Bolivia: A sponsor reflects on feeling connected to something bigger

By Angelica Dulawan, Bolivia Child Sponsor

The day I met my sponsored child Adriel happened to be a Bolivian public holiday.

Upon arriving at the World Vision headquarters we were introduced to multiple people who work in fostering the programs that run throughout La Paz. They were so excited about sharing their experiences and work with us even though it was a public holiday! We were shown a PowerPoint which showed us the programs that they provide for the kids, like homework help and sporting activities that they can come to after school to have fun and build friendships. They even gave us a workbook that they give the kids to work on their English skills. I was amazed by how similar these activities were to the ones I used to do in primary school.

What struck me the most was meeting a World Vision worker named Nancy. She was a previous sponsored child who had grown up in the La Paz area near Adriel. One aspect of her job that I admired the most was that she followed up on kids and parents’ participation in the project activities. Her being able to do this job is just a testament to what World Vision does, providing opportunities for people just like Nancy to be empowered and empower the next generation of people in her own community.

Meeting Adriel and her whole family was truly an incredible experience. It gave me the opportunity to foster a deeper relationship with her and her whole family. I enjoyed seeing how my contributions have extended beyond Adriel's family and into the community in which she lives, in ways like providing the community the ability to explore sports, arts, trade skills, and a social environment to come together. Which I think is truly important for an individual’s confidence.

I was overjoyed to see Adriel’s love of reading, particularly Dr Seuss. When she asked me to read her Green Eggs and Ham, I was elated and it was a moment I will cherish forever because the book was in English and even though she spoke Spanish her interest and curiosity was so endearing. I was so happy to see her joy for learning.

Her family was so welcoming and funny. My sister and I felt like an extended part. She is such a cool girl, with so much potential and it gave me and my sister so much joy to see that our support truly goes a long way. Another memorable part of my trip was when she took my hand and she said, “Amigas para siempre” (“Friends forever”).

After meeting Adriel, we were driven skilfully up the windy La Paz roads to a viewpoint that overlooked the whole San Antonio project. It was vast and there was lots of construction happening on new houses. Jaqueline, our World Vision translator, pointed out the place where the kids come to play on the weekends which was decked out with a decent outdoor basketball court. The community hall was also the meeting grounds for their mothers’ group. We then got back into the car and this time winding down the dirt roads, passing by the houses under construction. We stopped by the communal water pump which was padlocked to help in the equal distribution of water to all.

This whole experience was so awesome. You could see the passion in all the World Vision staff who accompanied us. They had genuine excitement and belief in all their programs. It was infectious and seeing everything my sister and I saw that day we left feeling a whole bag of good emotions, but an overall feeling of connectedness to something bigger than ourselves and that these monthly donations are actually improving a number of lives.

I’m so honoured I have the privilege to support such a wonderful family and community.