Tag: Walk with the Poor

Mar 11 2011

Walk2gether touches the tropics, rainforests of Bolivia

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Bob Hentzen recently wrote to the CFCA headquarters from the road in Bolivia. You can see the full update on his Facebook page.

Itís a pleasure to be in touch from Bolivia.

The going has been challenging with high altitudes, swollen rivers and steaming tropics. Yet each morning we have walked with confidence and wonder into the morning sunrise and enjoyed spectacular beauty of the rainforest.

We have been accompanied and inspired by walkers from different nations – devoted sisters from Poland and Colombia, volunteers from Switzerland and the USA, orphans and youth with different abilities, CFCA sponsors from Minnesota and Iowa.

Through these photos we offer you the smiles of our young people, the determination of our mothers and the joyful exhaustion of our walkers.

I thank you for your solidarity as we move on now to the CFCA projects in Brazil. We will enter Chile at Tambo Quemado on March 22. The Atacama Desert awaits us.

We ask for your prayers.
Bob

Walk2gether is now in Brazil. The walkers arrived there March 9.

Mar 5 2011

Walk2gether plans visit to Mineiros, Brazil

Eutimia NevesWalk2gether will arrive in Brazil on March 9.

To commemorate Walk2gether, CFCAís project in Mineiros, Brazil, will conduct a small solidarity walk through the city streets, stopping at the plaza to watch artistic and cultural presentations by the sponsored children. They will visit the families CFCA serves and at night share a dinner of Brazilian food.

Eutimia Neves, coordinator of CFCAís Mineiros office in Brazil, shared these thoughts about the arrival of Walk2gether.

For my team and me, Walk2gether is an opportunity to become aware of the sponsored members, their families and for the community to show the good work that CFCA is doing for our people.

This makes more people feel more solidarity so that they can fulfill their mission, not only in Mineiros, but perhaps, all over the world.

We believe there will be more encouragement and acceptance by the sponsored members and their families as they understand that CFCA does not want to give them everything, but that they need to learn to fight to improve the lives of their families.

CFCA offers this help, and together, they will have more hope for their families.

Read about Carnival, which is taking place in Brazil from March 4 to 8.

Mar 2 2011

How long is 8,000 miles?

Bob on Walk2getherCFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen is walking 8,000 miles through 12 countries in Latin America to shed light on families living in poverty.

Do you know how long 8,000 miles is?

  • It’s twice the length of the continental United States.
  • It’s roughly the diameter of the planet Earth.
  • It’s like walking the Boston Marathon approximately 300 times.

We’re hoping to put together an infographic explaining just how long 8,000 miles is, and we’re asking for your help! Do you have other comparisons or measurements to help our audience grasp how long Bob’s walk really is?

Feb 4 2011

Update from Bob in Bolivia

CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen has now walked more than 5,700 miles of Walk2gether’s 8,000-mile route.

Walk2gether at Festival Folklorica

CFCA dancers at the Festival Folklorica in La Paz.

He has passed through La Paz, enjoying his experience of the Festival Folklorica there.

“I see a lot of shows around the world, but this one has been an enormous and spontaneous outpouring of ëcarino talento, entusiasmoí (talent and enthusiasm) ñ in particular among the children and youth with special abilities and the sponsored elderly,” he writes on his Facebook page.

Bob also visited Cochabamba, and here’s a note we received Feb. 2 from Eufronia Taquichiri, Cochabamba project coordinator:

“Cochabamba is living the emotion of the walk. Don Roberto (Bob) just passed a grueling stretch, completing the planned 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) with such courage and strength against the icy winds of our antiplano, climbing to reach the summit at 3,800 meters (almost 12,470 feet) above sea level.

“To my colleagues in Kansas: this walk is a true challenge. My respect and admiration for Don Roberto. May God bless him always. This is a life lesson. … Viva CFCA! Viva Don Roberto and DoÒa Cristina (Bob’s wife) always!!”

