Corazon Grande

 

 

 

LETTERS

Cochabamba, December 2017

Hello dear friends,

I'm sending you all a really warm greeting from Corazon Grande, Cochabamba, Bolivia !!!
I wish you all a really nice Christmas preparation time!

Here summer has arrived and it is very hot! It is closer to 30 degrees Celsius and it is very dry. We are waiting for the rain! In the jungle, not many hours from here, there have been floodings...

The girls at home are good. In a week their summer holidays begin and in early February the schools start again. The girls are looking forward to the Christmas preparations and to Christmas. They look forward to sleeping a bit longer in the morning ... We have not yet set the program for them. However, some need to improve their school work. We hope we find someone who wants to teach girls to use the knitting machines we received as donations and it would be great if they could practice sewing too. And most of them like ball games.

Some of the girls move home when school ends or to a relative. The Child Protection people say they should move away from Corazon Grande when they reach 18. We have a social worker, Jhanet, who works with the family or relatives, and we follow up. We have four girls at the Salvation Army Student Home in the center of Cochabamba. They live there (and pay rent), they work half-time and study and get support from the sponsors.

On December the second we had "Open Doors Day" when people could come to visit our Home. We had some sales of cakes and Christmas decorations made by the girls. We hope some of those who visit us can help us in the future with something. On Saturday, December 16, we celebrate Lucia. It is Juana who will be Lucia this year. Before that, we bake gingerbread cookies and saffron buns and the house will be decorated for Christmas.

There will be some changes next year. As I mentioned, some of the girls move away and we hope we get new girls. Child protection places ever more demands on us and we just hope we can fulfill their demands. Later, I will inform what is happening and how it works for us.
Many Christmas greetings from every girl on Corazon Grande !!! A big thank you to all those who help you!
A really GOOD CHRISTMAS to all of you !!! Warm greetings; Siw

Cochabamba, September 2017

Dear Sponsors and Friends,

It's a pleasure to write to you! Many greetings to you from the girls and the staff at Corazon Grande!

Last night it was raining and the morning was cold and felt like winter. There is snow on the higher mountains surrounding the city. It looks so beautiful! In fact, the spring begins soon. The 21st is celebrated as the Day of spring, students and Love!

A lot of flowers are blooming now and we will soon feel the spring in the air. September 14th is the Cochabamba Day and September 23th is the Tiquipaya Day. There are celebrations with long parades and also with contests between different orchestras.

Today, I got up before five o'clock to go with Dora to renew her ID card. It's important to be in "Segip" in good time because they only share a certain number of number tags.

On September 20th, a group of twelve people from New Zealand will arive. We already know half of the group from before and we look forward to meeting them all! They are going to spend seven days at the Home, and this time they are going to paint the houses on the outside. This is a great help for us because it is important to keep the buildings in order. They are going to help with a lot of other things too. And then they will attend the parade with us on the Tiquipaya Day celebrated on Friday, September 22th.

On Saturday, September 30th, Ôyvind and Frode Fanebust arrive. They are the representatives from the Bolivia family in Norway who supports some homes for orphans and many day centers around Bolivia together with the Salvation Army.

It was good for me to spend almost two months on vacation in Finland. But it was also nice to get back and I got new energy and came back with new strength.

The girls where doing well when I came back and from the 1st of July the new director of Corazon Grande is Rita Vidaure. She has been in the board for a long time and goes to the same church as the girls. The girls will feel that she actually cares about them!

Thank you all who think of us and who support us! Every support is so important and we hope to get more sponsors interested to help!!!

The Child protection and the authorities have become much stricter. For example, every person working with the children – including me – have to undergo a three-day psychological test. They want to protect the children from "unpleasant" people.

Nilda has reached the age of 18 and is now living with her mother who has significantly improved the conditions. By the end of the year several girls are moving out. The Child protection says they can stay with us only until they reach 18. They are as well to move out if the conditions in the home are improved or if some relatives want them to stay with them. The following girls are moving out; Dora, Lidia, Neydi, Jhenny and Celina.

We have two new girls; Celina who is 14 years old and a sister to Soledad and Dayne who is 12 who came from a provisional orphanage. And we will most certainly get new girls next year...

