Friday, August 1, 2014

A Warm Welcome from a Bolivian In-country Volunteer (Cooperante técnico)

My name is Carla A. Urrelo Lara. I'm the new cooperante of ICS's programme who works alongside Focapaci to support urban agricultural producers. A few weeks ago I started to understand more deeply what International Service means and performs as well as the work that is taking place alongside Focapaci to provide training services to urban food producers groups of El Alto - La Paz.

I knew that one of the main objectives of Focapaci is the nutrition of families in vulnerable situation of El Alto, for it built, along with British volunteers, greenhouses to facilitate the agricultural production and good nutrition of the families. For this purpose it was possible to carry out, be investigated and manual work of nutrition to promote healthy food.

In many cases there is a surplus production of vegetables, for which it proposed the sale to restaurants like Ichurri, Namaste, Kuchen Stube, Asamar, etc. It is in this area in which I decided to cooperate, so these weeks have been continuing technical training and experience with the producers of El Alto.Now I'm really enjoying it for the rich dialogue with the producers. Beyond the marketing support we also talk to each of them, who very kindly share their life stories, concerns, needs, motivations and activities in the daily experience, demonstrating the strength, courage and persistence that is required to move forward for their family, studies, work and agricultural production.

I focused the more I could in the project and which implied it to be able to receive and working alongside the British volunteers of the Cohort 9. Until that moment the volunteers that they would form part of the team were so-called " Cohort 9 " only to strangle my curiosity because I was wondering Who are they? How many? What characteristics they have?

The new team, after winning the induction week treasure hunt
Suddenly comes the day all the volunteers come to Bolivia, then " Cohort 9 " takes the form of three strong energy: Kate Warren, Mirzadeh Ilyas and Henstock Josh. With motivated, smiling faces, gentle words, expectations, stories of life, curiosity, patience and a willingness to learn and work every day, bringing the best with a contribution on behalf of something bigger, as it is to promote the quality of life and human rights in the people.

Focapaci team at the radio station

In this way this group of volunteer colleagues, Josh, Kate, Ilyas; team coordinator, Pedro Calero; cooperante, Mateo Vera, voluntary workers and myself, we are shaping a family that is consolidating with every shared experience, opening the mind and arms to grow and create bonds of fellowship, friendship and action.

I feel that this time that work together will be a unique opportunity to advance in life walking step-by-step to give and take, to fall and get up, learn, especially grow from the exchange of realities and knowing that we can act to improve ourselves and our environment, because the beauty of this is that all experience of volunteering is being continued feedback of experience, it  brings mutual benefits to both of parts: the community as ourselves.

Josh, Ilyas and Kate very welcome to La Paz-Bolivia, and our team that from heart we receive you with open arms!
 A very muddy welcome!

Written Carla Andrea Urrelo Lara

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