and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.
Dear Friends and Donors, I hope you, your family, friends, and loved ones have been blessed this past year and that you receive many more blessings this year. First of all, I want to thank you sincerely for the constant support given to our ever growing family, especially during the hard economic times around the world. I know that supporting the children means a greater sacrifice. Our year was full of excitement. We went through changes that presented opportunities and challenges in our home and outside.
us to welcome more children into the family. The children, helped by their caregivers, engaged in new projects around the house and in the neighboring communities.
It has been a year since we all moved from the rented place in the city of Santa Cruz, to a place we can now identify and feel at home. It took a few months for the children to adapt to the new place away from the city, new school, classmates and friends, but we are happy to have a home. Moving to the new place gave us more space and allowed
Political instability combined with the world economic crisis resulted in a steep increase in the cost of living. The world economic crisis in addition to the country’s instability is a worrying mixture. The first one limits our ability to extend our arms to other children in need as everything such as food, fuel, hygiene and medical products, construction, etc., becomes
In the first half of the year, civil unrest, road blocks, and other civil manifestations arising out of the country’s instability, prevented the children from attending school for almost two weeks. Gasoline and cooking fuels became hard to find.
more expensive and scarce. And the latter doubles the poverty and thus the abandoned children. As each day passes, we provide love and security to the children, many of them too young to understand what goes on in the outside world. However, our hope is to continue growing, giving life opportunities to those who do not have them. Once again on behalf of the Bolivian family, I thank you for teaming with us in the most wonderful work that we do, taking care of the orphaned and abandoned children. God bless you, German Mercado National Director
The Move & Construction updates On January 14, 2008 the first of several moving trucks pulled into our rented house in Santa Cruz. Moving day had finally arrived! Our much anticipated move to Casa Padre Wasson took place as Bolivia coped with record rainfalls, but a brief respite in the rain allowed us to move everything and everyone to our new home. Our new home is located just over 80 kilometers from Santa Cruz near the town of Portachuelo where the children attend school and Mass. Six new houses and a central dining room/kitchen were the first phase of construction. Each home can accommodate up to 16 children, giving us some much-needed room to grow. Within one month of moving, we had already accepted 13 new children and now at the end of 2008 we are caring for 61 children, something that would have been impossible in our old home. With all these new brothers and sisters, we are once again in need of more housing, so we hope to continue with the construction of at least two more houses in 2009. Our humble thanks to all who have helped make this dream a reality. Our children are thriving in their new home and we look forward to building our family here and continuing to offer a safe and loving home to more and more children in need. None of which would be possible without your generous support.
Construction related projects completed at our new home in 2008: (Some projects completed by outside contractors and others by our own staff and the older children) # Walking paths and bridges (needed during the rainy season) # Temporary wall in the dining hall to create three office spaces and a library # Improved entrance to NPH allowing entry during the rainy season # Temporary doors put in to provide housing for staff, office space and pre-school classrooms # Study area built with individual study cubicles # Small group and individual reflection/meeting space # Beds, shelves, libraries and cupboards for the new houses and storage rooms # Reinforced roofs and ceilings to prevent leaks during the rainy season # Installed gas tank and protective fence for use in the kitchen # Installed satellite antenna for phones and internet # Built compost, recycling and garbage disposal area # Lighting around playing fields and houses # Play room for the youngest children # Soccer field and volleyball court
Construction Needs for 2009: Continue construction of homes for the children (we would like to continue accepting more children in need. To do so we urgently need to begin construction on at least two and preferably four new houses) S Install an industrial sized washer/dryer S Install walk-in refrigeration for fruits and vegetables S Complete the play areas for the youngest children S Improve the soccer fields S Furniture for our library, study rooms and living rooms Casa San Jorge Toddlers’ Home It is not uncommon for the eight children five years old and younger living in Casa San Jorge to enjoy the late afternoon sunlight on their front patio, dancing to one of their favorite CDs. But between their dance sessions and running everywhere they go, they earn their afternoon naps in their home set behind the two boys’ homes. Our youngest have certainly acclimatized well to their new environment with a home all their own for their unique schedule. The biggest change seen in our youngest over the past year is that they have made the transition from being our “babies” to being our “little ones”. They are curious, intelligent and independent-minded toddlers. During the past year, volunteer Gwenole Leverge from France worked with our youngest age
group on a daily basis in an early stimulation classroom. Focusing on development of fine motor skills and the basics of numbers and letters, Gwen played games and made crafts that incorporated these things. It is essential to develop these skills and keep our children intellectually active. The children cherished their time spent with Gwen and are being well prepared for their coming years of school. The eight children of San Jorge add life and energy to an already lively environment, quickly becoming the center of attention in our constantly growing family. San Jorge is excited to welcome volunteer Marleen Bosch from Holland at the beginning of 2009 as a caregiver in the home.
