It’s been over 2 weeks since Team Patsida said our goodbyes to the rest of team Bolivia who are on projects in different cities in Bolivia. We got a flight from Cochabamba airport to Sucre on a Sunday morning where some of our host families were there to welcome us. We moved into what we would call home for the remaining 8 weeks and had to quickly adjust to the new environment.

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We kick started the first week in training with Pastor Eduardo. He taught us about HIV/Aids and some of the misconceptions people have about it here in Bolivia. We heard some very painful cases of individuals affected by it and their stories. Finally we received information surrounding sexual abuse.

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A brief summary of a long story! There’s a young girl who lives just outside of Sucre in a little town. She was promised work by a guy from Santa Cruz of which she was told she would be babysitting. Little did she know the man had different motives. For the next couple of years she was sexually exploited and sold to many men and as a result caught HIV. She is currently in hospital getting treatment, her community have disowned her and her family do not want to know her. The pastors family will be taking her in once she’s been discharged from the hospital and we as volunteers thought it would be nice to make her a few gifts upon arrival. Jeremiah 29:11 was the first things that came to my mind so we wrote it in Spanish! Stories like this makes the work we are doing here in Sucre that little bit more urgent. Running workshops surrounding HIV/ AIDS and sexual abuse is not easy but it is essential in a city like Sucre

With a few of my team members really emotional from the stories we heard and videos we watched it stirred up a passion to educate individuals about the ever increasing rates. We spent a few days planning our workshops for the month of August, and discovering people’s areas of strengths and expertise within our team.

Last week marked Bolivia Independence day which happened to fall on 6th August. There was a three day holiday for Bolivians between Wednesday to Friday, we capitalized on this opportunity and took no days off.

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Rather we used some of the games that the volunteers from the previous cycle had left and thought of new ideas. As a group we were able to form new games which were all with the aim of educating people about HIV/AIDS.

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I took on the trustee role of camera woman for the majority of the fayre and helped out with the sweets game, once I had got to grips with the Spanish way of asking “How many sweets are in here?”. It was an extremely hot day with team Patsida all searching for the nearest spot of shade. I had a Bolivian man come and ask me whether we provided hand sanitizers for individuals with HIV. This question made me realise how important our work here in Sucre is. With so many misconceptions surrounding the virus, it makes our jobs here so important.

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In Bolivia 8 out of 10 children are sexually abused, many of the perpertrators are family members or those known to them. Every Tuesday and Thursday for the past two weeks we have been going to Patsida’s partner project in Sucre called Mariposa. They work with females who have been sexually abused and provide accommodation for them and their children. They have recently started providing morning and afternoon classes for children aged 5-11 who are at risk of sexual abuse. Our role is to provide homework support for the children and assist the teachers with workshops. Next week we will be taking on the lead role by running workshops for these children all with the aim of educating them about sexual abuse and its prevention.

With lots of planning ahead of us and workshops to give, we have a busy few weeks ahead of us!

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p.s  Thank you to everyone checking up on me, I do get wifi quite frequently and I am doing great!

Love and blessings xox

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