Niños con Valor E-Newsletter - June 2009
Greetings from Cochabamba!
We begin this month's newsletter with a bit of a reflection on a familiar passage from the Bible (before it was a Byrds' song). With the many beginnings and endings, greetings and goodbyes, rejoicings and sorrows, and the other things we just don't understand occurring this month, never have these words applied more to our foundation:
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pull up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
It seems that we have experienced just about all of these scenarios in recent weeks, often times from one minute to the next. We cannot thank you enough for your many prayers and words of support and encouragement; they have kept us sane and focused on the bright and expanding future of Niños con Valor.
We hope you're as excited as we are to see all the wonderful things that are currently going on and where we see the foundation heading in the future. As it was last month, there is a great deal going on at NCV, so we hope you'll take the time to get all the way through this update, it will be worth it, we promise!
Peace and Love,
... a time to laugh
This month we had a group of ladies from several Anglican churches around the Toronto area. The group that was working at CDP brought many fun activities for the girls to participate in as their winter vacation drew to a close. All involved had a wonderful time! We are grateful to the group for bringing much needed school supplies and clothes for the girls.
Left - Janice, Cassie and Cheryl, the team that helped us out at CDP. (Photo courtesy of David Hillock)
Right - Cassie with two of the girls during a painting activity. (Photo courtesy of David Hillock)
Left - Cheryl working with the girls on one of the many crafts they shared with the girls. (Photo courtesy of David Hillock)
Right - Finished!
... a time to dance
The girls shared some of their skills with the team and did a few traditional dances for them. The ladies greatly enjoyed it and even joined in!
Above - Isabel teaching the team some Bolivian moves.
Left - Paty showing Diane how to dance without losing her sombrero.
Right - Karina, Paty and Nohemi tired after a wonderful performance.
... a time to get
We're excited to introduce you to our newest "tia" at Corazón del Pastor. She is a student from Ecuador that really impressed us with her maturity and genuine interest in investing in our girls - bienvenida Karla!
*All names have been changed to protect the children's privacy.
... a time to laugh ... a time to weep ... a time to heal
This has been our journey with Guillermo's surgery to correct the Tetralogy of Fallot from which he was suffering. With people praying for him all over the world, we're surprised there was enough room in the operating room for all the angels watching over this little guy! We received the exciting and relieving news that he had come out of the surgery well, and the doctors felt that it had been a success. Initially, he looked good, his color had already improved in his face and hands. However, the next day we received very concerning news that his kidneys weren't functioning on their own. There was a one hour window where he needed to respond to the dialysis, and if he didn't they would have to consider an emergency kidney transplant, if that could even be an option since he had just had such major surgery. We are thankful that he did indeed respond well to the dialysis, and we were all breathing a sigh of relief.
He was continuing to improve and was able to leave ICU and seemed to be doing well, the doctors were starting to talk about being able to discharge him. Then, we got the news that his lungs were filling with fluid and had to be admitted back into ICU. They removed one liter from his lungs- how he didn't drown from that much liquid seems a miracle. Guillermo was NOT happy about being back in ICU and made sure everyone knew about it, so the doctors felt it was okay for him to be monitored from a regular hospital room where one of us could be with him at all times. So it became a balancing act as the doctors worked to find the right amount of liquids that keep his kidneys functioning normally while not overloading his heart and lungs.
Guillermo finally came home to us on Friday! He seemed a bit perplexed as to why everyone was so excited to see him, and the kids were all laughing and wanting to give him kisses and high-fives, but he handled it all well. He'll be staying in isolation for the next few weeks to avoid any unnecessary contact with any germs that could make him sick while he's still recuperating. He's already very strong and is acting like nothing ever happened, which is very encouraging to us. Thank you all again for your many prayers and support during this time.
Left - Guillermo in ICU just after his surgery
Center - Still on oxygen, but doing much better
Right - The day before leaving the hospital, playing peek-a-boo
Above - Guillermo's triumphant return home with Paola, our administrator and very close caregiver.
Above - Everyone helped make the isolation room as hygienic and welcoming as possible for Guillermo.
