discussing plans for the activity day in Lima.

He said he sees the walk as a period of formation for future leaders of CFCA. He is ensuring that the values of CFCA continue in the future as he walks each day and talks individually with the people who will be instrumental in creating our worldwide community of compassion.

After lunch, we focused on how to get his video and audio files to you. He never quits. He is like the Energizer bunny ó always focused on CFCA, the movement.

Take care all,
Catherine

Nov 15 2010

Desert brings clarity to Walk2gether in Peru

Rafael Villalobos, CFCA project coordinator in San Jose, Costa Rica, sent us this blog post about his walk in Peru with CFCA Co-founder and President Bob Hentzen.

Bob and the Walk2gether team are still in Peru, as of Nov. 15.

ìBut then I will lure her back. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.î ó Hosea 2:14

This text from Hosea brings profound clarity to Walk2gether pilgrims as we traverse the desert of Peru.

Rafael Villalobos, CFCA

Rafael Villalobos

Our Lord has an uncommon way of enchanting us. He brings to the desert those who have been chosen and talks to their hearts.

In the desert, you either trust him or die. There are no certainties or comforts. It is a place of insecurity and solitude.

The desert is a place where we feel we can easily lose important people and things in our life.

In this desert, God talks to the heart of CFCA. He is luring, enchanting and questioning all of us who are part of this movement.

In this harsh reality, he calls us to return to generosity, toward dreams that feed our desire for a new world, and to trust that he is with us on our journey.

It is a call for radical love. We need lots of love to be able to walk these roads.

I believe that this experience is a call to leave a comfortable life, without commitment, without devotion, and to turn toward a lifestyle more in tune with the call we are receiving.

Don Roberto (Bob Hentzen) always says that being in CFCA is a vocation, a calling. Itís not easy work.

It is truly impressive to watch him and DoÒa Cristina (his wife) go step by step in the middle of the desert, walking with happiness and hope.

Walk2gether in the Peruvian desert

The Walk2gether team continues in the desert of Peru.

Recently, the movie ìEat Pray Loveî was released. I have tried to conjugate these verbs in this desert of Peru:

Eat: There are no luxuries in the desert. We eat simply at the side of the road the food prepared by DoÒa Luz. The food tastes glorious when it is prepared with love and shared among friends.

Love: Love conquers pain and fatigue. Here in the desert, love is more pure, without applause or media. You need a love beyond limits to be able to walk this path. We support one another. We encourage one another to keep going when we are tired.

Pray: ìI will lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slipî (Psalms 121:1-3). This psalm profoundly reflects the experience of praying in the desert.

May God grant us all the spiritual experience of a desert so that we can rediscover the true sense of our life of service to those most in need.

Residents of a girlís boarding school in Lima joined the walkers for a day. Hear Bobís podcast below.

Oct 25 2010

Walk2gether brings out hope on the highway

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joined Walk2gether in Ecuador. Hereís his perspective on how the walk shows hope in action, especially among those living in poverty.

ìÖtribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappointÖî ó Romans 5:3

Eddie Watson, from CFCA communications department

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joins Walk2gether in Ecuador.

At CFCA we talk about hope a lot. Itís in the name of our sponsorship program: Hope for a Family.

It appears in many of our publications, and itís posted throughout our headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. Itís at the heart of what this organization is all about.

But have you ever actually witnessed hope?

I hadnít until I visited Ecuador and walked with Bob and CFCA families on Walk2gether.

Hope was everywhere. Right now, somewhere in Peru, hope is walking along the right edge of a highway in the middle of a desert. Cars are whistling right on by.

In fact, there is a hope trail that stretches from Guatemala south more than 5,000 miles to Peru.

I read the scripture passage cited above on my flight home to the U.S. It jumped off the page at me, and I thought it illustrated what I experienced on Walk2gether and what the walk is really all about.

The families CFCA serves face tribulations every day, challenges far more intense than walking the 21 or more miles a day on the walk. CFCA serves families who walk several miles every day just to get water.

No, walking wasnít challenging for the beautiful people who met us as we passed through their communities.

What was challenging for many of them was walking the distance in flip flops or school dress shoes, because it was all they had.

But they didnít complain. They had far more character achieved through lives in the rural mountains of the Andes; character developed working for $7 a day on someone elseís land; character achieved by having to work 12-hour days to feed your three kids and send them to school, to give them a better future.

Borja Homero

Borja Homero, the father of a sponsored child from Mira.

Two sponsored children participate in Walk2gether.

I was walking in a rain shower with Bob early one morning, feeling bad for all the families with us getting drenched.

I began thinking about all the money I spent on the gear keeping me warm and dry: $140 Gortex-lined boots, a $40 fleece jacket, a $50 rain jacket.

We came to a resting point, and we lined up to greet the families and thank them for joining us. I wish you could have seen their faces.

They were so excited to meet Bob and so proud to walk for the organization. Nothing was going to stand in their way. This was one way they could give back.

