Dear family, friends, and acquaintances!!
I have probably missed or skipped one letter, but here is one right now, at the end of 2022!!
It is not because there is nothing to say: in fact, about each youth, each child, you could write an entire book. At least, about the things we know of him or her from what they have told us throughout the years.
No, the ‘not-writing’, or ‘writing less’, is more down to my sick leave, which has been taking some time…
I would rather not write too much about that, but it is, in any case, taking a lot longer than I wanted it to take. It is particularly my spine and my lungs that are requiring attention. I shouldn’t complain, because I have several doctors (mainly those from the Radboud in Nijmegen and one from the Pain Center in Zwolle) who are, in one word, amazing. I have just about been to all specialists and there has not been one about whom I would be able to complain. I keep saying that being a doctor isn’t just a job to them, it is their calling; they do not merely treat you as a patient, but more so as a friend whom they want to help. I have frequently written about that to them whenever I would send them a little thank you note. Their way of working helps me keep hope to not give up the fight, but to keep dreaming of a return to Bolivia.
Last time, I believe, I said that at least a small miracle should occur or maybe even more than that, but I do not want to and cannot get the idea out of my head, even just because there are people out there, in Bolivia, who are working for us and with us who have never ceased to help our young people and children there. And that’s when little miracles can also happen, those happened on the streets of Cochabamba.
We have, for example, David, who came right from the streets. He said from the very start that he wanted to go to college, that he wanted to become a physiotherapist. The educational facilities did not always cooperate with us, one of the universities even stopped the degree, but in the end, David did become a physiotherapist and he is already helping a good number of patients. He is very grateful that he got that opportunity with the help from the people here in the Netherlands. And just like him there is a considerable number of people who have obtained degrees or who are working towards that, technical fields or others; there are so many things to be grateful of and for regarding this.
In the past years, we also of course also had to deal with COVID. If it was already difficult, for example in Europe, to participate in online lessons, then try to imagine that for Africa or in some Asian countries, or a country like Bolivia! Who has the computers and laptops, smartphone and tablets to participate? Who has internet in the first place? And still most of our younger and older students did very well in this time period. Their efforts were great, and they had such investment and interest; they want to achieve something!! And through that, they achieved incredible results!!
Those are just a couple of the beautiful things we saw, and I could name so many more.
Of course, there are also things that are not as positive, but that is the case everywhere in the world now. Regretfully, Fernando died this year after he had yet another battle with tuberculosis. He had been able to do so much despite his illness and now his wife and little daughter have to go on without him. There was also Jorge, just 16 years old, who died due to complications from a heavy epileptic seizure. It is saddening and a shame what became of those young lives.
I have always said that education and health are the two most important pillars which we should focus on. And that is what we keep striving for still!! We are only able to do so because you all help us in these efforts. Without the financial support from the Netherlands and other countries we would not get very far at all. That’s why I want you, now at the end of yet another year, THANK YOU very, very deeply from the bottom of my heart for your financial support!! And for all the positive reactions, the prayers, the cards, and letters, and emails, but of course also for the financial support which keeps us able to help these people.
And that is why I ask you to please continue!! You could say that I am begging you for a contribution, but the reason is that with your contribution we will be able to help a young person get a degree, to make a child able to afford going to school, to let the sick be looked at by a doctor or to undergo a surgery. Without education, without good health a person, no a nation, will not be able to develop! So please do think of us, dear reader, and thank you so very much for all that you have meant to those young people!!
I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a very happy new year!! The very best of wishes for 2023!! And again, I cannot express my thanks enough, my kindest regards, the best wishes for the future, for everyone here and over there!!