by Kiara Yeatman
I had the honor and privilege to spend the first five weeks of my summer break in La Paz, Bolivia as a HOPE worldwide volunteer. I have lived in many different places, like Milan, Italy and New Delhi, India, and have visited other exciting and exotic countries around the world, but Bolivia introduced me to a brand new type of beauty that I hadn’t been exposed to anywhere else. I remember the towering mountains touching the crystal blue sky and encompassing the fast-paced city, the beautiful cholitas with their high bowler hats and long braids, the laughing children running down the sidewalks back from school, and the quaint cafes at every corner street — Bolivia has a beauty completely of its own. As I spent my time there, I fell in love with the place, the culture, the language and, above all, the people.
As a HOPE worldwide volunteer, everyday was different and exciting. Many mornings I went to the Sala de Juegos in Hospital Arco Iris to play with and encourage children as they waited for appointments with doctors. Twice a week I would go to the pediatric unit of the hospital and use play therapy to interact with the children admitted into the hospital. One day I went to the neighboring city of El Alto in one of Hospital Arco Iris’ ambulances to provide medical consultation for school-aged children in poorer communities. In addition to social and medical programs, I was able to serve within the church of La Paz, loving them and sharing my life with them. My experiences in Bolivia were life changing because I was able to participate in numerous things I am passionate about — serving the poor, showing people Jesus, learning about medicine, practicing the Spanish language and exploring a brand new culture. One of the most impacting parts of my time in Bolivia was seeing Jesus’ life and the scriptures lived out in the HOPE worldwide team, the church and many people I met there. Although Bolivia is one of the poorest nations in all of South America, it is evident that God’s love, truth, and miraculous power are at work all throughout its breath-taking land.