... a time to mourn
We had to say a very abrupt goodbye to Mireya as she was returned to her mother against our better judgment and strong recommendations. It is frustrating when we lack the power to protect our children from a potentially harmful situation. Mireya's mother petitioned to get her back despite only recently getting a room to sleep in at night, and was able to get Child Defense to override both Children and Family Services and us to have her returned. We are doing what we can to ensure Mireya's safety and health, but please be praying for her and for her mother, that she really will make the lasting changes necessary to provide a safe loving home for Mireya.
Left - Courtney with Mireya.
Right - Team member Diane with Mireya in one of the new rocking chairs they donated.
... a time to speak
Miguel is talking, and he's already bilingual! While we're well aware that some children are just late-bloomers, we were concerned about Miguel being more than 2 years old and not saying anything yet because of possible en utero exposure. Thankfully, he is just a late-bloomer and he's saying "Hola" and "Hi" as well as his own version of "Chau", and he just thinks it's the best thing ever (and so do we!).
Above - Hopefully Miguel won't hold this photo against us when he's older :o) He's celebrating at Marcos' birthday party.
... a time to be born
We celebrated Marco's 4th birthday with a Spiderman theme. It was a fun occasion amidst some difficult times, but the kids all had a lot of fun with the piñata and puppet show, and of course cake.
Left - Marcos and little sister, Victoria, celebrating his 4th birthday.
Right - Marcos in front of Batman looking very happy, did he just see his cake come out?
... a time to love ... a time to get
The other half of the Anglican church team was at PDC and they readily poured out their love on all of our children. The following week we also had another woman from the same group join us who had been previously in Santa Cruz. All four of these ladies were either teachers or retired teachers and they brought many resources and lots of experience to share with us. With all the craziness of finding coverage for Guillermo at the hospital, it was a wonderful blessing to have these ladies help us care for our children at the home.
We are extremely grateful for their financial gifts as well as the many toys, educational supplies, cloth diapers, rocking chairs, high chairs, and a dryer they gave to us.
Left - Charlene, Sheila, and Diane with our little ones. (Photo courtesy of David Hillock)
Right - Diane with Miguel in the big play room.
Left - Sheila and David playing outside. (Photo courtesy of David Hillock)
Right - Charlene enjoying a giggle with Marcos. (Photo courtesy of David Hillock)
Left - Charlene with a new dryer and highchair in the Cancha.
Right - PDC kids and staff presenting a thank-you banner to the team for all their hard work and wonderful gifts.
We are also excited about the new toddler beds that we were able to receive because of the generosity of both Orkney Helping Hands and Following the Master Carpenter. Marco and Nohemi were both very proud of their new beds, and you could tell Nohemi was really excited that she had a 'big girl bed' like the other girls instead of a crib.
Left - Nate Hitson and one of his apprentices putting a bed together.
Right - Marcos modeling with his new bed, and obviously having a good day by the hard-earned sticker on his forehead.
... a time to hate ... a time to speak
A sad reality of serving the HIV/AIDS community is dealing with the injustice, ignorance, and discrimination that they experience on a daily basis. One of the areas that our foundation is growing in is the area of advocating for the children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. We are encouraged to do this often precarious work because our God is a God who hates injustice, and we are called to seek justice and bring a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Please be praying for us as we move ahead in advocating what is best for our children. By speaking up, we risk angering powerful people and possibly weakening partnerships we have worked hard to build, but ultimately, we must do what we feel is in the best interest of the children in our care. Pray that those with whom we are dealing will see that our motivation is purely to help these children get the care they deserve and that we will find favor with them.
*All names have been changed to protect the children's privacy.
... a time to mourn ... a time to weep
On the same day of Guillermo's successful heart surgery, we received a phone call from a friend telling us that a 16-year-old boy from the streets had been stabbed to death. Although we have not been working with him specifically, it is a boy we knew. He was one of the boys that helped us paint the wall at Pedacito de Cielo. It is so sad when a young life is lost, such a waste, especially when the murder was due to alcohol and glue.
... a time to heal
Last month, around 2 weeks after her daughter, Natalia, was born, Sara's son Kevin pulled down a large bag full of clothes on top of himself and fractured his femur. He now has a body/upper leg cast and is a very bored 2 year old as he has to be lying down all the time.
