Relationships are the Energy of Life

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David Spratte is a college student at the University of North Carolina, where he is studying to become a physician. He came to La Paz in order to conduct a study with HOPE worldwide Bolivia for two months at Hospital Arco Iris. Below, he shares about his experience:

“I believe relationships are the energy of life.  For this reason, I developed a research project to explore how the interpersonal relationship between the physician and patient can affect patient satisfaction. I thought that it could be an inexpensive means of acquiring a higher quality of care for all patients within the hospital.

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Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) was excited to host an independent study that would reveal the current level of patient satisfaction and indicate any changes that physicians could make that would increase the overall level of patient satisfaction with health care. Although HAI is one of the best hospitals in La Paz, they are constantly striving to provide the best patient care possible.

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David talked with hundreds of patients over the course of two months as he conducted his research study.

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Not only did I find my research project to be extremely fulfilling, but I also treasured my experience working with the HOPE worldwide Bolivia team.  Wow, where do I begin?

On my last day in the hospital my friends from the States came by to visit and meet the HOPE worldwide Bolivia staff. After meeting Noelle they said, “she is the nicest, most loving person that we have ever met.” But this is true of everyone who works with Hope worldwide Bolivia team. They taught me more than I could have ever asked for. Their unwavering passion and fiery desire to have a positive impact in La Paz is truly inspiring. You can see it in their eyes every single day. They are consistently passionate in their efforts to improve the lives and the health care for the poor in Bolivia.

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David with the HOPE worldwide Bolivia Team

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David with his friends from the States who came to visit him.

Overall, my time in La Paz was an amazing journey. I came to conduct a research project, but I quickly learned that this was not my only purpose. I believe that I actually came in order to learn from some of the most inspiring and selfless people that I have ever met.

Until next time, Bolivia, I love you and will miss you dearly. See you soon.”

HOPE worldwide Bolivia, along with your support and donations, is bringing hope and changing lives in La Paz through programs in health and social services.  We are working together with Hospital Arco Iris and Foundation Arco Iris to bring food, clothing, education and healthcare to over 30,000 street children and thousands of vulnerable children and families.  We need your help to continue this work.  Please consider making a donation today to help make a difference in the lives of the poor and needy in La Paz.

Thank you, as always, for your partnership in this vital work.

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David Spratte, a college student from the University of North Carolina, spent two months volunteering with HOPE worldwide Bolivia. He conducted a two-month research study at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David presented his research findings to the medical staff at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David presented his research findings to the medical staff at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David presented his research findings to the medical staff at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David with two of the doctors at Hospital Arco Iris

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David with two of the security guards at the hospital. He made friends everywhere he went!

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David with some of the hospital cafeteria staff. He made friends everywhere he went!

Breaking New Ground in Bolivia!

Please visit: www.cmihope.com
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On Thursday, April 2nd, 30 of us gathered in the sunny neighborhood of La Florida in Zona Sur, La Paz for a groundbreaking ceremony for the International Medical Center of HOPE (Centro Médico Internacional HOPE). This event represents one of the many things that are happening in our “2015 Year of Dreams Coming True” (our theme for this year).  Construction and remodelling begins this week and we hope to be celebrating our “Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening” within 6 months!
We took some special time during the event to honor and thank our donors from Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as Foundation and Hospital Arco Iris (Father José and Dr. Narvaez), as well as the Health and Social Services Division of HOPE worldwide, the executive leadership and board of HOPE worldwide and our many wonderful family, friends, supporters and advisors.
Thank you so much for your support of and involvement in this incredible project.  This international medical clinic will provide high quality care to members of the community.  In addition, it will generate resources to create a sustainable social enterprise for providing health and services for the vulnerable population of Bolivia, especially children.  Through your donations, support and sacrifices you are helping to change so many lives here in Bolivia!  We continue to search for needed additional funding so if you are interested in donating please click HERE.
Check out the short video below and a few of the pictures!
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Left to right: Father José (Fundación Arco Iris), Dr. Kevin Broyles (HOPE worldwide Bolivia), Dr. Ramiro Narvaez (Hospital Arco Iris)

