We arrived in Bolivia around 7 this morning after an all night flight. It was quite tiring especially when you add in the high altitude! I was not feeling that great in the morning, probably from the exhaustion, but after having some time to rest I felt much better. That and the miracle pill that Maria gave me for altitude sickness. I have no idea what it was! Maria is one of the Bolivian Compassion workers who will be our guide this trip.
At noon our group gathered to take a 40 minute ride to a Compassion center. I had contemplated not going because I was so tired, but am I ever glad that I went! It was so amazing! We went to center 416 in El Alto. When we got there all the kids were standing outside to greet us and waving and holding balloons. Such an amazing sight. They were all so happy to see us. The minute we got off the bus we were swarmed by the children who showered us with hugs and kisses. I was standing there overwhelmved when this adorable little boy can running from out of nowhere and gave me a huge hug. And immediately I burst into tears. It was just so beautiful the love these children were giving us.
We had lunch with the Compassion workers and then the director came around a gave us a little hand craft that they had made for each of us. Of course when she handed me mine, I burst out crying again. I am never going to make it when I meet Rosa! And we were being video taped by one of the Compassion workers as our gifts were handed out and I feel as if he may have lingered on me a little longer than necessary. What are they going to say about the blubbering American girl when they watch that in the future. After lunch, the children came in to do a presentation for us. Some of the girls did a traditional Bolivian dance for us, and some boys did what looked to be a hip hop dance. It was absolutely adorable! Then all the children lined up and shook hands and hugged and kissed us again. This tiny little girl came up to me with her sister and I picked her up in my lap and we had our picture taken together. When she saw the picture she could not take her eyes off of herself and she kept laughing and laughing at it. Her sister brought her mom over and then the mom brought all of her kids over to meet me. What a sweet family! I really wanted to take all of them home with me! I am going to check if any of the 4 kids need sponsors because I would love to become a part of that special family.
We soon after left for home visits with some of the children from the project. As we left, I was mobbed by all these kids wanting their picture taken with me. I child would come over to have a picture with me and suddenly I was surrounded by 20 others. Then mothers came over with their children to get pictures with me. How fun! I was loving it, and had to be dragged onto the best.
My family group went to the home of Jenny and Sonia who are in the Compassion program. They both have sponsors, but it does not sound like they get many letters. It was heartbreaking to see these two sisters living with their mom and 2 younger sisters in a one room house smaller than my bedroom. I am still not sure where they go to the bathroom. I believe that their father recently left the family. The mother was so gracious and kind as she served us tea and showed us her garden that she gets their food from. She makes a living selling in the market. Little sister, 3 year old Yustus (?), kept bringing out all her stuffed animals and baby dolls to show us. Just precious!
Tomorrow is the day I meet Rosa! We will meet her and the rest of the children at the hotel at 9 in the morning. I am very nervous, but also excited! We get to go to the zoo and then have a time at the hotel to give her her presents. Please pray that all goes well, and that the group is all in good health!
Oh, I am not able to upload pictures on the hotel computer, but trust me I have taken tons and I will post them when I get home! If I come home.... :D