We have four girls who live at the Student hostel at the Salvation Army: Jaqueline, Daniela, Veronica and Arminda. Most likely Neydi will stay there next year - she has two years left in high school.

The girls have grown so much and as you understand, there are different and new challenges with teenage girls. We hope to be a good home for our girls!

You are welcome to come and visit us and Bolivia has a rich culture and a lot to offer tourists! You would certainly have an unforgettable trip!

I would once again like to thank you so much for your support and I wish you all a really nice autumn!!!

Many warm greetings;
Siw Broman

Cochabamba, 28th of March 2016

Dear friends,

We have already managed to get well into the new year! I hope the year so far has been good for all of you!

You have spring there soon and here we go towards the autumn. It is still very hot during the day, I feeel like the heat every year gets stronger. The rainy season is over, I can not remember a year when it has rained so little as this year in Cochabamba. The land has not received the water that it needs. The neighborhood of La Paz didn't get enough rain either. But in the tropical parts of the country there has been some flooding.

We at Corazon Grande are well, brisk and healthy, with the exception of Laura who sometimes gets her epileptic seizures. She gets strong medications several times a day. She requires a lot of attention, but at the same time we receive so much love from her. Laura is in special class in a school called "Jesus Maestro", where we also have other girls.

All the changes we had to do to protect our economy have not been easy for the girls. Most of the staff are new. But at the same time, we believe it is the best for the girls too.

The Board often gather to take care of the things that concern the orphanage and the girls. The Board consists of six persons representing various professions and this they do on a voluntary basis because they care for the girls. Once a year we gather in large numbers, ie at the general meeting where we account for the previous year and present the plans for the next year.

We now have 24 girls. Veronica has moved out. She lives at the Salvation Army student residence for girls which is in the center of Cochabamba. She shares a room with her sister Arminda. She works part-time at a sewing workshop and study in the afternoon. Our three big girls; Jaqueline, Arminda and Veronica are often visiting us.

In the beginning of January six of our girls started their studies at the sewing institute on Harol de Carol, the same institution where nine girls studied two years ago. We've got a half scholarship there. It's going well for most of them, and for a couple it feels still pretty hard. However., when they get better at sewing, I'm sure it will be fun too. It is one year of study. When they have school, it is only one day, ie four hours with sewing studies and during school holidays they study every day at the institute.

In early February the school started again. The girls are in four different schools. Next year we hope to get everyone in the same school, it would be more practical.

We've had volunteers, but at the moment no one is on her/his way.
If you who are reading this are interested or if you know someone who would consider to come, then you should know that you are very welcome. We are grateful for all help we can get and we also hope that it will be rewarding to stay with us!

I hope that you will help me to advertise Corazon Grande and tell people about our need for more sponsors. We have received money from a day's work projects and birthdays, but our needs have become greater because everything has gone up in price and the wages as well. We are very grateful for all the help we have received!!! Without you, we couldn't help the girls to a better future!

On the 12
th of April, which is the Child's Day in Bolivia, we celebrate our 10th anniversary. We are grateful to you and to God for these years that we have to be there for these girls! Let 's continue to support them!

We have celebrated Easter and decorated the house with Easter grass and other Easter decorations. We have painted eggs and each one have searched for their own chocolate egg. Most important of all, we have been reminded of the importance of Easter - Jesus' suffering on the cross for our sake, and the resurrection. It is about the power of love.

Dear Friends, thanks you for keeping the girls in your hearts !!! Thank you, thank you sooo much for what you are doing for us !!!

I want to wish you all a very nice continuation of spring !!!

Siw

29th of December 2015

Dear sponsors and friends!
Warm greetings to all of you here from Bolivia and Corazon Grande!
Now I will tell you a bit about how we celebrate Christmas. There was no white Christmas this year either, but Santa Claus came this year too! Ho-Ho-Ho ...

About a month before Christmas, we chose with four of the girls our Christmas trees and made an reservation on them. On December 6th  we had large gingerbread baking event. Big and small were involved with the baking and we had Christmas music on to get into the holiday spirit. There were many fine gingerbreads! They were decorated later in the week to be ready for Saint Lucy's Day on Sunday the 13th of December. In late November, we tested Lucia outfits - the girls grow every year and they may need a different outfit or the costume must be folded down. We practiced the Saint Lucy´s song, Silent Night (in Spanish). We have two young missionaries from Peru who are creative and musical and they practiced singing and choreography with the girls.