... a time to love ... a time to build up
The stress of Kevin and her newborn put together seems to be taking its toll on Sara and it seems she is struggling with past addictions once again as a coping mechanism. Please join us in praying for her and her family at this time.
... a time to be born
On a happier note we celebrated Kevin's second birthday earlier this week, joining the family in eating cake, drinking Pepsi and giving gifts. Although he was lying down the entire time, he appeared to enjoy himself!
Left - Sara and Kevin together at his 2nd birthday party.
Right - Kevin showing off his cast.
Left - Kevin happily caring for new baby sister, Natalia.
Right - Barbara trying to get Kevin to blow out his candles on his cake.
... a time to plant
Finally, we are currently in the process of growing our Street Light program which entails hiring a half-time counselor/social worker who will help provide more holistic care to the street kids with whom we're working. While we are focused on helping the street girls because there's a lack of options for them, we realize it is necessary to work with the boyfriends as well in order to make any real progress with the girls. Please be praying that we will find the right person for this position and that they will really help grow this much needed outreach.
*All names have been changed to protect the family's privacy.
... a time to plant ... a time to build up
In previous newsletters we've talked about how our Reality Tours are connected to our One At A Time outreach, this past month, through the monies donated, we were able to invest in and support two families with solar ovens, blankets, and about one month's worth of food.
Left - The first family we visited, a single father and his young children.
Right - The children with some of the toys they received from the team.
Left - The second family was a family that had come down from a small mountain village because of the exceptionally cold winter.
Right - Mom explaining to the team a little bit of what their life is like.
Above - Two of the boys with their toys.
Additional thanks go out to CEDESOL, their sister organization, Sobre la Roca, for continuing to give us the training on how to use the solar ovens and Brennan Connolly of Sustainable Bolivia for making it possible to offer the ovens at a sizable discount to our staff who have gotten excited to see how well they work at the homes and are eager to be able to use this wonderful technology in their own homes.
Left - The girls gather around their first attempt at making bread in the solar oven.
Right - A variety of potatoes being prepared for lunch- yummy!
Left - Ruth Whitfield of Sobre la Roca explaining to the group how to use the ovens effectively.
Right - NCV staff with Brennan and Ruth and some of the solar ovens being purchased.
*All names have been changed to protect the families' privacy.
... a time to embrace ... a time to part ... a time to laugh
This month was a difficult one as we had to say goodbye to so many wonderful volunteers. Each one, no matter how long they were with us, made an impact on the children they worked with, as well as the staff and volunteers around them.
Courtney, Pete and Sydney, and Liz, you guys were such wonderful blessings to our foundation. Thanks for your willingness to share your talents and abilities and give so much of your time to serve the children in our care. We can't imagine getting through the past few months without you!
Left - Pete giving Marco a piggyback ride.
Right - Liz playing with the kids in the rice bins (much easier and cleaner than sand).
Above - Courtney and Lourdes.
Above - Sydney with Pete and Kim at a volunteer night out.
If you would be interested in volunteering with us in any capacity, please write Carolina at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can be part of the Niños con Valor family.
As you can see, there's so much going on at NCV! We're excited and encouraged by all that we see, even the difficult times as they allow us to rely less on ourselves and more on God, more on one another. We don't foresee next month being much quieter, so we want to encourage all of you to stay up to date with what's going on with us on our blog, that way our newsletters can be bit shorter :o) We're also twittering now too, so you can stay connected on Twitter.
Many times we are asked to let you know how you can be praying for the foundation, the staff and volunteers and the kids. If you'd like to be added to our prayer partner list where you'll receive additional email updates as needs arise, please write to us at email@example.com.
... a time to build up ... a time to gather stones together
All of you can join us in praying about the possibility of receiving land on which we can start to build. We have long had the dream of Ciudadela Niños con Valor, a village concept that would allow us to invest your donations in a lasting future for our children instead of paying it into renting our current facilities. We are currently in conversation about this opportunity and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and discernment as we move closer to this dream becoming a reality.
From all the staff and volunteers here in Cochabamba, Bolivia,
Peace and Love!