I am now home from Bolivia. But I don’t really want to be back yet. It was such an amazing trip. It was an amazing group of people, a beautiful country, and such a giving people. We were very busy so I didn’t take time to blog every day like I wanted to, but I’ll be posting blogs about each day we were there. But I will start with the day everyone is dying to hear about- meeting Rosa.
Meeting Rosa was everything I prayed it would be and more. It was an amazing experience, yet hard to describe. My Rosa is so much more beautiful in person. She is funny, sweet, outgoing, and smart. She doesn’t have a shy bone in her body. She loves to play and she loves her family.
The morning of April 3rd, I woke up very nervous about what the day would hold. I was so excited to be meeting Rosa in person, but wondering how the day would unfold, and if she would be as excited to see me as I was to see her. The group of us who were meeting children in La Paz would be meeting them in a banquet type room in the hotel and then going with them to the zoo for a day of fun. When I went down to the lobby for breakfast there were some children already waiting in the lobby to meet their sponsors. My heart started beating 10 times faster and I could barely eat knowing that I was going to meet Rosa in 20 minutes. When I finished breakfast I went to peek into the lobby to see if I could get a glimpse of Rosa before everyone went to our meeting room. I glanced around until I saw this familiar face peering over at me from across the room. I was pretty sure it was Rosa, but she was so much tinier than I expected. I gave her a tentative smile and she ducked behind her mother. I couldn’t believe that I had just seen Rosa in person! That she was real and beautiful. It was just about time to go upstairs so I didn’t run over to her quite yet.
Everyone made their way upstairs and the sponsors sat in chairs on one side of the room waiting for our names to be called while the children were at round tables. There was a mirrored wall in the middle of the room so I couldn’t see any of the children behind there, but I just knew that was where Rosa was. My name was called second, and in a dreamlike state, I rounded that wall and there was my beautiful Rosa waiting for me. The tears started flowing as I hugged Rosa, and she started crying as well. We held onto each other tightly and I told her I loved her over and over. Rosa gave me a little folder she had made with pictures in it of her, her family, her house, and her center. She also drew an adorable picture of herself.
We sat in the hotel for a while before we could go to the zoo because some of the children where late. I got to learn more about Rosa as we asked each other questions. Rosa kept asking me when I was coming to her house and when I was coming back to Bolivia. She wanted me to meet her grandmother and aunts and to come to her brother’s graduation party. She wanted to ride horses with me in her town. How I wish I could have done all those things and more with her. I learned that her mother isn’t able to sell in the market anymore because of her health. I’m not sure how she provides for the family then since Rosa’s father is gone. It was heartbreaking to hear Rosa tell me that her mother has rheumatoid arthritis and that sometimes she cries because her mother is sick and her father is gone. She asked me if I can help her family. She said that when she grows up she wants to be a market seller so that she can help her mom. Rosa is filled with so much love!
I let Rosa try taking a picture with my camera and she was hooked! I think this might be the beginning of a new career path?! She hung that camera around her neck and I had to beg her to let me use it so I could get some pictures of her during the day. I didn’t have to tell her how to use it at all, she figured the whole thing out, and took about 400 pics in the course of the day. Everyone thought she was so adorable running around taking pictures of everybody and everything. She firmly told me not to forget to send her ALL of the pictures of our day together.
At the zoo we enjoyed looking at the monkeys, playing on the playground, and playing Frisbee. She had never seen a Frisbee before and when I asked her if she knew what it was she thought it was a plate. We played that for quite a while, but I finally had to rest because running around in 1300 feet can be a bit of a challenge.
When we got back to the hotel I got the chance to give her the gifts I had picked out especially for her. She loved the doll, and held onto it tightly! As I handed her each gift I started to cry again knowing that I had to leave her soon. When I started to cry she started to cry. She held me and kept telling me that she would never forget this day and that she would never forget me. I held her and told her that I would still write her letters and pray for her always, and that I loved her so much. Before she had to leave Rosa’s mother came back to the hotel along with Rosa’s 15 year old brother Samuel. It was so nice to have the opportunity to meet him as well. He thanked me for supporting his sister and said that whenever she got my letters she would jump all around with excitement.
By the time Rosa had to leave we were all crying- me, Rosa, her mom, and Samuel. I did not want to let Rosa go and we just stood there hugging for the longest time. This was such a wonderful experience and I can’t believe that it actually happened. I have to go back to Bolivia someday, I just have to. I can’t imagine not going back. I can’t wait for the chance to hold Rosa again!