The Saint Lucy´s  festival we were gathered from five different countries; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Peru and Bolivia! It was an atmospheric festival as usual. The girls performed with joy. We ate gingerbread cookies, rice pudding and saffron buns.


A few days later we visited a private nursing home. It was a nice experience for the girls and for the elderly. And the following Sunday afternoon we visited another nursing home, a large one with about 150 elderly people. We were so well received there and the girls, especially the smaller were giving hugs to several of the elderly people.

Tuesday 22th of December we went way over the mountains to hand out Christmas gifts (a toy, a toothbrush and toothpaste) to the children. The mothers received a small packet of rice, macaroni and sugar. This was made possible by a donation that we received for this purpose. It was a great day for the kids and a great happiness for us to give joy. I might add that we were at 5500 meters altitude, almost in the clouds.

Sunday before December 24th we brought the Christmas trees home and the same day we decorated them.

The girls had waited so much for Christmas Eve. We ate Christmas dinner half past seven o'clock in the evening. We had a dish called "picana", a bit like soup, made with three different meats and of carrots, potatoes, corn and white wine. Very tasty! Before the dinner one of the older girls read the Christmas story to remind us all of why we celebrate Christmas.

After the meal, the girls watched TV, and then suddenly Santa Claus visited us (he was from Finland this year). The girls sang to him and then he distributed the gifts. The smaller girls started playing with their dolls or other toys that they had received. The girls were allowed to stay up as they wanted and some were up all night and they thought it was great fun!

The next morning we made more than 200 pâtés and api (a corn drink that is somewhat reminiscent of blueberry) and so we went off to distribute it to the children who live in our area, and toys too. The rest of the day we lazed around, some in front of the TV and the smaller played with their toys.

Last mission with Lucia was on Sunday 27th of December then we visited the State Hospital Viedma. We visited two children's wards, one with children with cancer and other diseases, and then the Department with burned children. It was a powerful experience for us, and I think we were able to spread a little joy and hope.

Now it's only two days left until the New Year. We are also waiting for New Year's evening! And we believe that next year will be better than this year!

Happy New Year to all our friends! And from the depth of my heart I want to thank everyone who has supported Corazon Grande this year !!!

Siw Broman

Cochabamba 30th of September 2015

Dear friends:

It is a joy for me to write to you again and tell you about life here! It has been almost two months since I returned from my vacation in Norway and Finland. I had a nice holiday in every way and it was so good to meet so many of you! It was wonderful to be near the sea. However, it felt great as well be back here with my girls again and get to meet new challenges...

I came back on August 8th and on the 13th of August a group of ten people from New Zealand arrived. They all belong to the same church and they all came with the same vision: to be of joy and benefit to Corazon Grande. Five of them were here last year too and there were five new team members. This time they fixed Casa Finlandia and painted the inside of the two floors. It was a special time for us to have them here. They were really great joy and benefit to us. Casa Finlandia became so nice! The girls had expected to see our friends from New Zealand again and now they were here. The girls received hugs from them, and they showed their affection back.

One Saturday we had an enjoyable day with the New Zealand team in the country, about a half hours distance from us. We had a devotional, we walked around the area and we saw some lamas who belonged to an ecological hotel. We ate a very good lunch that consisted of grilled chicken that lady Roxana with assistants had prepared. And then it was time for games that ended in a water fight. Both young and old had fun! Each girl received a small stuffed animal, a Kiwi bird as a memory from New Zealand. A bird that cannot fly, but it's really cute and unfortunately endangered species.

On 25th of August it was their last day with us. We also celebrated the four girls' birthday that day so it was celebrated with a stuffed cake! There was some playing before our friends said goodbye to the girls. It was sad, but we hope to see them again! And we wait for Uncle Martin and Aunt Karen and their children to visit us in March next year.

On 14th of September it was the Cochabamba Day. It was on a Monday, a bank holiday and an extra day off. Inside the Cochabamba was the big parades. Previously, the week before, there had been competition among school orchestras at the stadium. We have a girl, Nilda, who is playing in the school orchestra.

