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 cheer the angels and represent the food the deceased person enjoyed.
At this time, some members of the team began visiting homes of sponsored children – either their own, or on behalf of friends, relatives, or fellow parishioners. “Home Visits,” as they’re called, are very special occasions for both the visiting Canadian and the hosting family. Although we sponsors are humble, our presence is a matter of great gravity and cause for celebration for the families benefiting from sponsorship. These visits can be emotional, the families are so eager to express their deepest gratitude. They will often run to buy cold juice or soda for their esteemed guests – a lavish treat for a VIP. It is fun for us visitors to bring gifts for the children and their families – especially soccer balls, candies, rosaries, school supplies and clothing.

At lunch time, we hosted the seniors for lunch, serving them the popular “pollo picante” (spicy chicken) with potatoes, rice, juice, and an apple for dessert. We made sure to line up and welcome them just as they had done for us!
After our meal, Irene taught them “You are My Sunshine” and Deacon Phil presented them with a card made by the seniors he works with at home in Toronto. His elderly clients were very excited to know that Deacon Phil would be meeting Bolivian seniors, and put a great deal of effort into their greeting.

In the afternoon, we divided and conquered once more. The dentists were over-run with children who needed dental procedures – some needing as many as three teeth extracted! Irene, a chiropractor, provided knee and foot treatments for the elderly. She enlisted Deacon Phil to wash their feet before her treatment, and he fulfilled his deaconate mission by doing so with great care. A translator, Oscar, volunteered to give the seniors a foot message after the wash, and everyone who watched were deeply touched by the loving care he applied to each one. He would even help the ladies don their long stockings afterwards. Irene reflected afterwards, “After I would look at their knees and their feet, I made sure to look in their eyes. And each time I thought, “Is that you, Lord?””

It was a day to appreciate God’s presence in each moment: to gain a deeper awareness of our unity as God’s people, as one family, expressed through large and small acts of great love.


  1. Oh it makes my heart sing for Joy at this expression of Christ inside each of us, the seniors and the servants. What a blessing to everyone involved, whether there in body or here in spirit praying for each of you.

  2. Thank for you r good work all. Hello to Fr Duncan from Judique. 6th picture down.

  3. Hi nana, looks like you have helped out a lot of people in need! Miss you ��!
    -Marcus Adam


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