Partnerships in Education that Save Lives

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Recently HOPE worldwide Bolivia had the privilege of hosting a life-changing conference where Dr. Luis Martinez, an infectious disease specialist and Regional Medical Officer for the United States Foreign Service, presented “Control and Prevention of the Ebola Virus in Bolivia” to almost 100 doctors, nurses, medical students and healthcare professionals at Hospital Arco Iris.

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Dr. Martinez received a doctorate in medicine from Northeast Ohio Medical University and later completed an Internal Medicine Residency and a 3-year sub specialty in Infectious Diseases.  After the Infectious Diseases fellowship, he worked as a Principal Investigator in the division of viral diseases at Walter Reed and as an assistant professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness, which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in both Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. The average fatality rate is around 50%.   The recent Ebola epidemic has brought attention to the medical community revealing the need to educate healthcare providers in the prevention, awareness and treatment of this devastating disease.
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Left to right: Gwen Ellis, RN (HOPE); Joanne Braun, FSHP (US Embassy La Paz); Dr. Luis Martinez (Regional Medical Director US Embassy), Dr. Kevin Broyles (HOPE), Dr. Gabriella Ruck (HOPE) and Mercedes Paniagua, RN (US Embassy La Paz)

Lectures like this demonstrate how powerful partnerships will not only save lives now but will educate the next generation of healthcare providers to do the same.  We give a special ‘thank you’ to Dr. Martinez and to the Foreign Medical Service of the United States.

Building a Better Future by Learning English

English is often referred to as the global language, the language that links the world together. The majority of medical literature, and over 50% of the content on the Internet is written in English. Having the ability to communicate in English opens up a world of opportunities for economic growth, better job opportunities, increased salaries and advanced education.  However, for the majority of people living within developing countries, the ability to learn English remains an unattainable dream because English classes are expensive and time consuming.

Desiring to provide opportunities to those who might not otherwise have them, HOPE worldwide Bolivia began offering English as a second language (ESL) classes to the staff of Hospital Arco Iris in May 2014. It has been a huge success. Doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and various auxiliary employees are working together to learn English in a positive, supportive environment.  Not only are the students receiving English classes for a very minimal cost, the classes are also being held at the Hospital at ideal times for the staff which alleviates pressure on their schedules.

A great indicator for the success of the ESL program is how the learning environment is creating a sense of family within the hospital through genuine Encouragement, Support and Love. Some of the students with a more stable income are now paying for other students (employees) who can’t afford to take classes but have a deep desire to learn and improve their lives. One of the women receiving assistance is a single mom of two who is supporting a child with a severe disability. Another is a single mom with three small children who currently living in a church shelter while working at the hospital.

HOPE worldwide Bolivia will also begin to offer ESL classes within the community next month and is exploring other opportunities to teach English to the city’s most vulnerable population. Indeed this is one of the ways to help break the chains of poverty by providing Educational opportunities while enhancing Self-esteem and building Life skills.

Thank you for supporting HOPE worldwide Bolivia and our programs in La Paz.  Your generosity is changing lives, one by one, and providing a brighter future for so many.  If you would like more information about HOPE worldwide Bolivia, our programs, or if you are interested in volunteering with us in Bolivia, please click HERE.

If you would like to make a donation to HOPE worldwide Bolivia, please click HERE.

The first group of ESL students completed Level 1 in August.

The first group of ESL students completed their 1st Trimester in August.

One of the ESL classes in session.  The students come from a variety of professions and backgrounds - from doctors and nurses to the cleaning staff - but they become like family.

One of the ESL classes in session. The students come from a variety of professions and backgrounds – from doctors and nurses to the cleaning staff – but they become like family.

ESL students working hard and enjoying class.