On September 15th we got a new girl, Jessica, ten years old. She came from another orphanage which was closed due to financial reasons. It seems that Jessica adapted herself quickly to us and to the accommodation of Corazon Grande. There is only about two months left of school so Jessica can continue going to the same school. We have to organize who shall bring her and pick her up.

On 21th of September the Spring Day is celebrated in Bolivia. Also Students' Day and Love Day are celebrated. Roses and small decorative items are sold in the streets and the schools are celebrating too - the teachers celebrate the students. We also celebrated in Corazon Grande. A bakery in town had donated us a delicious cake. Additionally, we had a girl's birthday that day.

On September 23 we walked in the parade in Tiquipaya because it was the Tiquipaya Day. There were many schools and organizations joined in the parade which lasted for several hours. We were number seven, so we were quite early. The day before we had received a nomination, a recognition of the ten years that we have worked to support children and youth (next year in April, it will be ten years). The award was presented by the mayor and the governor. It was a document / certificate and a medal of bronze!

It's very hot here now, about 10 degrees early in the morning of 30 degrees at midday. Soon the rainy season is here, and when the sun goes down, it becomes cooler.

We've got some new sponsors, but we would need more!!! It would be great if you can advertise!

In addition to the daily entertainment, we have many needs. We have for example. problems with the septic drain that must be frequently emptied because there's so much water in the soil here, and it becomes even more difficult during the rainy season. We hope it will be possible to buy a newer and bigger car this year. We have about $ 13,000 and I'm not sure what we can get for the old car. A newer car costs about $ 32,000.

The girls still have a two-month period in the school before the summer holidays begin. And we hope that everybody will do their very best! We try to support them as much as we can!

Many thanks each sponsor and friend for your contribution! Without your help it would not be possible for us to provide a better future for these girls who have not had such a good start in life!!!

I want to wish you all a good continuation of the fall !!!

Warm greetings from Corazon Grande!

Siw

June 14th 2015

Hello dear Friends!

I hope you have a nice summer. Here it's winter and it's cold when the sun goes down. The girls are healthy and well.

They have again increased the medication to little Laura and we are very concerned for her. Please pray for her. We took her to a new doctor to get another medical opinion. He said that thee medication could be slightly reduced and that perhaps it is possible to find another medicine in the future that complements the many medications she takes. But he said that her problem is very complicated and that she would not survive an operation.

The nine youngest girls were given a short course in hand puppets by an acquaintance of mine. The first time they got to make hand puppets out of odd socks and saw the teacher's models of many different kinds of puppets. They were singing and playing as well and the teacher Carina immediately got a good contact with them. The second time they were told a tale and the girls chose personalities and created a new hand puppet inspired by them. The three smallest girls had their own theater piece. Then they started practicing and during the week they were learning the lines. The girls thought it was very funny. Then came the day when they would perform the theater pieces - the audience  were us ladies and the rest of the girls. The girls were a little nervous, but it was good enough and they got big applause. Carina showed a hand puppet that she herself created. She is with a professional in hand puppets (she makes hand puppets, plays and perform).

May 27 is Mother's Day celebrated in Bolivia. This day is much emphasized in Bolivia. The evening before I was watching as three of my girls danced in a "coliseum" in our home village Tiquipaya. Our girls are attending four different schools. It was the school "Simon Bolivar" which had borrowed coliseum for this purpose. Children are supposed to participate in the dance because it has an impact on the music and physical education grade. Perhaps it is three times as there are dances in school and one of them has a mandatory participation. Parents rent costumes on the market for that day. On Mother's Day father Angel grilled chicken for the ladies and girls and the ladies went to the schools to see the girls dancing.

I have to talk about something that is a difficult subject to talk about - our economy. As a private orphanage, we must follow all rules and laws that the state is imposing. One problem is the wages, they rise every year in May and retroactively from January. In December people get two extra salaries. Every five years, you get an extra salary. Everything is in favor of the employee and not the employer. They want to raise the standard of living in Bolivia.... But it is not that visible as all the products are also going up in price. And as you know, the euro has fallen by about 30% and USD as well. All this has affected our economy greatly (those who do not have their own employer might be in trouble.) You realize that we have had and have large expenses. We do not have enough sponsors. Let it be like ripples on the water! Perhaps you can tell your friend that we need more help? Let's do something so that Corazon Grande can continue to provide a better future for the girls who had such a bad beginning in life!