Girls’ Homes The move from our rented home in Santa Cruz to the spacious Padre William B. Wasson property has made a world of difference to our girls. The conversion from one shared dormitory for the girls of all ages into two separate houses divided by age has allowed our girls the space and peace to develop their skills and hobbies. Casa Ángeles de Dios is home to our sixteen girls between the ages of six and 11 and these smiling little faces add much happiness to the home. These growing young girls have strong personalities that when confined to smaller quarters were often in conflict with one another. Daniela entered NPH three years ago in 2005. She is a child with strong emotions and had difficulty controlling them at times. As more children were accepted and the home grew fuller, the more crowded spaces seemed to exacerbate the situation. With
no space for quiet or alone time, Daniela was frequently having conflicts with her brothers and sisters. Since the move to her new home in Casa Ángeles de Dios we have seen marked improvement. She has learned to remove herself from the situation when she begins to get frustrated. As a result, she gets angry less and therefore can better manage her emotions. Her grades in school and relationships with her brothers and sisters and caregivers have all improved. Casa Estrellas de Belén is home to our twelve young women and they have, more than anyone else, truly embraced their new home. From the beautiful flowers that greet you as you approach their home to the hand painted table cloth that adorns their dining room table, they have made their home their own. Caregiver Rosy has seen marked improvement in everything from
school work to cleaning and chores around the house. They are a reflection of the impact a child’s home environment has on everything they do. These girls have put countless hours into our agricultural projects with a well maintained, healthy field of yucca, corn, and peanuts. The walls of their bedrooms are decorated with their art, and they are responsible for some of the most beautiful letters to their godparents. They are a talented group. They, like the older boys, are at pivotal times in their lives and the separation from the younger girls has allowed for more personal and attentive care to their needs. No longer grouped with the younger girls, their progress in everything from chores to schoolwork has been impressive. The girls’ homes are also at capacity and we look forward to the construction of more homes to welcome more sisters into our family.
Casa Ángeles de Dios: 16 girls, Casa Estrellas de Belén: 12 girls, Caregivers: 4
Boys’ Homes The new location and layout of the homes are such a positive influence on our children. Where one large dormitory housed all our boys in the old home, we now have two beautiful homes with four rooms each. The boys have been split by age, the younger boys living in Casa Discípulos de Jesús and the older boys living in Casa San Francisco. The division by basic age group has allowed the caregivers of the two respective homes to focus on more age appropriate activities, and lessons for the boys. More specifically, it allows our older boys to learn and mature in their adolescence while the younger boys can also learn and develop. The boys of Casa Discípulos de Jesús have certainly been just that, younger boys, and have pushed the envelope on a number of occasions. It has required their caregivers to take a different approach with the children, keeping in mind the 14 distinct personalities and dispositions the children possess. It has allowed for more individualized care that is so needed in their young ages. The boys of Discípulos boast the most well maintained garden and walkways and even have their own agriculture project. Rows of corn and yucca have sprouted and are thriving under the watchful care of our younger boys. The boys of Casa San Francisco are at a different but also very important point in their lives. They have already learned many of the lessons their younger brothers are learning; they are now trying to find their own
way of putting what they have learned into action. They seek more independence, and it is granted as they demonstrate they know what is expected of them. Ever joined our family over two years ago and his time here has been one of development and maturity. He entered NPH behind others his age in school. He quickly made up the difference and performs very well in school. He has also been instrumental in projects and is leading by example. The successes he has seen have been due to his admirable work ethic. It is through hard work that the boys of San Francisco have made much appreciated contributions to the home. They built a quiet meeting and reflection space using materials we had on hand here. Our ‘capilla’ or chapel has proven the perfect gathering place for our service group Mi Voz Se Escucha. Since the beginning of summer vacations, they have spent many mornings planting various vegetables and some fruits. Though we have not yet harvested, they are very proud, and rightfully so, to see the corn, yucca, beans, and others succeeding in the beautiful soil our property is blessed with. With our boys’ homes at capacity, we look forward to the construction of new homes so that we may take in more children. The current layout has now been tried and is a proven method for raising our boys in a safe and healthy environment in small groups that assure the necessary love and attention.
