The Power of Encouragement in the Midst of Crisis

Juan Cow Family Story 2Life is always about relationships, therefore we at HOPE worldwide Bolivia (HwwB) are always striving to connect resources with needs as we build these supportive friendships throughout our daily lives.   

Ricardo and Celia are parents of four young children under the age of nine. They live in a remote area a few hours outside of La Paz, Bolivia. They survive by making a living on their small dairy farm with a few cows, producing cheese. One day their 7 year old son, Juan, became severely ill with a fever and abdominal pain. Juan’s sickness and his injuries were allegedly caused by an act of violence when he was beaten up by a bully at school and kicked in his side. The family’s village doctor prescribed pills and some tea.  Juan’s condition continued to deteriorate rapidly, so they brought him to two public hospitals in La Paz, but were turned away because the hospitals were over capacity. Juan finally ended up in the emergency room of Hospital Arco Iris (HAI), where he was admitted with a ruptured appendix, abdominal infection, and an infection in his bloodstream.

Juan Cow Family Story copy

Juan, 7 years old, spent 4 months in the hospital being treated for a severe abdominal infection after his appendix ruptured.

For the next few months, Juan battled for his life on the pediatric floor of HAI. His parents faithfully took turns at his bedside, while striving to maintain their small farm and providing for their other small children. The HOPE worldwide staff became close friends with Juan and his family during these challenging months, encouraging them with toys, books, playtimes, and love. Juan’s parents were overwhelmed with the mounting hospital and medication bills, so they were forced to sell 5 of their 10 dairy cows, further crippling their income.
Tragically, after a 4 month battle in the hospital, Juan passed away.

However, in the midst of a painful situation, HOPE worldwide Bolivia was able to connect this wonderful family with others in the community to help meet their needs.

The La Paz Church of Christ took up a collection to help pay for funeral costs. Two medical students from Boston (Heather and Rachel) who were doing rotations in HAI during Juan’s stay in the hospital donated a generous sum of money which helped to purchase another dairy cow and calf for the family.

Ricardo and Celia with three of their children and their newly purchased dairy cow and calf. They were extremely grateful!


Heather & Rachel (medical students from Boston, MA) donated a large sum of money to help the family purchase a dairy cow.

Even though they were grieving, this family was incredibly grateful for the love, support, and encouragement they received from HOPE worldwide Bolivia and the surrounding community.

Because of your support and donations, we are able to bring HOPE and change lives amongst the poor and vulnerable population here in Bolivia. Thank you!
Please consider making a donation to continue our valuable work here in La Paz!

The family recently attended an event at Casa de Paso (with Foundation Arco Iris) to celebrate Bolivia’s annual  Day of the Child.

Below is a short video documenting this story.

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