ESL students working hard and enjoying class.

ESL students working hard and enjoying class.

ESL students working hard and enjoying class.

Teacher Noelle working with two ESL students.

Teacher, Noelle, working with two ESL students.

Going over homework - practice makes perfect!

Going over homework – practice makes perfect!

The American Embassy in La Paz – Powerful Partnerships

On Monday, August 18th, the United States Embassy Chargé (Ambassador) Peter Brennan and his wife, Lizanne, were welcomed by a delegation of Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) staff, Foundation Arco Iris (FAI) representatives, FAI youth, and the HOPE worldwide Bolivia team at Hospital Arco Iris in La Paz.  HOPE worldwide Bolivia is a program of HOPE worldwide, a non-profit, international relief and development organization founded in 1991. HOPE worldwide Bolivia and the Arco Iris Foundation have joined together to provide healthcare to the neediest people  in El Alto and La Paz. Chargé Brennan announced the donation of two large 30 KW generators, over 350 Lego sets and games, a collection of over 200 brand new children’s books, and a large laboratory freezer to the hospital. This event was the culmination of significant donations from the Embassy during the past two years from the Health Unit and General Services Office.

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Chargé Peter Brennen speaks to the crowd.

Chargé Brennan stated that he “would like to praise the incredible accomplishments of Foundation Arco Iris, Hospital Arco Iris, and HOPE worldwide Bolivia for helping the under-resourced communities of El Alto and La Paz.” He recognized that these organizations provide housing, food, clothing, scholastic support and other health and social services for over 4000 orphans and serve the communities of the metropolitan area of La Paz with over 75,000 free medical consultations each year.

Several departments within the U.S. Embassy united together to support this initiative. The Community Liaison Office organized this event and donated the hundreds of Lego sets and games that will go to at-risk youth in La Paz. The Health Unit donated the large laboratory freezer that will be used to preserve medical specimens. The Public Affairs Section donated the collection of over 200 books. These books will become part of the HOPE worldwide Bolivia library within HAI, which will lend books to pediatric and adult patients as well as to the hospital staff.  Excitingly, this library will be the first public children’s library in La Paz.   The children’s books will be lent to trusted youth centers throughout the city. The Office of Security Cooperation provided the two large generators, valued at $14,000 dollars each. These generators will increase energy stability for the emergency equipment and keep the lights functioning in the hospital when the power goes out.

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Over 350 Lego sets and games were donated to at-risk youth in La Paz.

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Over 200 brand new books were donated to the HOPE worldwide Children’s library.

The United States Embassy is proud to support organizations that are making a difference in the lives of thousands of vulnerable children and adults.   Chargé Brennan expressed that the efforts of Foundation Arco Iris, Hospital Arco Iris, and HOPE worldwide Bolivia “reflect and represent the very best in the volunteer community spirit … a spirit that solidifies and reinforces the bonds between our two countries.”

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Connecting needs with resources (from left to right) Dr. Kevin Broyles (Country Director for HOPE worldwide Bolivia), Lizanne Brennen, Chargé Peter Brennen (U.S. Ambassador), Dr. Romiro Narvaez (General Director of Hospital Arco Iris)

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Dr. Kevin Broyles addresses the crowd and thanks the U.S. Embassy for their generous donations.

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Chargé Peter Brennen and his wife, Lizanne, enjoying a fun moment with the kids from Casa Esperanza.

Story written by Phil Chamberlain, Community Liaison Office Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia

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If you would like to DONATE to HOPE worldwide Bolivia, please click HERE.  

Inspired By The Children In Bolivia

by Austin Wyatt

During the entire month of July, I had the opportunity to be a volunteer with HOPE worldwide Bolivia in La Paz.  This was my second visit to La Paz and, just like last year, it wasn’t long enough!