Education A new home meant new schools for our children in this past year. Our children in primary school began classes in February at Immaculate Conception School in Portachuelo. Immaculate Conception is a St. Don Bosco order Catholic school that sits next to the church on the townâ€™s plaza. It has been a very welcoming environment to 42 of our children, with a rigorous curriculum and good teachers. Our children have done very well in their new school; many ended the year at the top of their class. Four of our secondary school students attend Maria Immaculate School in Portachuelo which has also been a wonderful match for our students. We have been blessed to have quick transitions into new learning environments where our children are able to learn and grow. The oldest of our family, Jhonny, has continued at his secondary school in Santa Cruz. Jhonny lives in Casa San Jacobo in Santa Cruz. He is learning to live independently but still coming back to the home every weekend to help out with the younger children. Living on his own has been a positive experience for Jhonny and yet another necessary step in preparing him for his life ahead.
With just our first phase of construction at our permanent home completed, only our Preschool and Kindergarten children stayed at the home for schooling. Our eight preschoolers and kindergarteners had class with their teacher Marioly in Casa Madre Teresa which, in addition to housing our female volunteers and employees, has educational spaces, such as the kindergarten classroom, preschool room and study space. Five children graduated from the kindergarten program this year and will be moving on to first grade in Portachuelo with their older brothers and sisters at San JosĂŠ. We had another successful summer of courses to keep our children intellectually active and having fun. The caregivers and volunteers offered courses in arts and crafts, theater, dance, and sports that ran for a month of summer break. The children were able to choose any two courses they wanted.
Religion With the morning sun just barely over the tree tops on the horizon, the children are already lined up according to house from youngest to oldest in school uniforms representing the two schools, primary and secondary, that they attend in nearby Portachuelo. But before loading the bus and beginning their school day, we all pause for a moment of reflection. A passage of scripture is read and expounded upon by one of their caregivers employing stories they can relate to in order to bring the gospel message to life. The
Preschool: 9, Kindergarten: 5, Primary School: 42, Secondary School: 5
nurturing of our children’s faith life is central to the NPH philosophy and mission. This past year, NPH Bolivia has made special attempts to portray their faith in God as active in their everyday lives. Jesús Campos, the head of our Education Department, has taught catechism classes to those preparing for baptism and first communions. We had one baptism this past year and twelve first communions, both of which were affairs our entire family shared. The oldest boys of the San Francisco house built a chapel and reflection space with materials we had on hand. It has proven a peaceful space of reflection as well as a space for groups such as Mi Voz Se Escucha to meet. Just a short brick-lined walkway from the main road, the ‘capilla’ is one of the first buildings you see when you arrive at NPH Bolivia, which is fitting. It is in this culture of nurturing faith lives that our service group thrives, seeking to live out the Word in our day-to-day lives. In November of this year, Semillitas (Little Seeds), a group for our 8 to 11-year-olds began to take shape under the guidance of caregiver Ismael Menacho along with Jackelin and Ever, both members of Mi Voz Se Escucha. The purpose of this group is to help the children grow in their relationship with God, help them develop Christian values and give them opportunities to share their unique gifts with others.
