Dear Father and Friends,
Greetings and blessings from Cochabamba, Bolivia, I pray this letter finds you well. I am happy to be back in Cochabamba after being three months away. I was receiving medical checkups at Maryknoll for three weeks. Everything went well and I received the OK from the doctors to be able to return to Bolivia. Last year, when I went back to my sister and brother –in law’s home in Delaware, both of them had passed away. This year was the first time that I went back home to an empty house. I have called this my home for the past fifty years as I always stayed with them. The people in the community, especially those over 55 years of age, as well as my nieces who live only a half hour away, took very good care of me. My nieces informed me that my sister had told them that I could stay in the house as long as I would like for they will not sell it. In 2016, with God’s help, I hope to live there for six moths and spend another six months in Bolivia.
The Program “Amancer” continues to help many children. These children are brought to us by the local police every week. This is a very good thing as they will not be submitted to living on the streets. There are still many children on the streets of Bolivia, children taking care of other children and the government is not doing much to help them.
Now we are seeing the fruits of “Amanecer” and all of those who have lived in our shelters.
Your generous help has allowed us to continue offering the opportunity of a better quality of life for hundreds of children, adolescents and young people. Each one of them comes to us with a personal story about suffering and abandonment yet we know that we can accomplish the dream of self sufficiency through education.
At the moment, after their years of study, several young adolescents have left the Ana Maria House in order to become independent individuals. They have managed to channel their education through hard work. In some cases, students have been able to gain entrance to university. William Shakespeare once said:
“Maturity is the only way to endure life’s hard blows”
There is one brief story about a young adolescent I am able to recall. He is from Ana Maria. Today he lives on his own and on his last year of law school. He left Amanecer about a year ago and paid us a visit last week. He has asked me not to disclose his name. This young man benefited from Amanecer for more than 12 years, going through the different stages of the program.
Through the years he fought to develop mature and respectable principles, always counting on the help of his teacher, as well as other educators in all of our homes. He has been able to overcome a lot of the frustration and the rebelliousness that is typical in cases of children who were left helpless, mistreated; adrift.
He arrived at our very first shelter, Sayaricuy, when he was a small child living on the streets of Cochabamba. He and his family had visited La Paz in order to sell goods. During the festival for the Virgin of Urkupiña, the crowded streets and entertainment ambient set the perfect way out; gave him an escape from his abusive family, especially his step-father. After some time on his own, homeless and without a purpose, the Sedeges brigades found him and were able to get him in touch with Amanecer. He was later admitted into Sayaricuy, his family never reported the loss. Last he heard from his family was that his mother had divorced his step-father and was living in Santa Cruz. His life experiences convinced him to become a lawyer in order to be able to defend himself and protect his rights in the future. He fights to protect the rights of young people who are marginalized through similar situations such as the one he lived through.
Amanecer along with you, our supporters, offered him a solid way to give his life direction and not feel alone. He was able to be surrounded by people that work here at Amanecer who have accompanied and empowered him during all those years of formation and human development. We thank you; we thank you for giving him the opportunity to obtain a future that is based in honesty and one that is worthwhile.
This is only one of the many stories of the boys and girls whose lives have changed for the better. Their lives have truly benefitted from help from people like you and the constant prayers received throughout the years.