Two of our project partners in Latin America have European roots and they regularly visit their relatives. They are Sister Maria Teresa, who travels to Barcelona every two years to visit her family; she and I (Irmingard Weise) have already met there twice.

And then there is Alex Bustamante, who has been president of the CAICC in Bolivia for 2 years. His mother lives in England and he always visits her in the summer.
The idea arose that Maria Teresa and Alex B., when they are in Europe, could visit us with a small “hop” financed by RUVD. Because the personal conversation, spending some time together and also showing our partners our world and our living conditions is a great help for productive cooperation.

So it happened that Maria Teresa spent 24 hours in Berlin and Potsdam in March 2018 and Alex B. was here in July, also for about 26 hours.

Report from Maria Teresa’s visit :
she had a presentation stick with her about the work of the sisters of her order. There you can see, for example, the boarding school in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, where Maria T. is now the administrative director. It is situated at an altitude of 2,400 m, with cold nights and hot days. There are 65 girls living in the boarding school, they are very busy with studying, sometimes still from 7 to 9 pm. Scholarship holders selected by Maria T. can live and eat there for free, they help a little with looking after the younger pupils.

We have now , in 2018, 13 scholarship holders , of which 2 will become auxiliary nurses, 3 will become professional nurses, 6 will become nursery school teachers and 2 are working towards the baccalaureate. All this in three different places. Maria T. manages the money in an exemplary and reliable way, she is supported by fellow sisters in looking after the young women. The scholarship programme is running very well, there are practically no drop-outs, the young women are highly motivated and work hard, after finishing their education they all find a job.

Report from the visit by Alex B.:
The CAICC has had very difficult and turbulent times since it took office 2 years ago. Apart from RUVD, there were no more foreign donors, wages could only be paid irregularly, suppliers were not getting their money, the director Veronica Bustillos was muddling through from crisis to crisis in fire-fighting mode. When Alex B. tried to implement more structure in the CAICC, Veronica felt too much pressure and resigned on 1.11.2017 , after which she sued the CAICC for 30.000.- USD for her pension rights.

Fortunately, this claim was reduced to USD 8,000 and has already been paid out.

Furthermore, the previous state and municipal payments .which make up about 65% of the budget, could also be secured for the future. Alex B. also told us about several initiatives that now support the CAICC, some in Cochabamba, some in the USA.

So now there will be a future for this important project after all, with a reduced number of staff and carers for children whose parents are in prison, while they themselves, after a change in the law, live outside, partly with the non-imprisoned mother, partly with relatives.

It was a great pleasure for us. We share his optimism and will continue to support the CAICC.