Baptisms: 1 First Communion: 12
Mi Voz Se Escucha Mi Voz Se Escucha (My Voice Is Heard) is NPH Bolivia’s first youth service group. They celebrated their second anniversary this past December. The group is moderated by our caregiver Erick Alejo, but is truly run and driven by pequeños Alenia and Rodrigo along with fourteen other members, making it truly a youth service group. With the move to our new home outside Portachuelo, Mi Voz has taken charge of introducing NPH to our new neighbors. On a number of occasions the group has piled into the van and headed to one of a number of small communities that share our highway. Names are exchanged, smiles shared, and games played as we get to know our new home and our neighbors get to know us. Be it San Ignacio, Burgos, Santa Rita, or Manzanillar, those that live around us have a good idea of who we are and what we stand for. They know us as more than just neighbors, they know us as friends. Erick has run a series of leadership workshops to encourage and nurture this culture of change coming from our children. The group empowers them to improve their world around them, within the NPH home and beyond. Mi Voz has provided a platform for our oldest children to take charge and affect real change in their community. They are learning that it feels good to help others and that they are capable of helping in many ways. Mi Voz is not just preparing our children to be leaders in their lives, but compassionate citizens who put the needs of others before their own.
Agriculture Back in September, a rented tractor from San Ignacio rumbled through the property, preparing around three hectares of land for planting in our pilot farming project. Our region of Bolivia has famously prolific soil and growing conditions, thus our home joined its neighbors in planting as the rainy season approached. With our children taking the lead, corn, yucca, beans, peanuts, and other fruits and vegetables have been planted. The peanuts will be used to make a common and delicious soup, as well as chicha, a traditional beverage. Items such as watermelons and popcorn are more for fun. The pilot project has been an ideal way for the children to get hands-on experience with planting and managing their own food. The first land to be worked sits below our water tank, where the pump has a constant stream of water easily diverted into a system of irrigation canals. Like all older NPH homes, we too will one day have a farm operation producing sustainable amounts of food for our family here. Our current operation is a start and is small enough that the children are involved in every step of the process while still producing enough food to make the learning experience worthwhile. We are excited to eat the first fruits of our land here and look forward to the many larger planting seasons to come.
Sponsorship The Sponsorship Department is our children’s connection with their godmothers and godfathers who live in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The office coordinates all correspondence between the children and their godparents. The excitement and happiness of each child when they receive a letter from their godparent cannot be overstated. It is a precious moment when their often asked question, “Do I have a letter?” is met with a “Yes.” Of the 15 new children who entered our home this year, none have been more excited to have godparents than Julieta and her sister. Words cannot capture the joy on Julieta’s face when she was matched with her first godmother. These letters not only tell the children they are thought of and loved, but it gives them a unique perspective in hearing and seeing how people live in other parts of the world as well as share how they live in theirs. Godparent visits are a very special opportunity for the children to meet their godparents face to face and give one of the hugs they have promised in every one of their letters. We were lucky to have had two godparent visits this year, one from Holland and the other from Germany. Despite being the home furthest to the south, we look forward to more visits in the future which are viewed as major events for our children. Additionally, the Sponsorship Department uses money from the Sharing Fund to celebrate the children’s birthdays. The Sharing Fund
is comprised 100% of gifts from godparents to their godchildren for birthdays, holidays, or other special events. All children in first grade and older celebrated their birthdays with a trip into Santa Cruz. Each is given an amount of money based on their age with which they pick out their own present. We then eat lunch in a restaurant, sing happy birthday and share a cake. Those children in kinder and younger make a short wish list and a present is bought and given to them at a party hosted here in the house. The parties always have music, games, a pi単ata and, of course, cake! These celebrations are funded entirely by the Sharing Fund, and in that way, contributions godparents make are directly enjoyed by their godchildren. The fund also ensures that every child has a gift and celebrates their special day. We are happy to have found at least one sponsor for each of our 15 new children who came in the past year. There are still sponsorships available. The department is currently run by one volunteer who is also the Home Correspondent. As our home has grown significantly in this past year, and will continue to do so, we will be seeking a volunteer this coming year to run this department.
