I didn't know exactly what to expect when I signed up to join the Tiquipaya mission, but I imagined long days at the hospital and was mentally prepared for minimal "downtime." What a surprise it was when I found out the hospital was not open on weekends and there was a celebration planned on Saturday called Feria del Corazon, “Fair of the Heart.”
Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa, the Founding Director of Solidarity Bridge, began the celebration by welcoming the US missioners and the Bolivian team and explained that the purpose of our gathering was twofold - to acknowledge the contributions of a longtime Solidarity Bridge supporter, Isaac Goff, and to meet several patients who had received surgeries as a result of his generosity. Mr. and Mrs. Goff’s financial support has made possible 74 children’s heart surgeries. I was incredibly moved during the ceremony when Juan Lorenzo and Sarah Hinojosa read aloud the names of each of the 74 children who had cardiac surgery, and again when we heard from six of the families whose children are doing well now because of the intervention they received. The sincerity of their gratitude illustrated perfectly how this work makes a difference.
Juan Lorenzo gave us words to reflect upon as he closed the ceremony by reciting from the Talmud: “whoever saves a life it is considered as if he has saved the entire world.”