Tag Archives: Bolivia

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.)

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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.

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Jan 26 2011

‘Smiles, appreciation and love’ from Bolivia

John and Carol Aceti, CFCA sponsors, recently returned from a mission awareness trip to Bolivia. Here is John’s description of the experience:

John Aceti's mission awareness trip

John writes, “The first photo is of Carol and John with Claudio in Cochabamba. The second photo is a lovely young girl and lead dancer who entertained us. The third photo demonstrates smiles, appreciation and love of the women of Bolivia.”

Our mission awareness trip to Bolivia was both humbling and awesome. †The trip has affected us positively in many ways.

It has made us more cognizant of the many needs of the people as well as their generous and hospitable ways.

We met our sponsored child, the competent staff, all the wonderful people and the little 4-year-old girl who pulled on my shirt sleeve and asked, “Are you my father?”

All staff members in each of the three countries where we sponsor children are dedicated and committed to the program.

John and Carol Aceti, Texas

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Jan 18 2011

Meta’s mission awareness trip to Bolivia

Here are comments from the evaluation form that one of our sponsors, Meta, sent us after a recent mission awareness trip to Bolivia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did you find that the orientation and information provided by CFCA project staff during the trip adequately described the host country and CFCA’s work there?

Yes. My favorite part was Cochabama ñ that is where I really saw how CFCA works with the people there.

Would you recommend a CFCA mission awareness trip to others?

Yes.

Why or why not?

To appreciate the country and culture. I suggest to anyone who has or is planning on sponsoring a child, adult, teenager to go on these trips. I really understood how CFCA works.

Please describe your impressions of the trip and how the trip affected you personally.

I am still affected ñ which is good!! I took over 500 pictures and posted about 50 on Facebook … My impression of this trip was awesome. It was a humbling experience. CFCA taught/teaching how to survive, how to succeed. They appreciate it so much with their huge smiles and pride.

CFCA did not give them a fish to eat for one day ñ CFCA taught them how to fish so they can eat for a lifetime!!

Note: To see captions to Meta’s pictures displayed in the slideshow above, check out our Facebook album.

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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.

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Dec 17 2010

ëHow big a difference CFCA makes …’

We welcome comments from people returning from individual sponsor visits about their experiences. Hereís a written evaluation from Scott VanDerveer, who recently visited Cochabamba, Bolivia, to meet his sponsored friend.

Did you visit your sponsored friend? Yes.

How did you coordinate the visit? I called CFCA and arranged the visit through the very kind and helpful coordinator in Kansas City. She followed up with an email that put me in touch with Eufronia (the Cochabamba project coordinator).

Fileberto and Scott

Fileberto and Scott

What was the primary purpose for your trip (to see your sponsored friend, visiting family, business, personal travel, etc.)? I was studying Spanish at the Maryknoll language school in Cochabamba for six weeks, so that allowed me to be in the area long enough for a visit to be logistically possible.

Did the assistance provided by CFCA Kansas City staff sufficiently prepare you for this trip? If not, please tell us what we could have done differently. Absolutely. Thank you, CFCA Kansas City Staff! :-)

Was the CFCA staff at the project site helpful and knowledgeable? I was so impressed with Eufronia and her colleagues. She came to the language school with a translator to pick me up.

They took me (via a hired cab which they contracted for the entire visit) to the CFCA project office where I met Fileberto (my sponsored child) and his social worker. It was a Sunday and these three adults were giving it entirely to Fileberto and me so we could have a rich and fruitful visit.

I am so, so grateful to them. To me, they are saints.

Please describe your visit and how the trip affected you personally. I was profoundly affected. It is a day that I will never forget and one that will affect my life from now forward.

Even though I had read his profile, I didn’t have a clear concept of just how profoundly poor Fileberto’s family is. Nor did I realize that without my sponsorship, Fileberto would not be able to attend school.

The impact my involvement makes on his life blew me away!

I also didn’t know until I met him that he sees me as more than a sponsor; I’m his godfather (padrino). That took me by storm.

Fileberto and Scott

Scott takes home some gifts from Fileberto’s family as the two say goodbye.

As a seminarian in training for ministry, I have lots of opportunities to talk about CFCA and my experience. I have spoken about this to all of my friends, to 100 teenagers and a Catholic junior high youth rally, and soon I will write an article on my visit for our local diocesan Catholic newspaper.

Everyone I tell is moved and expresses interest in becoming sponsors. I know of two who have already sponsored because of my story … and more are on the way.

Please share any additional comments or suggestions about your visit.

I am THOROUGHLY impressed with CFCA. Only by going to a project in person can someone truly understand how big a difference CFCA makes in the lives of the poor you serve.

God bless you all!

Note: Scott is a seminarian in training for the Roman Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. He hopes to be ordained in 2013. He also wrote about his trip, “Knowing the Poor,” in The Evangelist, the official publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

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Feb 26 2010

The best birthday gift

By Shirley Foley, CFCA sponsor

On Aug. 30, I went on a mission awareness trip to Bolivia to meet my sponsored child, Kevin, and to visit the different CFCA projects. The mission awareness trip coincided with my birthday, Sept. 1, and this trip was the best gift that I have ever received.

I couldnít wait to meet my godson, Kevin, who will be 8 years old next month. Kevin and I have been writing to each other regularly for nearly three years now, and have become close through our letters. Meeting Kevin personally for the first time was truly a moving experience. As we hugged, I was in tears ó tears of joy and gratitude for the gift of sponsorship of this beautiful child. Kevin is delightful: he loves to play football, loves to draw, was the best student in his class last year, is an excellent reader and is very precious to me. Kevin and I were able to spend three days together visiting homes and projects with our group

As I am writing this, I am filling up with tears, not tears of sadness, but tears of joy as I remember the outpouring of love by our Bolivian friends. We visited homes and projects each day. In every project and in every home, we were received with such warmth and love as one could not imagine. During these visits, we, the group of sponsors, experienced a whole range of emotions ó love, joy, kindness, heartbreak, laughter, friendship, faith, goodness, generosity, sadness, elation, the love of God, solidarity and the oneness of us all.

It was obvious that our Bolivian friends had spent months preparing for our visit. Everything was perfect. No detail was overlooked. Everywhere we visited, we were met with welcoming banners, with music and dances, delicious home-cooked meals, handmade gifts, necklaces, flowers and their wonderful warmth and love. And we danced!!!!! Joyfully!!!

The sponsors that I met in this group are loving, caring people who filled my heart with happiness and appreciation to have the pleasure of sharing this visit with them. I think that we really didnít know what to expect on our visit. We knew that we would see poverty, but what we found was a deep and abiding love ó a love showered on us at every step of our journey. Yes, we saw poverty, heart-wrenching poverty, but through and overall was the ever-present love and hope and faith of our beautiful Bolivian friends ó men, women and children, old and young. They thanked us for our help and called us Godís angels. But they are Godís angels. We could never give these wonderful, kind and generous friends what they have given to us.

We were honored to walk with them, honored to stand in solidarity with them, honored to be united with them and honored to be family.

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