In a small community where the people had next to nothing, they shared with us what they had . . . boiled potatoes, lacoto (spicy cabbage), and a bit of fruit. This is the place my mind revisits when I think about our week in Bolivia.
Day 2 was the day:
- I met our sponsored child, Abigail.
- We were introduced to the special needs center where we fell in love with child after child.
- We traveled on a single lane dirt road up the side of the mountain until we had to transfer vehicles because of rescue efforts to get a truck back onto the road after it had slipped off into a cluster of trees. (At least it cured me of my fear of mountain driving.)
- We visited a village and learned that the children there finished with school at sixth grade if they were fortunate enough to attend at all.
- We visited several families whose homes were one room structures with a dirt floor.
It was the day we met Justino and Silveria.
Silveria is a beautiful eleven year old girl with dark hair and eyes. We visited her home where her brother, Justino, 24, shared their story:
As a child, Justino, lived south of Colomi higher up in the Andes mountain range where the weather was cold and food was scarce. He spent the first thirteen years of his life as an only child to two caring parents and he shared their happiness at the birth of his baby sister, Silveria.
Life changed in a moment however, when just a year later their parents died suddenly and they were left alone and afraid with no one to care for them.
Justino knew that he could not care for his sister in the high country, so he packed them up and moved from one side of the mountain to the other where the temperatures were milder and the ground fertile. He built a small simple structure that they called home and he began planting potatoes and lacoto on a small patch of ground. Remember, he was fourteen and she was a baby at the time.
Because Silveria was so young during those days when they had very little to eat and their survival was questionable, she suffered from malnutrition which has caused her some learning disabilities. However, she does attend school and also helps her family at home.
They still need so much. Justino is a strong and determined young man who has worked hard to provide for Silveria, and now for his wife, and two little girls, too. He said that he hopes to enlarge the area of his farm and that he wants to grow more produce to sell and make a better life for them all. His greatest desire for Silveria and his little girls is that they will have an opportunity to study and learn.
As I heard the story of Justino and Silveria, I couldn’t help but think that it had the making of a major motion picture. A story of hope and determination. A story of survival and overcoming.
There is even more hope ahead . . .
The wonderful part of their story is that it is not over. I saw the improvements World Vision is currently making in this community in a very short period of time and I am excited about their future prospects, because I also saw what can happen when World Vision has 12-15 years to work with community leaders helping residents become healthy, educated, and self-sufficient.
We can help . . .
My husband and I are excited to be sponsoring several children through World Vision. It’s true that we have had to rethink some of our spending habits. We’ll brew our coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks. We’ll shop in our closets instead of on-line. We may have to skip eating out once or twice a month . . . but it is completely worth any small sacrifice we have to make.
The joy of making a difference in the life of a child like Silveria – that’s a joy that no new outfit or dinner out could ever provide.
When you sponsor a child through World Vision you will know exactly what I mean.