Sponsorships: 345, Available sponsorships: 21
Psychology Psychologist Paula Marin conducted individual or group therapies with all 61 children. Schedules were set up according to the specific needs of each child and personality and psychometric tests were utilized along with therapy to determine a clinical history of each. Two goals of the department are to promote a positive adaptation of each child into the home and to build self-esteem as well as trust among members of the family. We have had 15 children enter since January and the assimilation process into a new home is different for each child. This focus on trust and the self-esteem that can then follow has proven a very valuable asset to our newest members. Also for the benefit of the children the department held interviews and psychoanalytic tests with each caregiver and those in direct contact with the children. These initial meetings were followed up by weekly meetings with each caregiver to maintain open communication with those most directly involved with the children. The department also held three successful workshops to better educate those who care for our children in assertive communication, early stimulation in children under five, and a workshop on abuses against children. All three contributed to an environment of awareness and understanding and the children are better off because of them.
A true mark of a successful year for the department has been the children’s reception and willingness to participate. A psychologist can only be effective if there exist relationships of trust and comfort, so we were happy to see how quickly the children accepted and then looked forward to their therapies. As is only natural, there was an initial hesitancy and skepticism by the children. Many saying they didn’t need the therapy because, “I am not crazy.” They quickly came to realize a psychologist is not just for “crazy” people, but can be very helpful in discussing your thoughts and emotions so that you better understand them. Anyone can benefit from such therapy, especially our children who, in addition to dealing with the normal struggles of growing up, are trying to reconcile their difficult pasts. The general reception has swiftly changed from hesitancy to excitement as many look forward to their time spent in the psychology office.
Social Work 2008 was a busy year in the Social Work Department for Claudia Lopez in Bolivia. The move to the new home, though at times making things slightly more complicated, has been a blessing for social work as well. Our new facilities allowed us to take in 15 new children since January, raising our total from 46 children to 61 children. Claudia is pleased to have all birth certificates and documentation secured for our newest children. Locating children’s papers can be a difficult and a timeconsuming process when dealing with government agencies. So much so that children can end up living with us for months before we finally acquire final papers. This was the case with José who arrived with his brother Jesús in January. José went by the name “Cayetano” in the home where he formerly lived, and his official file there was under the name Cayetano. Naturally, upon arriving at NPH, he was introduced to the children and caretakers as Cayetano, only to learn in April when his papers came through that his name was Jose. Upon hearing the news, José immediately embraced the return to his given name and from that day forward, no one has so much as mentioned the name Cayetano. In all of the trials normally associated with the paperwork, this was a first for us! The move to Portachuelo has been a mixed blessing for the department. It is certainly a healthier environment for the children, which is our top
priority. The extra space has also meant more privacy in the office as, for the first time, there is a Social Work office that is not shared with several other people. This is important due to the often sensitive nature of the work. A difficulty that came with the move from Santa Cruz has been our inconsistent communication from our rural location. With much of the departmentâ€™s work involving the local government in Santa Cruz, contact with the city is imperative. As a result of poor cell phone signal and difficulties with our phones relying on internet, a certain amount of time must be spent in the city. This split time between the city and home has highlighted the need for a second worker in the department. A volunteer proficient in Spanish and with a background in social work would fulfill this need. The department of Social Work is excited to be a part of our growing family in Bolivia. With each child we are able to accept, we are living NPHâ€™s mission to take in children from varying histories and giving them the loving environment they need to reach their potential by giving them opportunities they otherwise would not have had.