Bob is now in the Andean town of Pongo. Today (Feb. 4) is a rest day for Walk2gether.

(Check out our Facebook album of†Walk2gether pictures in Bolivia.)

Jan 27 2011

Bolivian festival of miniatures a big deal

Walk2gether arrived in La Paz, Bolivia, in time to celebrate Las Alasitas, a local festival with indigenous roots.

Bolivian miniatures
Bolivian miniatures in hand

Here are two Bolivian miniatures, gifts to some of our staff in International. They are about an inch tall and easily fit into the palm of your hand.

Henry Flores, director of CFCAís communication center in El Salvador, spoke by phone with Ruth Valderrama, La Paz project coordinator.

Ruth and the walkers were arriving at the hotel and she did not have much time, but she managed to provide this brief explanation of the tradition.

The Las Alasitas fair is a local tradition that usually starts on Jan. 24 and lasts for about three days. People from all over La Paz and nearby El Alto come to the fair.

The fair is celebrated only in La Paz at the fair center and on the main avenue of El Alto, very close, but higher in altitude, than La Paz.

During the fair, local artisans, mostly indigenous people, make miniatures symbolizing different material wishes people have for the upcoming year.

These wishes can be for a house, a car, etc. People buy a miniature of the item they wish to receive.

There are also miniatures for those looking for a match. Women who want to find the man of their dreams buy miniature roosters. Men looking for a woman buy miniature chickens.

This major cultural celebration has its origins in indigenous Andean traditions. In ancient times, people would present miniatures to Ekeko, a household god of abundance and prosperity.

Many families in the CFCA sponsorship program participate in this local cultural celebration.

To see pictures from the fair, see our Facebook photo 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.

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

Jan 4 2011

A letter to the Walk2gether camper

Here is a tongue-in-cheek post from Rafael Villalobos, CFCA project coordinator in San Jose, Costa Rica. Rafa joined CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen on Walk2gether and made friends with the iconic Walk2gether camper, a vehicle that has accompanied Bob since the walk began. The camper is with Bob right now in Peru.

Hello, dear friend camper:

I remember the first time I saw your picture. You looked good. Don Roberto (Bob) told me, ìItís old, like me, but it still runs.î

Walk2gether camper

CFCA Walk2gether camper.

They told us your name: Walk2gether Camper.

We waited for you happily. I fondly remember March 1, when you arrived in Costa Rica together with the walkers. Everyone watched you with respect.

You came loaded with luggage, lots of water, tools, spare tire, food, kitchen supplies, clothes for the walkers, medicine, electric generator, etc.

You looked tired and beaten, but in your lights, I noticed an immense joy.

With your flashers, you animated the children and sang with us, ìWhile walking, borders disappear. We become of one land, one cry for justice, and we blend together like the land blends when we make footprints while we walk. We join dignity and hope in one flag Ö Latin America.î

You drove thousands of miles on your tires. The logos and banners you wore indicated you were not simply a camper. ì12,500 kilometers bringing hope.î

You were like Noahís Ark, crossing oceans to bring hope and blessings to all the villages.

I remember one rainy afternoon when you shared what it means to be part of CFCA: Read more about the Walk2gether camper

Dec 29 2010

We’ve reached the 1-year anniversary of Walk2gether

Walk2gether officially turns 1 year old today!

The trip by our CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen through 12 countries is about love ñ to show families living in poverty that they are not alone.

It’s also to raise awareness about the dire living conditions faced by these families, who often earn less than $2 per day.

Walk2gether in the Peruvian desert

A picture of the Walk2gether team as it passed through the desert in Peru.

Bob wants to highlight the tremendous potential of the families, who struggle heroically to provide for their children.

Bobís day begins around 2:30 a.m., when he wakes up in an old Toyota camper. Like many of us, he enjoys a hardy breakfast and kisses his spouse before hitting the road.

His wife, Cristina, travels with him and often walks with him to encourage him and others who join the walk.

Bob covers an average of 20 to 25 miles daily through vast terrains ó from beautiful farmland and mountains to treacherous highways and deserts.

