Trip to Santa Cruz
25th – 27th August 2007
As I had booked a holiday to Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit a lad I have sponsored in Bolivia for a number of years.
I was more than a little apprehensive about my trip to Santa Cruz. It probably wasn’t the safest place for a person travelling on their own and I wasn’t sure if all the travel arrangements would fall into place etc. All my fears were totally unfounded. TAM, the airline I had never heard of, was probably the best of all the airlines I used. We touched down in Paraguay and then at Cochabamba in Bolivia before arriving at Santa Cruz. A transfer had been booked for me and I was met by an English speaking girl plus a driver. It was very warm and I looked forward to some warmth for the next few days. The hotel was a good attempt at a luxury hotel but had a bit of an air of neglect and it wasn’t exactly busy. But it was fine for my purposes.
I was unable to get hold of any one from Compassion when I arrived so again I was a little apprehensive about arrangements for the Sunday. Again I needn’t have been. Before 9am I was met by Tony who was my interpreter for the day. He was well educated and worked for Campus Crusade. During the time we were together I was able to glean a lot of information about Bolivia – state of the church, politics etc.
Around about 9 o’clock the leader of the project walked into the hotel with Bebetto and his grandmother. I hadn’t been expecting to see him quite so soon! A car had been hired for the day so we got in and drove to the town of Campanera where Bebetto came from. I had been told that as it was a Sunday I wouldn’t be able to see the project. Wrong! I was taken to the church which works alongside the project. There must have been a couple of hundred people waiting – mostly children from the project. I was the guest of honour and duly sat at the front. There was a little bit of singing – with electric guitars and then several groups of children performed dances that they had prepared for me. I was presented with a gift and asked to say a few words.
Obviously it meant something to the whole community that I had come. I was only the second sponsor in three years to visit. Sponsors are known as godmothers and godfathers. Somebody made the point that if people are willing to sponsor children they have never seen, they must love them.