The majority of my time was spent volunteering at Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) within the Sala de Juegos (playroom) and it was so rewarding.  I taught the children how to share and be respectful of one another.  I saw how a person could change the world of a child just by saying “you are special” or “you are so smart”.  These phrases I often take for granted when someone says them to me.  However, for these kids they feel an abundance of love when they hear these words.  I’ve never seen such genuine smiles!

My favorite thing about my time in the hospital was hanging out with the young patients on the pediatric floor.  And without a doubt, my favorite patient was a young boy named Andres.

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Andrés and Austin in Hospital Arco Iris

Andres is a 13 year old Bolivian boy who has lived on the streets for most of his life.  Both of his parents died several years ago from alcoholism.  He has two younger brothers.  Andres has been in and out of shelters and orphanages as well as living on the streets.  Recently, he got involved with a gang and with drugs and alcohol.  He was hit by a car and nearly decapitated and was immediately rushed to Hospital Arco Iris.

Hearing his story was so touching and heart breaking, but also it also made me feel overwhelmingly grateful for my life.  Andres is only 13 years old and yet he has already experienced such pain, loss and hopelessness.  I asked myself, “Why not me?  Why am I not in his shoes?”  It blows my mind how my life has been so comfortable.

When I initially met Andres, I felt a little overwhelmed not knowing exactly what to say or do.   But I also remembered what my mission was here in Bolivia.  It was to love every child and person unconditionally, serving them and showing them an example of Jesus’ love.

Most of my time with Andres was spent getting to know him, playing the popular board game ‘Trouble’ and playing soccer within the hospital hallways.  Andres is so funny and is such a joy to be around.   I felt like he became the little brother I never had.  He brightened my day, and I brightened his.

Andrés with his favorite boardgame, Trouble

Andrés with his favorite boardgame, Trouble

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Andrés and Austin (HOPE worldwide volunteer) playing soccer in the hallways of the hospital.

Andrés and Noelle (HOPE worldwide volunteer) having fun with kleenex in their noses.

Andrés and Noelle (HOPE worldwide volunteer) having fun with kleenex in their noses.

It was a miracle to watch Andres change before my eyes during his hospital stay.  At the beginning, he was guarded and quiet.   He had no family to care for him.  He was also unable to speak because of his tracheostomy tube.  I can only imagine how frightened he must have been.  It was incredible to witness how the staff at HAI and the HOPE volunteers showered him with love.  By the end of my time in La Paz, he had warmed up to everyone around him.  He not only was playing games and soccer, but he was also serving by helping me pick up toys from the other pediatric rooms…and always with a smile.

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Andrés is always full of smiles and recently had his tracheostomy tube removed

Andres became such a blessing in my life.  I’m inspired by his example.  I now am asking myself, “How can I connect more with the people who are in my life…whether it be at work, school, or at church?”

After two months in the hospital (and an overwhelming hospital bill he will never be able to repay), Andres is recovering and getting stronger every day.  Last week his tracheostomy tube was removed and he is now talking to everyone!  He has recently decided that his purpose in life is to return to the orphanage to help care for his two younger brothers.  He also has dreams of becoming a doctor or an artist.

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Andrés loves to draw and color.

Andrés with Noelle and Bob the builder, learning English

Andrés with Noelle and Bob the builder, learning English

Bolivia is a country that is filled with so much beauty, whether it be from the gorgeous terrain that takes your breath away, or from the love you feel from the church or from the kids in the hospital.  Every day I woke up and felt like I had received a kiss from God.  There is no other place like La Paz.  It will always have a special place in my heart and prayers.  It will always be like a home to me.

A view of the city of La Paz from Killi Killi

A view of the city of La Paz from Killi Killi

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If you would like to DONATE to HOPE worldwide Bolivia or specifically to the Vulnerable Children’s Healthcare Fund that helps children like Andres, please click HERE.  

If you are interested in volunteering with HOPE worldwide Bolivia, click HERE for more information.

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Austin Wyatt is a twenty year old college student living in Atlanta, GA.

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