On Saturday, Ninos con Valor celebrated our third anniversary. It was a beautiful celebration, with all the joy and chaos that can come with a big event. It was really exciting for me to be a part of, because I remember when I was first here in Cochabamba two and a half years ago. Corazon del Pastor had not been around for too long, and I was in my second year of university. I was learning a lot about the world and getting antsy in the insulated “world” of academia. I heard about this Bolivian organization from my mom, who had randomly listened to Tyson speak at a church in my hometown. I emailed Tyson and Carolina expressing my interest in volunteering, and threw myself into an experience where I had no idea what to expect. And my heart never let go. Now, with Pedacito de Cielo in full swing and more dreams for the future, there are so many things to celebrate. There are tiny daily celebrations, as well has bigger triumphs and milestones.

Pedacito de Cielo was specially decorated for the occasion. There were a lot of blue balloons and streamers, and memorable photos of all of the kids. Of course, sticking to true Bolivian time, we started an hour and a half late. The girls looked beautiful in their traditional dance dresses, and the little ones at PDC made for some hilarious little bugs for their performance of “The ants go marching one by one…” in Spanish.

The little ants ready for their performance.

There were a lot of laughs, and also some more serious moments, where we were reminded of the importance of this work, of being with and caring for these kids. Paola gave a beautiful speech for Guillermo, who has persevered through so much, before, during and after his major surgery. He was his smiley, endearing self, surrounded by love and support. We also celebrated the birthday of Zuleika, the newest member of the CDP family. Zuleika came to us on Friday from another home, and she fit in right away. The other girls gave her a warm welcome and she is a joyful, affectionate little girl who was dancing and laughing and getting right into the celebration.

Our strong Guillermo looking on at the happenings.

Kattia and Zuleika, newfound friends, at the girls’ home.

Having everyone come together like this on Saturday was really special to see.The staff, volunteers, kids, family members and community partners honoured these kids and acknowledged their value. The foundation has many hopes for the future, and I am grateful to be part of this strong community where everyone matters, and where we will move forward together.