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December, 2020

Dear family, friends, and acquaintances!


So, we are pretty close to Christmas and the end of the year, so it is high time to let you hear from me once again. I try to keep an eye on my WhatsApp messages, but sometimes there are just so many that it is almost impossible to keep up with it. With a short letter twice a year, it allows me to get quite far and reach a lot of people in one go!
Concerning myself and how I am doing, there has not been much progress (yet). I have to almost count on a small or large miracle in order to truly recover, but in Bolivia they always say that hope is the last thing you should let go!! I could be sad and complain about all sorts of things that I have to witness and go through, but that is not really going to help fix anything. We just have to keep trying to do what we can and I have to say that the doctors, especially from the Radboud hospital, are excellent and that they take as much time as we need to explain things to us. I cannot really expect more than that. I try to do everything they tell me and I swallow my mountain of pills and we hope for something better!!
I have received many beautiful letters, texts, and other messages of encouragement from the personnel and youths from Bolivia. Very beautiful indeed!!
Of course, I remain very involved in all the goings-on in Bolivia. We have a new president again and we will have to wait and see how that’s going to turn out.
But, just like the rest of the world, Bolivia is taking on the coronavirus/COVID-19. I keep close watch on the news from around the world, but Bolivia in particular and look in a Bolivian newspaper just about every day. It looks like Bolivia has not been struck that hard by the coronavirus as other South American countries, but it could be the case that the numbers they give out are not entirely accurate or honest.
I stay in contact with many people, but with three individuals especially, and I hear from them how difficult it is for them. They might be having to deal with thirty to forty school-age children in one house, and they still have to try to enforce the rules for everyone to wash their hands, keep their distance, and to cough and sneeze into one’s elbow and so on. And no one, especially so art the beginning of all of this, was allowed to go out in public! I mean, try to keep everyone inside like that… At a certain point everyone got tested and it appeared that still someone must have contracted the virus, but luckily this all resolved itself. Keeping a job or attending class was also just about impossible, and to work at a safe distance from others was another thing you could naturally put out of your mind – just not feasible.
Now that Christmas is coming up, they are probably asking if they could still go out camping this year. They have done so every year at least once, usually after Christmas for a week, but… what kind of advice am I supposed to give…?? In the meantime, other things come to me, like Guido who was in a collision and ended up in the hospital and something has to be done immediately. But in the worst moments of the corona crisis, one person per household was allowed to go into the city to get groceries once a week. And, at that time, you were not even allowed to take the car to go!! No, they did not have it easy, and they frankly still don’t.
Now we hope that a vaccine will come soon, and I personally hope that the caretakers and the people with poor health conditions and the poorest people on the planet get to come first for once – and for free! But I should put that out of my mind, I think. All the rich Western countries are already hoarding the supplies, and the poorest on the planet will have to wait their turn.
Dear reader, it is so easy to write about so many things in this letter, and I could go on much further, but that is not the point of this letter. I want to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your letters, cards, and other messages and of course also for the financial support for our cause which we have been blessed to receive this past half year from all of you. Without that financial aid it would be incredibly difficult to keep everything running and that is why I also truly hope that you will continue to support us in the future!! I ask that of you with everything I hold dear, because I can see how badly help is needed there.
Luckily, there are several people there who I can entrust with many tasks and who I know are reliable; they are people that are in full conviction dedicated and give themselves fully for the wellbeing of the adolescents and children in our shelters, our little school, and on the street!!
That is why I ask you to please keep helping us so that we can give as many of these young people a better chance in this life!! For many years, you have already contributed to this cause and I will always keep thanking you on their behalf for all you have done already!! Without you, many of the opportunities we provide and the hoped-for futures of all those adolescents and children would not be possible!
I also want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year – and hopefully an end to the pandemic!!
Once again, my fullest thanks and admiration to you! Best wishes for everyone and many happy greetings!! Keep thinking of us and until next time!!

Theo Raaijmakers