Healthcare As our home underwent major transformation this past year, so did the clinic and medical staff. The transition to the new surroundings and new staff proved difficult with a lack of continuity and medical record keeping. Dr. Claudia is quick to give much credit and thanks to volunteer nurse Herman Zoeller of Germany for his work, particularly putting together files for each child. Herman was with us from January to June but his contributions far exceed his six month stint. Dr. Claudia Allyon arrived in June of this year on the heels of Herman, and Linda Hungerkamp, also of Germany, arrived in July. Both strove to build relationships of comfort and trust with the children, which were achieved quickly and enjoyed by both. NPH Bolivia is blessed with having children in good health with no major problems or preexisting conditions. As such, Claudia and Linda have set out to establish improved hygiene and nutritional habits, both of which have profound effects on the general health of our children. The most frequent problems we see in our clinic are parasites, mycosis, abscesses, and gastritis. All of these are treatable once recognized, but seeking those who need treatment can often be the biggest hurdle in treating them. We had two operations this year: one for the removal of a kidney stone, for which the child was taken to a hospital in the city of Santa Cruz, and the other for appendicitis. Overall, we have been blessed with good health.
One hurdle for our medical staff has been the temporary clinic out of which they operate. As our permanent clinic is slated as part of future construction, a room in the dining hall is serving as our clinic. We would like to provide the clinic with a water connection for at least a sink for washing hands and utensils. Additionally, to keep up with our growing family, there is the need to expand the pharmacy inventory as well as equipment such as splints, slings, and crutches. We are confident the clinic can keep pace with our family and we look forward to outsourcing less and less of our children’s care as facilities become available here at the home.
Volunteers Volunteers add a much valued energy and perspective upon arriving at our home and it is for this reason NPH has been relying on volunteers in any capacity for so many years. NPH Bolivia has been blessed with a couple of very valuable volunteers this past year. With us from the beginning of the year, Gwendolé Leverge of France has worked with alternating groups of preschool and kindergarten children during the mornings in his room adjoining the kindergarten classroom. While the first half of the year Gwen devoted his afternoons to one-onone homework help with children who needed extra attention, in recent months we have enjoyed the realization of his project, “Sala de bien estar” (Room of well being). It is a place where children can still come for homework help, but additionally can come to relax, listen to music, play board games, or work on art projects. Though still in its infancy, it is proving a wonderful outlet for our children here. We are looking for someone to replace his position and drive this project forward. Also arriving in January was Herman Zoeller of Germany as our nurse and for the last couple of months he was with us, our entire clinic staff. Herman spent a year volunteering in NPH Honduras before joining us for six months. In the half year he was with us he orchestrated a period of transition between two full-time doctors. Though Herman left us in June, his legacy lasts in the form of up-to-date exams and records for all of the children.
Linda Hungerkamp, also of Germany, began a year of service with us in July as our nurse following Herman. Working with our Doctor Claudia, Linda has worked with the children in emphasizing the importance of dental hygiene and nutrition. As our clinic is only equipped to handle basic day-today needs, Linda also accompanies our children for visits to the hospitals and dentists in nearby Portachuelo or the city of Santa Cruz. Larkin VanDerhoef arrived from the United States in April for a commitment of a little more than a year. Larkin is running the Sponsorship Department as well as serving as the Home Correspondent. Our home here in Bolivia has been small enough in the past that the two positions have been filled by one volunteer, but as we have moved to our final home site and are continually growing, we will be looking for two new volunteers to take on each respective department in May in order to further develop them both. Volunteering at NPH in Bolivia provides a unique intimacy as a volunteer can come to know each child and is able to forge lasting and meaningful relationships with many.
Operating Expenses 2008 Farm and Gardens .5% Depreciation 5% Salaries 27%
Exchange rate profit 10% Benefits & Insurance 5% Administration 7% Sharing fund 1% Utilities 4%
Food 12% Maintenance 9% Clothing 2%
Housing 6% Transportation 7%
Educational games/ Board games
Photo printer (as well as photo paper and ink cartridges)
Hats, Scarves, gloves
Books for all ages School supplies Art supplies
Hair accessories Band Aids