Written in Bolivia by Stephanie Kuei, Communications Officer with Kaya Children.
Coming back to Bolivia to work with Kaya Children again has been such a tremendous blessing for me! When I came two years ago, I honestly had no idea what to expect nor what I was getting myself into, but I ended up spending a beautiful summer falling in love with a new culture and with all the kids at Kaya Children.
When I left Bolivia two years ago, the kids asked me to stay, or at least return to visit them again. I promised I would return, but did not know when I actually would be able to. Imagine my excitement when I realized I would be able to fulfill the promise I made to the kids!
When I arrived at the Kaya Center on my first day of work, I was greeted by the smiling face of Luis Angel, one of the boys who came to Kaya Children on my last day at the Kaya Center two years ago. He immediately ran up to me and gave me a huge hug, all the while exclaiming, “You’re back! You’re back! You promised to come to visit us again the last time you were here, and here you are! You kept your promise!”
The rest of the day was spent reuniting with all the kids I met the last time – after they got over the initial surprise of seeing me again – and meeting all the new kids in the expanded Kaya Center program. It was awesome to see just how many more children are now able to benefit from Kaya Children’s programs and the dedication of all the staff to the kids. It is truly a wonderful place full of amazing people.
The past two months I have spent with Kaya Children have gone by very quickly, and it is hard to believe that I now find myself at the end of my time in Bolivia. I am going to miss helping kids with their homework, playing random games throughout the day with the kids, waiting in the dining hall for one of the younger kids to finish up her one-and-a-half hour lunch, the constant sound of chattering voices, the millions of hugs that I give and receive every day. I will miss my Bolivian family.
The past few days, the kids have been trying to convince me to stay. “No te vayas, mami, no te vayas!” – “Don’t leave, mommy, don’t leave!” And even though I will be leaving tomorrow, I know that leaving does not mark the end of my time with Kaya Children. The memories I have from these two months will continue to stay with me, and I know that I will be coming back again in the future.