Tag Archives: Peru

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

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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

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Dec 7 2010

Walk2gether: Peruvian children cheer on Bob

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.

We walked into Lima to a residence home for girls (Nuestra SeÒora de Misericordia, or “Our Lady of Mercy”).

When I arrived on Thursday morning, we came here to ride out with them (or them with us) to meet Bob. We stuffed 20 people into a van probably intended for 15 ñ girls, a couple of moms, a couple of Catholic sisters, Luis (from Ocotepeque, Honduras) and myself. What a welcome to Peru!

They fashioned extra seats in the van by putting in little wooden school chairs. This was in addition to girls sitting on one anotherís laps. They were all so friendly, good-hearted and joyful.

Walk2gether in Peru

A Peruvian group joins Walk2gether out in the desert.

Bob told me the residence home had contests ñ the group that could come up with the best cheers for Bob would get to join him for a day.

When we found Bobís entourage (thankfully, close to a rest time), they cheered him on appropriately. Lots of hugs, hellos, etc. Ö After a brief rest, we got them vested up (with safety vests) and we were off.

When we stopped for lunch at 30 km (about 18.6 miles), one mom could barely move. Her feet seemed to be made out of wooden blocks. Ö. But she wouldnít give up.

She finished out the entire 35 km (about 21.7 miles) ñ so sweet, so determined to be a part of this movement and show her gratitude to Bob. She joined us again today. Both she and her feet fully recovered.

Back to today …

We drove to the residence home after yesterdayís walk and stayed the night here. And although many of the girls said they were going to walk with us today, none showed up at 3 a.m. when we were leaving.

At some point in the morning, a somewhat small bus stopped on the other side of the highway and our first group joined us (about 15-20 in this group).

A little bit later up the road, I saw something ñ a huge sign … more kids. Introductions, songs, cheers, more vests handed out, more water and onward … a little further down the road, the familiar blue van ñ kids from the residence home. What a joy to see them again!

Walk2gether in Peru

Girls from the residence home meet Walk2gether.

As we neared Lima, another group ñ more girls from the residence home walking to meet us! What a delight!

We now had anywhere from 70-100 people ñ moms, kids and vehicles. … Thankfully we also had a police escort.

As we prepared for a water/rest stop, they moved us further along to a safer place ñ there was now time for rest and more water.

I do hope I can get the pictures uploaded of the welcome we received at the residence home in Lima. Both sides of the entrance lined with kids, teachers, other CFCA subproject coordinators along with a band. What fanfare.

They treated us to a nice program ñ more band music, introductions, speeches, etc. before they finally released us!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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