I am so happy that nine of the girls were able to learn sewing last year, and this year in February they got their certificate. They have now a technical training and something to rely on when they move out from us.

About a month ago we got a new girl, Paola 14 years who last week turned 15. She has had a  very difficult life and she has lived in another orphanage before. She seems happy and calm here. She says she is happy here and that she had been treated so well by the other girls.

June 23 is said to be the coldest night in the year and it is called the "San Juan". It's a tradition in Bolivia to eat hotdog that night.

My vacation starts on June 24. I hope to see you at Corazon Grande event in Loviisa July 29th !!!

I want to wish you all a good continuation of the summer! Enjoy every moment and get new energy!!!

Thank you so much for what you do for the girls at Corazon Grande !!!

Many dear greetings; Siw

 

16th of April 2015

Hello Dear Friends!

Autumn is here. The girls and the personnel at Corazon Grande send you many warm greetings! In Bolivia winter is beginning. It feels a bit cold during nights and mornings; it feels as if the cold has come earlier this year. Time to look for the woolen socks!

The first of February nine girls graduated from the sewing institute - from the Technical Institute Halley de Carol's. They have studied for one year, made a lot of clothes and learned how to use both ordinary sewing machines and industrial ones. The occasion was very solemn and festive. Three of the girls were models and showed outfits that they themselves had made. They were nervous but also had fun. Early on Sunday morning a friend of mine who is a hairdresser came and made the girls look lovely. It was a great day for them as well as for the institute which celebrated its silver wedding – the 25th anniversary.

The program began with fashion demonstration, and the graduating students arrived each in turn led by a sponsor or some other person. There were a lot of speeches and a farewell speech by a student, and the students handed over a large image with everyone's picture on to the institution as is customary. We had received a scholarship from the school board and paid a monthly fee, but it was much smaller than a regular fee. We received support from the Røldal school in Norway, the Winellska School in Kirkkonummi and Borgå Gymnasium. I think you will agree with me that it was money well spent! A lot of fabric and other materials were purchased during the course of the studies.

Now, the girls have received a technical education, something they can work with in the future if they want, and for sure it's good to have more practical skills in life. We want to prepare the girls for life outside Corazon Grande. Not everyone was so excited when the studies began, sometimes we simply had to force them, but we knew that it was in their best interests. And  when they saw that they could sew clothes it turned more fun. It has been a process for them and I'm very proud of the girls. I'm sure that all nine girls are proud that they have passed the course!
After the graduation we had a special lunch at Corazon Grande and the members of the Board, the pastor and his family from our church were invited. We had decorated the dining room in Casa Baste to this festive occasion. Pastor Fernando gave a fine speech to the girls. Everybody enjoyed the food and the cake!

On Monday, February 2nd the schools began again after a long summer break. Most of the girls were happy about starting school and seeing their classmates again. New this year is that there are four two-month periods. Perhaps the intention is that it's easier to keep track of the studies. We have girls in four different schools. It is "father Angel" who drives the girls back and forth to school. The girls get a lot of homework and often the bigger girls are doing their homework until late at night. There is much to say about education in Bolivia.

On April 12th Children's Day is celebrated in Bolivia. It fell on a Sunday, but we celebrated on Monday when the entire staff was there. Thanks to our three volunteers, we had a super party with a clown, candy and cake. The clown made both young and adults  play and smile a lot! We are also celebrating our anniversary on April 12th. We are nine years this year! Furthermore we celebrated four birthdays; Juanas, Veronicas, Celinas and Lidias. Lidia turned 15! In Bolivia, 15 an important age for the girls! Viqui had sewn a very nice dress on at the sewing institute to Lidia and she was so cute in it. She danced waltz with "father Angel" to honor the day! The evening before Lidia told me that Corazon Grande really is her home. Here she has gained understanding and love of all the "aunties", something she had never experienced in her home. Tears were pouring as she told this to me...

