Cochabamba, july 2010
We’re already halfway through the year and I have not written to you all as yet… If I wait any longer, all of you will have gone on holiday, and then you’ll only get the news when you get back. Here it is also holiday time – only, it is the winter holidays here – but that does not make all that much difference for me as far as work is concerned. But yes, it is a bit colder here than in most places in Europe; I am reading about the warm temperatures there, but I do not get jealous, because we get plenty of sun during the year!!
The holiday-time here at school is being used, among other things, to paint the school on the outside; the inside was done during the summer holidays, and everything is going to look nice again, and apart from that, a number of our kids and youngsters are being kept busy!! The holidays here are also marked by the attention given to the World Cup football; all of South America is mad about football, even worse than the Netherlands or England or Germany or Spain….. if that is possible……; they talk about it for hours and hours on television, the papers are full of it, and Bolivia does not even participate; the last time they were present was in 1994 and that did not last very long; maybe next time in Brasil!! What they do have over here very strongly is this idea of "as long as a South American country wins", but that won’t happen this time.
I have been quite busy recently with Church services in a parish, in the women’s prison and e.g. also at a secondary school where many of our youngsters studied; at that school, which already exists for 25 years, we got talking about some of our people who finished their secondary school there, and we discovered that many of them have done well; people who have gone on to do higher studies (and who are now dentists, doctors, engineers, teachers, agriculturists, etc.), and others who maybe haven’t studied so much, but who are doing well; this year at least four of them are going to get married – as far as I know until now……. – there are quite a few who have one or more children, and in that way you discover that slowly but surely we are getting a bit older!! I am talking now about youngsters who were with us some fifteen years ago and who have made their own lives, and it makes you feel that you are doing something worthwhile!! We do have results of our work and maybe you can say that that is not the most important thing, but it is nice all the same!! Sometimes you run into a (temporary) wall; just recently I had someone who had finished his studies as a teacher and we tried to find a job for him; we did get him a job in the end, but it seemed that the whole department of education is full of corruption!! You just do not get a job if you do not pay a bribe, and we were not willing to pay. Anyway, it worked out in the end.
There are other things which are not so easy, and sometimes you have to force yourself to keep looking at the positive side, otherwise you can’t keep going; last night one of our students (medicine) came to see me; he is someone who came to us many years ago with infections in his bones, and he had to have several surgeries and a lot of treatment, but it all worked out well; he is also doing fine in his studies; but now his father is seriously ill, on the other side of Bolivia, and he wants to get him over here, because they can’t do anything for him in the place where he lives, but then, who is going to pay for all that?????
With our people in the different places (Casa Jerusalen, Casa Ana Maria, the Night Shelter, the new ‘residential’ house for drug addicts, school, etc.) things are going well; enough problems but also many good things; at the moment Guido and Mario are helping us with the painting here in the school; they are brothers (14 and 18) who are now for the first time living together in the same house; three other kids from the same family are living in another home, and there are another couple who are with the mother and stepfather; Guido has been with us for a couple of months now, and is beginning to smile and play and talk….; before it was often sheer misery; we have the same thing with another couple of brothers, Victor Hugo and Luis Alberto, who hardly know each
other, because they have always lived in different homes….. At Casa Jerusalen we have five kids who have been sent to us by the juvenile court and who need a lot of time and attention; last week they were away with another group of kids for a workshop somewhere in the countryside. At the Night Shelter it is always busy, hectic sometimes, and we would like to be able to receive some more kids there, especially in this winter time; the new residential place for drug addicts is slowly finding its way with groups of kids and youngsters from the street, and they also have a lot of contact with other organizations who are working in the same areas, and that all helps us.
As you all know, there is not much we can do without receiving the money we need from England, the Netherlands, and other places; unfortunately, we have also been hit very hard by the financial crisis; the euro has gone down a lot with respect to the dollar in the past few months, and we now get some 35 dollar cents less for one euro….. An enormous difference!! I therefore would like to ask you all to see whether you can give something more for our kids and youngsters… I am begging you, and we would be very grateful and happy if you could help us out!! As you see, I have no shame at all in asking you this, but you all know that it is not for me and that we will spend your money in the best way possible. Thanks very much for all your help and everything you are doing for our kids!! With kindest regards and all best wishes!!
Theo Raaijmakers Gifts may be sent to:
Casilla 2431 Rabobank Holland
Cochabamba nr: 1345 20 769
Bolivia Name of the account:
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Stichting Werk Theo Raaijmakers
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