When we first began working with Raquel and her siblings back in 2009, she was naturally shy. Her shyness, however, was amplified to self-consciousness due to a large scar on the right side of her face she had since childhood that never healed properly. Having consulted several doctors over the past couple of years, and attempted less invasive treatement options, last month we were presented with an opportunity to have Raquel receive plastic surgery from a group of visiting surgeons. Below are a couple recent photos of Raquel, along with Zandra and Caton. Caton came by our offices last week full of pride, showing us his first college grades - which were all really high!
Above Left: Raquel, smiling at a recent visit to Pedacito de Cielo.
Above Right: Here, with Caton and Zandra.
Raquel's surgery hasn't been the only physical change that has taken place in the kids we are supporting over the past couple of months. Three of our girls started up orthodontic treatments thanks to some support funding we received from First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue. While in these photos they don't appear all that happy (I mean, we took these shortly after the treatments started, and the poor things are in pain), Paty, Abigail and Adriana are all very grateful for this opportunity :) We will have updates on Bryssa, Johana Evelyn and Cynthia, who have recently started or are scheduled to begin treatments soon.
Above Left: Paty's headgear is helping both straighten her teeth and adjust her jaw position.
Above Right: Abigail has been a good sport, and won't need as long of a treatment as Paty.
Above: Adriana's older sister, Sofia, received a similar treatment a few years ago, so she is a bit more smiley about the whole affair :)
In August, we shared about Bolivian Independence Day celebrations. On September 14th, we celebrated Cochabamba's Anniversary by taking all the kids for a day of swimming and picnic fun. It was a great time for our boys and girls to spend the whole day together. Here's a few photos of the fun in the sun...
Above Left: The younger kids of PDC and CDP splashing in the wading pool.
Above Right: Adriana showing what a good swimmer she is.
Above Left: Sisters Mariela and Cynthia posing in the pool
Above Right: Zaquiel showing us his pearly whites.
Above Left: Lucas giving us one of his classic smiles.
Above Right: Eneas, still working on his.
Above Left: Victoria with her brother Marcos. These times of sharing are so important for the siblings.
Above Right: Sisters Karina and Nohemi taking a break from the pool.
Above Left: Karina, Adriana, Jhoselin, Johana, Vanesa and Camila catching some rays.
Above Right: Picnic time!
Above Left: Lucas looks on as Cedro shows his skills at dribbling the soccer ball.
Above Right: Alvaro and Bemabe get into mischief.
As the school year starts to wind down, all sorts of year-end events take place. A couple weeks back some of the girls of CDP participated in a cultural fair, and families were invited to come by and hear them present on different aspects.
Above Left: Evelyn showing some traditional textiles.
Above Right: Elena stands in front of a rural community mall.
Above Left: Vanesa at her booth, displaying local produce.
Above Right: Elena and Abigail posing outside their classroom.
Above Left: Vanesa with a friend.
Above Right: Bryssa and a friend displaying some local crafts.
Above Left: Olivia and Cynthia pose for a picture.
Above Right: Here, Olivia with her best friend.
Earlier, we mentioned how change can be good for us. For the past couple of years, our Bolivian Board of Directors has been looking to change from an organization mostly depending on funding from outside of the country, to one also is raising awareness and support here in Cochabamba. Since December of last year, one way this has been done is through fundraising teas. Over the past 7 weeks we have hosted two such events and they were both a success. As always, our little ones joined us with a traditional dance, and this time around our oldest girl, Olivia, gave a testimony of her life before CDP, and how things have changed.
Above Left: Zaquiel, Alvaro and Manolo posing before a dance.
Above Right: Tía Celia, who prepared all the kids for the dance, with Victoria, Zamora and Karina.
Above Left: The girls dancing before our guests.
Above Right: And our guests, looking on and enjoying.
Finally, perhaps the event in our lives that defines change more than any other, is passing from one year to the next. We celebrated several birthdays these past several weeks - Cedro, Paty, Abigail, Nohemi, Victoria and Lourdes, as well as Tía Paty, Tía Marysol, Tía Jackie and Tía Megan. Lourdes joined CDP when it opened back in July 2006, so it was a long anticipated joy to celebrate her 15th birthday celebration with her.
Above Left: Cedro, almost finishing his birthday Jell-O.
Above Right: Bryssa, mesmerized by the candle she is ready to blow out.
Above Left: Paty, with her birthday cake.
Above Right: Lourdes' 15th birthday cakes, looking yummy!
Above Left: Lourdes' damas awaiting her arrival.
Above Right: Tío Tyson and Lourdes dancing the waltz.
Above Left: Lourdes with her sister.
Above Right: And with her mom.