NPH Bolivia: 11 Years Strong
On April 16, 2016, NPH celebrated 11 years of activity in Bolivia.
Reported by Karl Groneman
Communication Officer, NPH Bolivia
May 9, 2016
The celebration began early in the morning with a delicious breakfast of eggs, chorizo, bread, and fruit. After breakfast it was time to set up the outside patio, and Mass was celebrated outside to begin the day’s festivities. “Many countries use the eagle or condor to symbolize their strength while Christianity’s symbol is the lamb. Just as the lamb does not symbolize a fierce animal, we should strive not be fierce with one another. Being part of the NPH family means that we love, respect, and support one another, and even to the point of sacrificing ourselves for each other,” Father Reynaldo said during his homily.
After Mass, three groups of guests arrived: the Youth Symphonic Orchestra, the Wind Orchestra, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra’s Symphonic Band. Everyone was fed salteñas (Bolivian-style empanadas), and then the Youth Orchestra began to set up their musical equipment. “I loved everything about the anniversary. There was good food, games, a concert, a dance, but maybe what I liked the most were the salteñas. I worked with two other girls and a tía for several days to make the hundreds necessary for everyone. Once we were finally able to pass them all out and see how happy everyone was, I was so happy and relieved,” Argentina* said.
The Youth Symphonic Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra played for an hour, and the children applauded excitedly after every song. After a lunch of pork chops and potatoes, the Symphonic Band of Santa Cruz de la Sierra played many renditions of popular songs, and all on wind instruments and accompanied by an electric guitar.
When asked what her favorite activity of the whole day was, Martha* responded without hesitation, “The concert. It was so amazing to see all those instruments in person, and I liked all the songs that they played.” The staff and volunteers were also grateful for the concert, as one volunteer, Beate Rieger, commented, “I loved the concert. It’s good that the children were exposed to classical music since they don’t have that opportunity very often.”
The afternoon was filled up by a soccer tournament between the older boys, the tíos, and two groups of visitors from the nearby towns of Portachuelo and San Ignacio. For the younger children, there was a volleyball tournament and shorter football games at girls’ houses.
In the evening, each house received a piñata to break open, and then the whole home enjoyed an extra-large dark chocolate cake for dinner, which was courtesy of two of our international volunteers, Cornelia and Daniela. A few tíos held a dance party in the cafeteria after dinner for those children who wanted to dance and who still had energy, but by that time, many children were ready to go to bed, tired from a long day of games and laughter.
As year of service youth Nicolas* summed up, “What I liked the most was seeing the children happy. Whether they were playing games, or having lunch, or watching the concert…they were happy the whole day together. That’s the best way to celebrate another year of family here at NPH, I think, and to remember and honor Father Wasson’s legacy.”
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*Names changed to protect the children’s privacy; Bolivian law prohibits us from using photos that show the faces of minors.
Photos below: Anniversary banner; Youth Symphonic Orchestra from from Santa Cruz de la Sierra; special celebration cake