Your donations go towards so much in helping the 160+ orphans at Salomon Klein. From food, clothing, medical and other needs, your donations are so greatly appreciated.
Just recently, a new drop ceiling and ceiling fans were being installed in the dining and recreation area. From the picture on the right, you could see the original ceiling. This will keep the room much, much cooler during the summer months, and as Mama Emma says (the director of the orphanage), "children deserve it and it will improve their self-esteem". :)
Thank you! Thank you!!!
-Bolivian law prohibits us from showing the children faces, so many are blurred or covered with hats.
Sus donaciones van hacia tanto en ayudar a los huérfanos de 160 + en Salomon Klein. De alimentos, ropa, medicina y otras necesidades, sus donaciones son apreciadas grandemente.
Recientemente, un nuevo techo de la gota y ventiladores de techo se instalan en el comedor y zona de recreo. De la imagen de la derecha, se podía ver el techo original. Esto mantendrá la habitación mucho, mucho más fresco durante los meses de verano y como mamá Emma dice (el director del orfanato), "los niños se lo merecen y mejorará su autoestima". :)
-Bolivia ley nos prohíbe que muestran a los niños caras, por lo que muchos están borrosos o cubiertos con sombreros.
#salomonklein #orphanage #bolivia #cochabamba
Thank you to everyone involved in helping me reunite with Salomon Klein Orphanage. For those who do not know me, my name is Marc Conrad; I was born in July, 1996 and adopted from Salomon Klein the following year around May-June 1997.
First of all, I’m amazed of the power of Facebook. Until recently, a life goal of mine was to make contact with Salomon Klein because for someone who is adopted, it’s natural to wonder about where you’re from. But it wasn’t until a routine Internet search this past October that I found “Friends of the Salomon Klein”. In the following weeks during December, I sent emails to Richard Elliot containing photos of my life to Friends of SK. Later on in early January this year, Richard and Melinda traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia and while there, they delivered a photo collage of me to SK. I am now able to say everyone at Salomon Klein has a part of me to cherish.
As I write this biography, I think of two groups of people; everyone back at Salomon Klein and my family. Since completing high school, my family and friends have significantly helped along the way; for which I am grateful. At the same time, I also ponder the many children back home that have nearly been forgotten but afforded a second chance at life.
As I saw in my adoption VHS tape recently, the reaction of my parents holding me is one I’ll never forget; I instantly saw their flood of love for me. In return, my eyes became clouded with tears of jubilation.
Life is challenging; however, as long as I am with the right people, I know I’ll do fine.
Experiencing Bolivian life, as well as volunteering in the orphanage, through the eyes of a foreigner can bring much perspective. Here is a summary from Jessica, who volunteered in 2015.
Perhaps it’s an American thing to be caught up on getting to where we need to go and not enjoying the journey toward the end result. Within days of being in Cochabamba, I noticed how Bolivia is incredibly different.
Here are five things I noticed in just a few short days of spending time in Bolivia:
1) In Bolivia, there’s genuine happiness that permeates throughout the community regardless of one's means. One of the first things I noticed from Salomon Klein orphanage within just minutes of interacting with the children there was just how HAPPY most of them were for having so very little. It was almost shocking. In the States, an incorrect coffee order at Starbucks could ruin one's day. At the orphanage, these children came from some of the most trying and heart wrenching circumstances but had smiles that beamed from ear to ear.
2) People stop and smell the roses, so to speak, in Bolivia. Lives are based around the journey and not the destination. Businesses (except for restaurants) are generally closed between the hours of 12:30pm-2:30pm, give or take. In some offices in the States, taking a lengthy lunch to regroup and relax is frowned upon as not working hard enough. This is not the case in Bolivia -- which is probably why people are so much more happy and relaxed.
3) Family is a huge deal in Bolivia and comes first. Some of my close friends, whom I consider family members, reside in Cochabamba and are so incredibly close. I believe that friends really are the family we choose. This is why I love the community at Salomon Klein so much: it really does feel like a family, as everyone has the best interests of the children at heart and these feelings echo throughout the entire community. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child and that could not be more true for Salomon Klein.
