Tag: South America

A woman and her son in Colombia.
Mar 8 2017

Making Unbound her own

The story of a hardworking mom on International Women's Day

A woman and her son in Colombia.

Beatriz and her son, Juan Pablo, in their home in Cali, Colombia.

Sponsored children in Unbound’s programs make up the foundation of our global community, but it’s often their parents who are empowered by the benefits of sponsorship to make decisions for their family that foster growth out of poverty. That’s why you hear so many stories about mothers and fathers here on the blog.

Beatriz in Cali, Colombia, is the mother of 11-year-old Juan Pablo, who is sponsored by David in Arizona. She took some time to share her story about overcoming hardship with Henry Flores, our communications team member based in Colombia.
Keep reading

Jul 5 2012

How to make ‘ajiaco bogotano’ soup from Colombia (recipe)

CFCA serves more than 22,000 sponsored children and elderly in Colombia. Many sponsored children in Bogota like to eat “ajiaco bogotano” soup with their families on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter or a birthday lunch.

Martha, member and leader of a CFCA mothers group in Bogota, Colombia, teaches us how to prepare “ajiaco bogotano,” a delicious and traditional chicken and potato soup. This soup can also be served with rice and a slice of delicious avocado!
ajiaco bogotano
Read more and see pictures of this dish!

Jan 10 2011

Bob’s updates along Walk2gether

We’ve been receiving almost daily reports from Walk2gether’s progress in Peru. The team has reached its highest point to date at 14,856 feet!

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Bob writes on Jan. 8:

Breathtaking natural beauty surrounds us on this highest day of Walk2gether.

We have walked this entire day at more than 14,000 feet and peaked at 14,856. With the arrival of Alberto Castro (originally from Colombia), we now have walkers from the United States, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Ecuador.

We left our home base at 2 a.m. to reach our starting point. The camper was running low on gasoline, and we had quite a challenge finding a gas station (called ìgrifoî in Peru) open at this early hour.

Very much open to overflowing were the many disco bars, catering to the young people of Juliaca. I pray that with Godís grace and walking together, we can encourage these young people to channel their energies for good.

In contrast to the partygoers are the humble peasants, walking through the cold of the early morning carrying heavy loads of fruits, vegetables and handwoven blankets to market.

Jan. 7

The day started off cold but indescribably beautiful on the high chaparral that goes on forever, adorned by inspiring shepherd families caring for herds of woolly alpacas, llamas and vicunas. The wind kicked up in the afternoon with an abundance of hail.

The walkers put on all the clothes we had, and were still very cold. Two of the group took ill from the altitude, but are OK this next morning, gracias a Dios.

The storm pelted us but good, and it left the city of Juliaca blanketed in white, looking like Christmas eves of old. But weíre here with Godís people; we carry you in our hearts; weíre safe; weíre getting there; we send our love.

Jan. 6

After enjoying a phenomenal day with 386 sponsored members and their families, Father Alex and staff on Jan. 2, we have gone deeper and higher into the Andes, and right through a National Reserve for Flora y Fauna.

Yesterday and today, we have walked at right around 14,000 feet above sea level. Very cold in the early morning and late afternoon.

It’s a challenge to walk at these high altitudes, but itís also a very rewarding privilege to walk with Godís people amidst majestic snow-peaked mountains and hundreds of alpacas, vicunas, llamas and song birds.

Listen to Bob’s podcast in December about walking along the high chaparral:

Walk2gether on the high chaparral by cfcausa

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


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,

Nov 8 2010

Walk2gether sparks gallery of T-shirts

So we all know that CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen is passing through 12 countries on an 8,000-mile walk called Walk2gether. Weíve had UnivisiÛn, Fox 4 KC and the Kansas City Star report on him.

What you may not have heard about is the fashion statement that CFCA is making in the process!

Many of the countries in which Bob is walking have made Walk2gether T-shirts for CFCA staff members, sponsored friends and their families to wear as badges of honor.

Enjoy the sample gallery slideshow that weíve created:

Local companies and some CFCA livelihood projects have benefited from the design, manufacturing and distribution of these T-shirts.

One report in particular touched us: Benjamin Nestor, a sponsored youth in El Salvador who is in a wheelchair, created the Salvadoran T-shirtís design.

Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communication Center in El Salvador, told us that Benjamin taught himself how to use Photoshop, a graphic design program.

ìA group of friends gave Benjamin the computer and he started to play with it,î Henry wrote. ìHe is awesome!î

Note: One of the benefits CFCA provides sponsored members is clothing. Many of them especially enjoy wearing their T-shirts designed with the CFCA and Walk2gether logos!

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.


Luis Olivares”

Sep 20 2010

Colombia’s Feria de las Flores (Fair of the Flowers)

The Feria de las Flores, or Fair of the Flowers, takes place in Medellin, Colombia, every year. Tr·nsito Hern·ndez, coordinator of the Antioquia project in Colombia, writes about this yearís fair, which took place in August.

2010 Feria de las Flores

Colombia celebrates its 53rd Feria de las Flores, or Fair of the Flowers, in 2010.

“This year we celebrated the 53rd version of the Fair of the Flowers. This fair constitutes one of the most important cultural events in Colombia. … This is an event that unites all the people of Antioquia and many national and foreign tourists who visit the city of Medellin. The city decorates itself for approximately 10 days to enjoy the flowers and a diverse number of recreational, cultural and fun events, which gain in importance year after year.

“Ö Our sponsored children have also participated in a very special manner in the competitions of dance and have won first place. They have also participated in the festival of martial music bands. This year the band from one subproject won the fourth spot in the competition among more than 34 other bands that competed.

“The children are full of hope when they participate and feel very proud of representing CFCA in events as important as this one. From their institutions of education, they also participate in many cultural events of the fair.

