Showing posts from November, 2017

God is at work in our hearts

As with all mission trips, the days feel as though we’ve hit the fast-forward button on the remote. Each day, we’ve been greeted at breakfast with fresh fruit purchased by one of our volunteers, Jesús. As Wanda remarked “He was complaining that 10 lbs of bananas cost a dollar. Imagine!” On Thursday, some of the team went to the Kasa Wasa (“House of People” in Quechua ) seniors centre to learn about Chalice programming and entrepreneurship. Sound boring? Think again! As Janelle described “Confetti, greetings of hugs, kisses and ‘ gracias ’, dancing, gifts, being fed traditional food and drink, learning how mothers wrap their babies, and more all proceeded and followed the mothers telling us about the program and what it has done for them. It was beautiful to see the joy in their faces as they told us about the progress and showed us the fruits of their labour, which they learned to do through Chalice’s program. It was so encouraging to see how the [Chalice sponsorship] program

Visiting Emaus Sub-Site with the Elders

Tuesday, November 7 Once again we piled into two buses, one for the Dental team (including a few brave volunteers learning to assist with dental suction and sterilization), and other one heading to Kasa Wasa, the Chalice seniors centre in Cochabamba. Arriving at Kasa Wasa, the street was lined with seniors, with a sign announcing that they had been eagerly anticipating our arrival. We took our time entering, as we had to stop to greet each senior and allow for handfuls of confetti to be showered upon us. When we got onto the grounds of the centre, we saw a display they had made. November being the month of All Souls, they had constructed a memorial to seniors who had passed away. This follows a tradition held by the Aymara people for centuries.   The ladders of bread symbolize “the rise or fall of the sky” (as was explained to us). It serves to cross obstacles.   The cross is of course for Jesus who protects the souls of the deceased. The sweets and food are to

Service Begins!

Monday, November 6 Rested, refreshed (especially those of us who were confounded by how to get the showers to heat up) we piled into two mini-buses and headed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Day Care, a part of Chalice’s Fatima site. Located in the northern region of Cochabamba, water scarcity is a major issue. We could see the landscape turn brown and dry as we wound our way up into the community. But, needless to say, well-springs of life and joy abound in the daycare. Approximately 60 children, ages 1 to 4, greeted us with their national anthem and a song they had prepared especially for us. And then the teacher announced everyone’s favourite time, “hug time!” It was moving to see the work and care that the children and their teachers had put into preparing our special welcome.   Just like that, it was time for the children to go to their activities and for us volunteers to roll up our sleeves and start working. The dental team moved to a different location to begin thei

Bolivia Solidarity Tour 2017

This is the first blog post of our 2017 Solidarity Tour to Bolivia! Bienvenidos! On this tour, we have 20 Canadian volunteers, 1 deacon who speaks for Chalice, and 3 Chalice staff.   We arrived from all across Canada, from BC to Newfoundland, and everywhere in between. We’re especially excited to have a dental component to this mission, with three hygienists and one dentist on the team who will be conducting clinics for children and elders from the community over the next several days. We arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s industrial hub, late Saturday night, after having all gathered in Toronto from our respective homes, and transferred briefly through Panama City. To everyone’s frank surprise, we all made it and so did our luggage. This is no small feat, considering that the majority of us checked ext­­­­ra baggage filled with donations for the sites, or dental equipment (or in the case of the dental chair surrounded by teddy bears, both!) Bright and early this morning, we were