Tag: Rafael Villalobos

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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May 21 2010

A cathedral of hope

Jerlin Julieta, 17, from Costa Rica, is a senior in high school and a CFCA scholarship student. To fulfill the service component required of all CFCA scholarship recipients, Jerlin, who graduates this year, helps the project staff in several different areas. She accompanies social workers on home visits, and she helps with office work. She is the leader in her community, especially in activities related to the other scholarship students in the area. Together, they help with monthly meetings, celebrations, etc.

Rafa Villalobos, San Jose project coordinator, said that Jerlin means a lot to the project staff. They felt especially protective of her after her father died.

“In the midst of great difficulty, she has moved on, overcoming obstacles,” Rafa said. “When Don Roberto heard her testimony during a mission awareness trip, he said her story was a cathedral of hope.”

In the video below, Jerlin talks about how the CFCA scholarship program has helped her through many obstacles in life and how receiving a good education is allowing her to achieve her dreams.

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Jul 10 2009

Tourism decrease hurts Costa Rican tribe

Information provided by Rafael Villalobos, San Jose, Costa Rica, project coordinator

The global recession has hurt businesses catering to tourists who want to see the world. Itís also hurt an indigenous community that earns a livelihood from the sale of handicrafts to tourists in Costa Rica.

TamborThe Maleku are an indigenous tribe living in Guatuso, a beautiful tourist destination 150 miles from the city of San JosÈ, Costa Rica. Tourists come from all over the world to visit the light blue Frio River, said by locals to have its color because when God painted the sky blue He washed His brushes in this river.

The Maleku try to live peacefully and in harmony with nature. Having lost territory to cattle farmers, the Maleku are working hard to recover the forests and protect local flora. They use the tourism industry to give tours of the forest and showcase the many benefits it provides, such as medicinal plants, colored inks from plants and cacao beans for chocolate.

Most Maleku are artisans, working with local materials from the forest to create handicrafts. Many work as a family, with some members searching for materials, some working in the first steps of preparation, some painting the colorful images and others selling them to tourists. The Maleku make handicrafts by old traditions that celebrate their culture, items like masks, painted gourds, rain sticks and drums.

Maria shows the tambor she makes for tourists.MarÌa Lillian, a member of the Maleku community, is the mother of Marta, 18, a CFCA scholarship student in ninth grade, Joselyn, an 8-year-old sponsored child, and three other children. The family works making handicrafts to sell to tourists. A single mask can take up to 15 days to make and a drum can be completed in about six days. Often a family member must travel up to 25 miles in order to obtain the materials they need.

Unfortunately, tourism has been affected by the global economic crisis. Guatuso has seen an 80 percent reduction in tourists visiting the area. This reduction also means a decrease in sales profits from handicrafts for families like MarÌaís. Previously making $400 a month on handicrafts, they are now selling only $30 a month.

MarÌa is currently making bread to sell because she had no other income besides the handicrafts. It is a difficult situation for the family, who love what they do and value their culture and tradition, but can no longer make enough money to cover their basic needs.

Last year, in order to bring their business closer to the tourists, a community of Maleku worked for months to build a community hall near the road where access of tourists would be easier. Due to the economic crisis, they have only welcomed one group of tourists this year, while last year they received 4 groups each month.

Paul Pearce, director of CFCA international programs, said this story illustrates how sponsorship is vital to help families weather economic ups and downs. ìItís an example of the precarious nature of a familyís narrow budget,î he explains. “Sponsorship can help absorb some of the blow of an economic impact like this.”

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