“Other forms in which some of our CFCA families participate actively are with stalls for selling different kinds of food and drink. They go out in the streets enjoying the events and the crowd selling water, juices or fast food, generating extra money for the family. Some mothers are hired by restaurants and businesses which attract large crowds and need more employees, even though it is just temporary. It is very clear that the festivities significantly help the economy and many of our families take advantage of these events to make an extra peso.î

Click here to see a Facebook photo album of the flowers, as well as other events from the fair.

Jun 25 2010

Walker, where are you going?


Thirteen years ago, there was a young girl in the Colombian town of Tarso with no clear goals or dreams. But one day some people came by her house asking what the needs of her family were, and suddenly a hope for her future awakened.

Thanks to the those social workers and two angels, her sponsors, the young girl, Yuli, started to feel motivated in her schooling and improving herself each day. God was granting her opportunities through the people Yuli considered her angels.

As the years went on, Yuli, the girl who previously didnít have any aspirations, now had a defined path. She was attending high school as a result of the financial support and encouragement of her angels, and kept focused on the dream she wanted to accomplish, which was to graduate.

Yuli, with determination, kept telling herself, ìI will keep on no matter what.î Her efforts were worth it as she reached that goal and after graduation started a career with CFCAís Madre Paula project.

She experienced the love of her angels and is grateful to them for the many years of spiritual and financial help. Yuli also thanks God for allowing her journey to cross paths with her sponsors.

Yuliís words of wisdom:

“Life has great opportunities in store for the ones who assume challenges and take risks.

Sponsorship may change the course of a personís life entirely if that person learns to take full advantage of it, but their work does not end there. They must become like a hummingbird that is so skillful in spreading seeds from branch to branch, from flower to flower. There are not limits but definite purposes for the ones that take the opportunity.

Dream, fly, share and never forget that there will be angels on your way.”

This reflection was written by Deisy Yuliana Betancur Cardenas, former sponsored child and now a CFCA staff member in the Madre Paula project in Colombia. Yuli shared her reflection with participants on a CFCA mission awareness trip in Colombia in May.

May 7 2010

‘The temperature is getting hotter each day’

Veron Telar, project coordinator of Manila, Philippines, has been walking with Bob and the walk team since Walk2gether left Guatemala. Below, she gives us a little update of how the walk in Colombia is going.

We are resting today (Wednesday). We are doing fine here in Colombia. What a best time to rest: we are at the beach right now. So far we have walked 3,162 km since we began in Guatemala. I am looking forward to walking another 1,000 km until June.*

Normally we get up between 2:30 ó 3:00 a.m., depending on the distance that we have to travel to get to the place where we ended the previous day. We basically end at 5 p.m., but the other day, we started at 3 a.m. and finished at 6:45 p.m.

The temperature here is getting hotter each day, as we are walking close to the ocean. We are now here in Magdalena leading to Cartagena. The last week we walked in La Guajira, and the heat was terrible. It seems that we walked in the desert ó about 100 degrees F. But, we survived.

Tomorrow we will be on the road again. I am refueling myself with the fresh fish and rice that we are having these days. Sir Bob, Ma’am Cristina and the team are absolutely doing fine.

*Editor’s note: Veron will return to the Philippines in June.

May 5 2010

Singing at the border

After Walk2gether entered Colombia, Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communication Center in El Salvador, contacted Judith Bautista, project coordinator for Bogota, Colombia, to see how the walk is going.

How was the experience of Walk2gether entering Colombia?
JudithIt was very exciting. It was Saturday, and I was in company of Isabel, another CFCA-Colombia staff member. We did not expect the walk to arrive until the next day. We were at the border, reviewing some plans and, suddenly, we turned toward the Venezuelan side of the border and saw a group of people with traffic vests and flags, and Bob was leading them. I got really excited, they were singing and we started singing back. It was incredible, emotional. All of us from the CFCA team in Colombia, about 60 people, walked to meet them. We laughed, hugged each other. There was joy, smiles and tears, this was an unbelievable moment for me.

Did the Walk2gether group have any problem crossing the border?
They did not have any problem entering Colombia. One thing we were told by the border authorities is that they needed us to keep informing them of the location of the walk every other week so they could be alert.

How was it for you to work with the CFCA Venezuela team to organize the walk?
It has been great! They are a great team: hard-working women and very close to their communities. The project coordinator in Venezuela, Sunilde, and I have an excellent relationship, when we saw each other at the border we both cried, and it was hard to say goodbye.

Sunilde and I have a lot in common. We both share the same spirit for CFCA, the same values, and we both enjoy working with the sponsored members of CFCA. Our dream of finding options for our communities is something that unites us. She is a woman who has done much for the communities in Venezuela.

Sunilde shared with me the rough moments they experienced in Venezuela while walking. In some places, people, in general, understood about the walk, but some who didnít understand were rude to them.

So, working with the Venezuelan team gives me a sense of admiration because in spite of all their challenges, they are doing so much good for the students, families, communities, etc. Their sponsored children and elderly are people with brave hearts.

What is the feeling of the CFCA Colombian team of welcoming the walk?
Looking at the walkers crossing into Colombia is something that we were dreaming about for a long time. In Colombia, we are excited and happy, hearing our voices united in song with the voices of the Venezuelan team was beautiful.

Ending one section of the walk and beginning a new phase is admirable. The feeling is something hard to describe, it is something that you feel in your heart and soul.

Seeing both flags, Colombian and Venezuelan, waving in the middle of the border between both countries, was like being in limbo, where nothing else mattered. I remembered that borders can be drawn by the men but, in spite of them, CFCA reaches across, like a big family, and words are inadequate to describe this feeling.

The flag of unity of CFCA tells us that something very special is happening in the world and in all of the countries where Walk2gether visits.