Thanks to Emily and Tim for all their help!! Emily and Tim visited us as a vision team from the First Presbyterian Church of Coeur D’Alene. Vision trips are different from mission and service trips in that vision teams come to learn about the inner workings of the organization—they meet with the leadership of the children’s ministry of La Trinidad church and the Bolivian NCV board members, in addition to spending time with the kids and tías in the homes and around Cochabamba.
Emily, Tim, and a handful of other volunteers helped us make progress on an aquaponics farming project that we have been running with a family of five orphaned siblings that own farmland just outside of Cochabamba. Aquaponics (the cultivation of fish and plants together) is an ecologically beautiful system. It relies on natural bacterial cycles to convert fish wastes to plant nutrients. The fish and vegetables we produce will help supplement the kids’ diets and the family will be able to sell the extras at organic prices. In the future, we plan to include the kids from Corazón del Pastor and Pedacito de Cielo in the project to give them hands-on experience growing their own food and learning about the environment.
After a delicious picnic overlooking the valley below, we got to work. The men took charge of leveling the heavy plant bed and sealing it with plastic, while the rest of us helped the industrious siblings collect and wash thumb-sized stones to serve as the plants’ soil (because the water is recycled, dirt will kill the fish). It is exciting to finally see this project underway!
It was a busy week. We visited the circus with the little ones, summited El Cristo with the older girls, did arts and crafts in the homes, and took a reality tour of other orphanages in Cochabamba. For me, the reality tour provided insight into what we can provide our kids that larger homes cannot. To my surprise, the big state home wasn’t lacking in toys, flat-screen TVs, and land. Rather, what makes NCV homes unique is the loving family environment and individual support and encouragement that our tías pour into the kids. We are lucky to have friends and volunteers that have become part of our family.