Thousands cheer Walk2gether finale in Chile
June 7, 2011
CFCA President Bob Hentzen, fellow walkers and members of CFCA-Chile celebrated the end of Walk2gether with a presentation honoring Chilean culture and CFCA's work with families.
Bob Hentzen enters Pratt Stadium in Valparaíso, Chile.
About 3,000 sponsored children, elderly, family members and staff representing various CFCA communities cheered as Hentzen and the walkers arrived in Pratt Stadium in downtown Valparaíso after completing the final mile.
Hentzen pushed through a curtain of origami doves, symbolizing peace.
Sara Leiva, coordinator of CFCA-Chile, said it was an honor to host the end of the walk.
She thanked the staffers responsible for coordinating the complicated logistics since Walk2gether´s arrival in Tambo Quemado on the Bolivia-Chile border in late March.
Carlos Verdugo Serna, president of CFCA-Chile's board of directors, said the CFCA community is surrounded by a spirit of love.
"We hope [CFCA] grows," he said. "We hope the love grows."
Hentzen addressed the crowd by singing several songs and encouraging families to carry on the spirit of the walk.
"People ask me, 'Now what?'" he said, strumming a guitar. "I tell them, 'The adventure is just beginning, because the real walk is for you, for God's people.'"
The entertainment consisted of traditional Chilean songs and dances — some performed by sponsored persons — and an original poem composed by a mother of sponsored children.
Bob Hentzen greets members of the
crowd in Pratt Stadium.
After the performance, Hentzen and a group of sponsors, international staffers and family members inaugurated a new office space for the project. The previous building suffered serious structural damage in the 2010 earthquake.
Hentzen launched Walk2gether in Guatemala to show families living in poverty that they are not alone, and to shed light on the families’ challenges and the benefits of child sponsorship.
Hentzen will be featured on a Twitter chat starting at noon CST on June 20. Anyone interested in hearing from him may tweet their questions to @CFCA using the #cfcachat hashtag.
Since December 2009, Hentzen and a core team of walkers have logged nearly 8,000 miles in 12 Latin American countries where CFCA works with more than 180,000 families.
The CFCA program in Chile serves about 5,000 sponsored children, youths and elderly.