4) People are incredibly warm and receptive in Bolivia and genuinely want to get to know and spend time with you without ANY expectations. In fact, one of the volunteers I worked with whose family resides in Cochabamba opened up her family home for me to come visit and I am welcomed back any time.
5) People are truly engaged in Bolivia; the obsession over social media or checking one's cell phone does not exist as it does in the States. While in Bolivia, it was actually a challenge to locate WiFi at times, but I did not miss it whatsoever. It was such a breath of fresh breath of air to have conversations with other volunteers and workers at the orphanage about our journeys and the children without any sort of technology preoccupation.
The most important thing that I learned was that smiling costs nothing and being happy is a choice we all can make, no matter what roads we have traveled, how much is in our pockets or where we are going. I cannot wait to see what I will learn next upon my return.
On January 7th 2017 I became a mother, giving birth to our beautiful baby boy – Damian. While that day made me a mother, I have been “Mami Katy” since August 2010 to my babies at Salomon Klein. Becoming a mother to my own child has brought back memories and sentiments about my days at Salomon with a vengeance.
Memories of the beautiful children I referred to as my babies for 5 years (and still do today):Martin – who I watched grow up from a playful one year old who would mimic ever face I made to a mischievous six year old who knew he was my favorite and would purposely run in the other direction and turn around with a big grin like “come catch me!” every time I came to visit. Edson – whose disability never overshadowed his brilliance; always the oldest and most alert in the Sala, yet forced to crawl everywhere until I brought infant sized walkers back from the US and he took off with a newfound independence that only continued to grow. Gonzalo – who at one year old was the most chivalrous young man I ever met, constantly rescuing the girls in the Sala from the other boys who would bop them on the head with a toy and then proudly look back at me as if to say “see what I did!?” Adriana – whose smile captured my heart from day one, but was so fortunately adopted by a loving couple from Europe who continue to foster her relationship with another girl from Salomon adopted by another couple. How a whole bathroom full of 20 one-year olds sitting on plastic toilets would scream out “Mami Katy!” every time I arrived to help in the mornings….and then how they thought that every light-skinned light-haired foreign girl who came into Salomon Klein was called “Katy” and greatly confused all the other visitors.
Memories of the incredibly strong women who work there day in and day out. Emma – who has given her life to Salomon Klein as a fearless advocate for the children and surviving Salomon Klein’s split with Amanecer only to come out stronger on the other side. Sabina – who I worked alongside of for 14 months (but has worked at Salomon for over 15 years) and became like a Bolivian mother to me: coming in on her day off to wish me happy birthday, constantly telling me stories of things the kids would do when I wasn’t there, and who never complained about the nearly impossible task of trying to meet the developmental, emotional and physical needs of 20+ kids at a time - but instead always greeted them with smiles no matter how tired or overwhelmed she was. Lucha – who has the merciless job of constantly mopping and cleaning and may seem cold, but warms up to you one you show a willingness for hardwork and aren’t afraid to get your hands wet.
These people and my experience at Salomon had a profound impact on shaping who I am today and the type of mother I want to become. I had promised myself when I left in June 2015 that I would stay in touch and active in helping Salomon. Much to my chagrin, I have failed to maintain that promise as “life” got in the way. I hope this short article will be the start to redeeming that promise to myself. That you will read these brief anecdotes and realize the humanity behind the name of Salomon Klein and the lives that you will be impacting with a donation. When I return to Bolivia for a visit this June, I don’t know if Martin or Gonzalo or Edson will still be there, but I know the tireless women who constantly put these children first will be. And any donation you can make will help them in their nearly impossible feat of providing love, education, and stability to the lives of hundreds of children. I hope one day you are as fortunate as I was to get to visit and take part in the amazing work happening at Salomon every day.
#salomonklein #cochabamba #bolivia #orphanage #orphans #volunteer