In August, 2013 BuildaBridge was invited by Mario Morales of International Ministries of American Baptist Churches to assist him in sustainable development training at the House of Hope in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  In his work with House of Hope, a worship center, guest house and networking/training place, he has worked for nearly 15 years to develop the capacity of local Bolivian organizations to meet the needs of those living in poverty.  His goal is to improve the lives of local communities by identifying leaders, equip them with tools for community development, and guide them toward sustainability.  In this training, Morales presented practical skill-building in hydroponics, COB building techniques, and solar energy.  While actively participating in the workshops and contributing arts-based integration, BuildaBridge also provided training in the Healing Place: Trauma in Children, Creative Safe Spaces, and Program Development.  In addition, the team provided creative art experiences for children.

The team included BuildaBridge Staff along with Mario, Carmen and Richard Flores, their daughter Liezbeth who translated, and their daughters Camilla and Valentina, and Beatrice who is Carmen's half-sister.
Our team was comprised of three Eastern University Graduate Community Arts students (Gina Vallenciano, Callie Dean and Suet Ferng Tan--distance from Singapore), a BuildaBridge Trainer (Greta Tom); and, a creative art therapist (Celeste Wade), along with Drs. Corbitt and Nix-Early.  The service trip also served as a required course for Community Arts students in the M. A. in Urban Studies Program at Eastern University, Cultures in Community Contexts.

Callie Dean Describes the overall experience.

Team on top of Mount Tunari. Front: Mario Morales (L) and Richard Flores (R). Second Row: Gina Valenciano, Callie Dean, Vivian Nix-Early, Celeste Wade

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