So, we have admittedly been pretty lame on keeping you all informed on what is happening here in Bolivia, but last night our awesome crew of volunteers sat down and made a schedule for who was going to post here and when. I get to kick it off 🙂

I have had the opportunity to be with NCV since the start. I remember the day Endel, our founder and good friend of mine, asked if I would work with Jackie to get this thing off the ground. Endel, who had been volunteering in a home for boys that had come in off the street, saw that the need was huge, that the quality of care being afforded in many homes was not adequate, and that there continued to be large numbers of children that were not being reached by existing programs.

When Corazon del Pastor opened in 2006, it was the first time we felt what it really meant to care for children coming for difficult backgrounds. For the first 6 months we had been supporting existing projects with moderate success. Now, we had kids living with us, depending fully on us to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

So it is pretty exciting for me to see things as they are now 4 1/2 years down the road. Our girls are growing. Some have gone to live with adoptive parents, some have been able to return to live with their families here. And some, while, quite a few now, are becoming young women.

Yesterday was Camila’s 15th birthday, and tomorrow is her big quince años celebration. In the years that Camila has been with us, we have seen her grow into a much more confident person. She is very affectionate, helps out the other girls and staff constantly, and has one of those personalities that makes those around her want to smile.

Camila the day she arrived at CDP.

Camila in December, 2010

We, like any family, face a lot of day-to-day challenges – just on an amplified scale – and, to be honest, some days are better than others. But moments like this, seeing our girls hit important milestones like their 15th birthdays, we are able to witness the fruits of all the investments made by our staff and supporters.

The confidence in the second photo above compared with the first, to me, is such an awesome testimony to how NCV truly is helping improve lives, one child at a time.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Keep coming back to read about the experiences of our volunteers as they live out their lives in Bolivia and alongside the kids and staff of NCV.