As much as Bob is walking to show CFCAís love, these families are walking to say ìthank you.î They are thrilled to be on the journey.

I saw the hope in their eyes.

Their hope makes my food taste different. It makes my showers shorter, my ìI love youísî better, and makes me want to jump out of the bed in the morning.

The hope I saw makes me want to give my best.

Bob says this is what the walk and CFCA are all about. He says we should ìbe at our best for the poor because they deserve it.î

It started making more sense to me how a 74-year-old man can dream of walking 8,000 miles with these families. He sees hope.

I was privileged to see it. The worldwide CFCA community is beginning to see it, too, as we spread our message to more and more people.

My dream is for everyone to see it.

Oct 18 2010

Walk2gether: CFCA helps families grow like trees in Peruvian desert

Yesenia Alfaro is the CFCA project coordinator in Santa Ana, El Salvador. She has been walking with Bob in Peru, and she sent us this recent update.

Yesenia Alfaro, CFCA project coordinator in Santa Ana

Yesenia Alfaro

Walk2gether has covered 375 kilometers (about 233 miles) in Peru, South America. We have walked through many towns and cities observing the reality of this country and its people.

I have seen great contrast, tourist areas with huge hotels, oil exploration areas and poor families living in the middle of the desert sand lacking basic services.

Poverty and inequality are everywhere; they just have different shades in different places.

Every day our road is different. However, risks remain the same such as crossroads with heavy traffic, large vehicles and high-speed driving, sometimes up to 150 kilometers (approximately 93 miles) per hour.

Our group of five or six walkers is very vulnerable, but we can feel Godís protection and the prayers offered by all families who are part of CFCA walking in spirit with us.

Loneliness on the road, long distances, exposure, and the poverty and inequality we see only serve to motivate CFCA and its mission to transform this reality.

While walking in a desert, my attention was caught by some trees that were growing in the middle of the desert.

I asked myself, ìWhy plant a tree in this desert? How are the trees going to survive?î

Peruvian desert tree

Tree planted in a Peruvian desert

These trees were planted with the hope of seeing them grow. They were planted with a different method: planting four bottles with water, with very small holes in the bottom, so the tree could be wet enough until its roots grew a little.

The results are trees with green leaves and signs of developing life.

Many times, we think that families and communities we serve canít grow because it is too difficult for them to develop.

Now I see families like these trees. They lack many things and go through lots of difficulties. The terrain is hard to work, but it is not impossible for it to produce and give life.

All we need to do is find the right method, with the hope that these families will be able to bloom.

Bob always invites us not to close our eyes to those who are in need.

They are there, close to us, and their blooming will require lots of work, effort and sacrifice, but the satisfaction will be much bigger.

Sep 21 2010

Walk2gether enters Peru

Bob Hentzen and the Walk2gether team crossed into Peru on Tuesday, Sept. 14. They would appreciate your prayers as they will be walking through remote areas far from the region where CFCA works. It will be about 820 miles before they get to the CFCA project office in Lima.

Bob will be in Peru until mid-January 2011. He will cover challenging terrain, including mountainous areas in the Andes and desert regions along the coast. Despite the obstacles, he has expressed his appreciation for support from friends and family.

Along with his wife, Cristina, an international support team will be traveling with him for the next month: Yessenia Alfaro, from the CFCA project in Santa Ana, El Salvador; Irrael Itzol, from the Hermano Pedro project in Guatemala; and Luis Jaco and Miriam Cartagena from Ocotepeque, Honduras.

Go to CFCA’s Peru country page to learn about our work in Peru. We also have a video about a Peruvian family who’s building a new house with CFCA’s help.

We also encourage people to post prayers and messages of solidarity for Bob and the team. We’re at 500 comments and counting!

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.

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 23 2009

The power of one

By Kim Plumb, member of the advocacy team

NeemaNeema, shown here in the picture at the right, may be young but he already knows the power one person has to make a difference in the world. Thatís because a person named Vanessa made a huge impact in his life. Neema is a sponsored child, receiving care through the CFCA project in Tanzania. Before sponsorship, his situation was bleak. But when Vanessa stepped forward to become his sponsor, he began receiving life-giving benefits, including medication to treat his illness. Today, his life is much different.

CFCA advocates know that there are many more children like Neema, who need a sponsor to make a difference in their lives. Thatís why, from March until the end of May, we are inviting our advocates to participate in a special sponsorship drive called The Power Of One. During this time frame, their challenge is to accept One folder and Find One Sponsor.

Did you know that if each advocate found JUST ONE sponsor, it would be enough to sponsor all the children waiting in Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua! Thatís incredible. Please keep our advocates in your thoughts and prayers for a successful sponsorship drive.

If you are interested in learning more about the advocacy program, or participating in the Power of One campaign, contact the advocacy team at 800.875.6564, or by e-mail at cfcaoutreach@cfcausa.org.

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.