Yet Bob still finds the time and energy to meet some of the 182,000 families CFCA serves in the countries he walks through.

ìIím grateful to people living in poverty for all that they have taught me about life and unconditional love, even under the toughest of circumstances,î Bob said. ìI enjoy the time we get to spend together because they give me the energy to keep going.î

Walk2gether is now in Peru. The team expects to enter Bolivia on Jan. 16, 2011.

Read CFCA’s news report on celebrating the 1-year anniversary.

Dec 27 2010

Walk2gether: Visiting the ‘Saints of Lima’

Catherine QuirogaCatherine Quiroga, CFCA director of information services, sent us this reflection from Peru. She has safely returned to the U.S. after joining Walk2gether, which continues in Peru.

From ìHeroes/Saints of the Walkî to ìSaints of LimaîÖ. The hijas de la misericordia (Sisters of Mercy) who run the residence home for girls are my No. 1 candidates.

The love and loving discipline they lavish on these girls are evident in how wholesome, happy and loving the girls are. The girls learn not just school subjects but life lessons ñ how to cook, clean and take care of each other.

The mother superior was here from Chile. She frequently served us and quietly cleared the table. Her attitude of gentle service and compassion is shown in each of the sisters.

One stood out among the others (although she probably wouldnít want to) ñ Hermana (or rather Madre) Cristina. As Bob (CFCA President Bob Hentzen) said, her spirit permeates this place ñ her joyful spirit and openness. Ö I believe those closest to God are full of joy. Over the last few days we have walked with God through these precious sisters.

Weíre sad to leave but onward we go ñ step by step.

Day one
Walked into Lima today Ö More than 80 people were ready to walk at 3:30 a.m..

Walk2gether in Peru

The Walk2gether team continues through Peru.

Ö. It was a challenge keeping this group secure along the road, but they started dropping out at the end of the first 5K, catching buses to return home. At 15K most were done ñ leaving us with about 12 girls from the residence home and the core group as we neared the center of Lima.

I was tracking our speed on my Garmin GPS ñ doing 1 km (about 0.6 mile) in less than 13 minutes. Ö

By now, my feet were ready to stop. I am so glad Bob had cut back to 35 km/day (more than 21 miles per day).

After an hour passed, I thought maybe Israel (our support vehicle driver) missed seeing the marker. We kept moving. Finally we came to a different style of marking ñ it said CFCA.

Turns out the police saw where the original marker was and decided it was too dangerous for us to stop there so they removed it. Ö Bob estimates we probably did more than 40 km (about 25 miles) with all the side roads, highway crossings and the additional km ñ all before lunch.

Day two

Girls from the residence home arrived mid-morning along with Hermana Cristina and a newly ordained priest friend of hers. We eventually left Lima.

At 30K, we stopped at a nice highway rest stop ñ gasoline station/eating places fairly similar to those in the U.S. Ö

After lunch and the final 5K, we bid the girls farewell ñ from here on, it will probably just be the core group.

A child from Peru

A child dressed in Peruvian clothing

Days three and four

We walked past the beaches south of Lima. Almost everyone took the opportunity to sit and watch the ocean.

As we get farther south of Lima you see the wealthier side of Peru ñ motocross bike paths on the hillsides, more personal cars on the road.

The farther we go the more money is evident Ö signs for beach condos, a golf course, etcÖ This is a very picturesque country.

Day five

Yesterday was filled with activities by the CFCA communities. Many displayed their livelihood projects.

Then they had a program for us ñ scheduled to last three hours but took about five. Even the seminarians prepared songs to share.

Ö.After many dances, speeches and songs, they had the grand finale. A ìmotoî had driven onto the back half of the field with lots of bamboo-type stuff. They proceeded to build a structure ñ dedicated to CFCA. Once everything was over they told the parents to keep their children under control and proceeded to start up fireworks that had been wired into the structure Ö Amazing and beautiful Ö

Take care,
Catherine