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Risk today!

It’s not easy to express in a few words what I experienced in the “Casa de los Niños” in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba during the month that I stayed there. During the summer I went to Bolivia looking for an adventure that I had had in mind for some time putting aside my savings and preparing myself mentally.

It was not easy to decide to go for a volunteering experience, in Uruguay volunteering is not so common … and you can imagine the reaction when I said i was going to Bolivia at that

I wanted to work with an NGO with the ideals of the Focolare Movement – or at least with a different dynamic – and I was really surprised, because there brotherhood was truly alive in each moment. The “Casa de los Niños” was founded by Ari, Tania and his friends (a crazy, revolutionary story), and today children, including those that have been abandoned by their parents because of their pathologies are given a new life.

Over time, a series of small houses began appear which lodged these children- which eventually formed the “Rainbow Citadel” as it’s known today – in which many families currently live. Thanks to the “Casa de los Niños”, they managed to stay close to their children, to live in dignity and transmit the real values to their families through the help of professional accompaniment in their daily life.

Esiste anche una scuola che coordina tutte queste diverse realtà, c’è una bellissima cappella che comunica una meravigliosa energia e, inoltre, una panetteria, nella quale mi sono “infiltrata” molte volte per dare una mano e condividere il lavoro; e poi un workshop in cui si lavora il cartone, una saletta con dei computer, un policlinico e pure una biblioteca, che abbiamo seguito con tanto amore fin dai suoi primi passi (dico “abbiamo” perché eravamo in 7 volontari, provenienti da tutte le parti del mondo).

There is also a school that helps coordinate the many realities of the project, there is a beautiful chapel that provides wonderful energy and, moreover, a bakery, in which I “infiltrated” many times to lend a hand and share in the work. There’s workshop where we work on cardboard, a room with computers, a polyclinic and even a library which we lovingly watched grow from it’s beginning; I say “we” because there were seven of us volunteers, coming from all the parts of the world.

It was a constant challenge getting in touch with a culture that I knew nothing about and learn to take risks. There is a strong unity among the inhabitants ande love that circulates among the generations in such a powerful way. We learned to forgive one another and to circulate the communion of goods. In the citadel, there are not only families or mothers, but rather a fascinating coexistence of very different realities. In one house, for example, one can find a very large family, and in another people who have lived on the streets or whole families with HIV. In short, differences are everywhere but there is love respect and solidarity for all.

However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. There are constant difficulties, children run away, families argue with each other – even over little things – sometimes even the parents of children arego missing; if it were not for the “La Casa de los Niños”, many of these children would have no future. In short, it is a totally different reality than the one in Uruguay – and I was only there for a month, can you imagine that? Every day was different from the next, we had our responsibilities but, at the same time there was a lot of flexibility. From the beginning I knew that although it was not clear what I was going there to do the experience would contribute to my education. I would have never imagined learning the many practical and cultural things, having the possibility to building relationships with children and others who I met along the way and to enrich myself thanks to all the experiences that I shared there.

To take a risk in taking the first first step in loving others is the secret to being ready to love everyone, knowing that everything will be returned to you. Risking and going against the current is beautiful !!!!

Finally would like to thank “La Casa de los Niños” and the Rainbow Citadel for having welcomed me, for filling me with love and allowing me to share a part of life each one of them. Thanks also to Milonga for creating a response to this need for courage, and this is just the beginning, the best is yet to come !!!!

Thank you,

Manu from Uruguay

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