We hope that it will be a good school year. This year we have a student, it's Veronica. Jaqueline and Arminda are staying at the Salvation Army's dorm in the center of Cochabamba and they often come to visit us. Their studies go well. We have children who find it easy to learn and we have children with learning difficulties and dyslexia.

We have our little Laura who is so affectionate towards everyone. She has to take a lot of medications every day to avoid epileptic seizures. Sometimes her balance is not good and it is caused by the medicines. Laura's medication costs is approx 1300 Bs each month (approx 175 Euros).

We have some financial troubles. Wages have gone up, food has gone up... and the dollar and the euro's value have gone down significantly, about 30-35%. We are trying to save what we can... but yet it's a large amount to support 24 children and have a staff of ten people. Every person on the staff is needed because it's shift work and the Child Welfare has decided that we should have a social worker and psychologist. These last mentioned we have employed half-time. We have not been able to save to for a new car, unfortunately. When we received additional donations it has been used to support the Home.

I hope you all sponsors and friends have confidence in us and that you want to continue to support these girls to a better future, and I hope the support group will grow!

I hope you realize how important your help is and how valuable you are!!! Many thanks for your contribution!!!

I want to wish you all a very nice continuation of spring!!!
Siw Broman

 

A letter from Karen Winder, a volunteer at Corazon Grande in September 2014:

My visit to Corazon Grande, Tiquipaya

In September 2014 my husband and I left our four children at home with family and joined a team of 6 other New Zealanders and traveled to Bolivia to experience the culture and learn from the Bolivians we met. While we were there we arranged to visit Corazon Grande to assist by doing some painting and general maintenance in one of the homes that the girls live in.

Our initial impressions of Bolivia were amazing. We were greeted at the airport by some of the lovely girls from the home who threw petals over us and welcomed us with love and hugs. We took a couple of days to acclimatize ourselves to the altitude before starting on the work at the girls home. We spent those days visiting the local markets, walking the streets, visiting the Cristo and visiting the home and meeting all the girls and ladies who took care of them.

We then spent each of the week days out at the home from approx 8.30am till about 4pm. We painted all the walls in the 3 bedroom home, sanded the kitchen cupboards, put new door handles on, made doors and drawers fit properly and stained the kitchen. We also put fly screens on all the windows. We ate with and socialized with the girls each day as well.

I had been looking forward to visiting the orphanage as I love children and enjoy meeting new people. What I did not realise was how quickly I would grow to love the Bolivian nationals, all the beautiful girls with their amazingly big hearts, Siw and the other ladies who care for the girls both in the practical sense but also taking care of their emotional needs, the city of Cochabamba and all the amazing people who live there. I had the most amazing time where I learnt so much about complete acceptance and unconditional love. The girls just loved us and embraced us from the moment we arrived including us in their lives even though there was a language barrier. We had so much fun with them including everything from laughing at my English and dancing skills, showing us the Bolivian way of biting the birthday cake including pushing your face into it, having an enormous water fight, teasing each other over silly things and giving hugs whenever needed.

I was heartbroken when we left to leave the girls, to leave Siw (who became like a mum to me in such a short time together), to leave the beautiful country of Bolivia and their amazing people who were so friendly and kind. My time in Bolivia at Cochabamba just made me want to visit again soon. I found the culture and people so appealing. I have learned so much and had the opportunity to share what I learned and saw to groups on our return. I have spoken to a Spanish group at a High school and to a primary school class about my trip.

If anyone has the opportunity to visit Corazon Grande I would suggest it would be an amazing trip to make and this is an incredible home that has touched my heart and changed me for the good. Corazon Grande means BIG HEART and they do have a big heart which loved me but also they made my heart bigger for those that are less fortunate than myself but who have so much to teach us all. This is a great place to support and they are doing an amazing job of taking such good care of these girls and raising them to know God and to know that they are loved unconditionally and no matter how old they grow they will always be family and always have somewhere to come home to.
Karen Winder

 

 

svenska
suomeksi
english

About the home

Letters from Siw

BECOME A SPONSOR

 

Boliviafamily
Norway

Facebook

Corazon Grande / Det stora Hjärtat / Iso Sydän / The big Heart
© Corazon Grande Casa Basta Fanebust
webdesign & webmaster: Gunzi