Tag: Medellin

Jun 5 2009

Bob’s notes – special report, part 1

Mission awareness trip
Guatemala, May 16-23, 2009
Colombia, May 24-June 1, 2009
Part 1

Guatemala today
While the sponsors were enjoying a beautiful day in San Lucas Toliman with their sponsored children and aging, on May 18, 2009, an American Oblate priest was killed, and an African Oblate wounded during a highway robbery near Playa Grande, Ixcan, Guatemala. Apparently the assailants wanted the van carrying the missionaries to a regional meeting of their order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). Bullets flew, leaving Father Lorenzo Rosebaugh, 74, dead, and Congolese Father Jean Claude wounded. In the confusion, assailants fled without the vehicle. Father Lorenzo had a long history of taking risks to aid the poor and marginalized. All of us here are deeply saddened by this tragedy.

Spontaneity and laughter
In spite of several alarming events, the sponsors on this trip to Guatemala encountered spontaneity and a great sense of humor among the people they met. The sponsors see and appreciate the need for the presence of CFCA in Guatemala, especially when they learn of the crude reality of a divided society.

On the final morning in San Lucas, Father John Goggin kindly celebrated the Eucharist. We remembered Father Lorenzo in a special way. In his homily, Father John stated, “The world can change, when people learn to walk with the poor.”

Visiting Colombia
We had one sponsored girl and one sponsored aging person who traveled overnight (Cali-Medellin) with staff member Diana to see their sponsors in Medellin. The mother of the sponsored girl, Karen, speaks with such gratitude for the program. Karenís father was shot and killed when she was 5. Magnolia, the mother, states that thieves took his life over a motor scooter and a pair of tennis shoes.

City of the flowers
Medellin still impresses me as a very beautiful and cultural city. Coordinator Transito Hernandez informed us that there are 23 universities here. We have also been learning that Medellin now has more than 3 million people and faces serious human challenges. Only 46 percent of school-aged children are enrolled in school. After 18, the number drops to 30 percent. Those not in school are vulnerable to the many dangers of the streets. At CFCA, we are blessed with a fine central coordinating team – Transito, Martha, Monica, Luz Angela, Erika.
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Mar 17 2009

Bob’s notes – special report

Mission awareness trips and Colombia national encuentro
Nicaragua – Colombia – Dominican Republic
Feb. 21 – March 7, 2009

Sponsors grow in grace
From the moment we landed in Managua on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, we have been a pilgrim community. The sponsors of Nicaraguan children, youth and aging have a culture all their own. Many have been here several times in the past. They have formed strong relationships with their sponsored families and with one another. It is wonderful to see them grow in grace through walking with the poor.

My group had the pleasure of coming to know an admirable young family. The mother, Alba Luz, 27, has taken special courses in the cultivation and use of medicinal plants and natural medicine. She teaches the other mothers in the community, and her husband, Uricer, cultivates corn and beans on property owned by his father. Their 1-year-old Alvaro is awaiting sponsorship. Weíve been over 10 hours in the vehicle this day, much of it over slow-going rocky roads. One flat tire didnít slow us down much.

In the early hours of Feb. 23, we met sponsors Colleen and George MacKenzie, Alhambra, Calif., together with their granddaughter and outgoing 8-year-old sponsor, Danielle Shields. All three are advocates and have found and motivated over 200 new sponsors. George maintains that their relationship with three sponsored children has changed their lives.

National meeting held
In Medellin, Colombia, everyone has worked very hard to make this a dynamic learning experience for all. Each of the six Colombian projects plus our international team (Brenda; Sarah; my wife,†Cristina; and myself) covered a topic of keen interest to all. The topics included formal and informal education of children in Colombia, long-term and annual program planning, sponsored youth and their formation in values, and measuring the impact of our projects. I will add that the cross-project sharing and the CFCA spirit run strong in this group.

colombia-encuentro3

Music plays a big part in this encuentro (meeting) and all encuentros Ö and folkloric presentations by sponsored children and staff form an integral part of the meeting. The conclusions and resolutions of this encuentro are solid, balanced and heartily embraced by all.
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