Another Heroine in Cochabamba

bolivia[Province of Bolivia]  The hill of Coronilla in Cochabamba is a symbolic place for Bolivia. In 1812, a group of women resisted the Spanish troops during the war for independence.  In History they became the heroines of History.

Today, this central section of Cochabamba has become a refuge for persons who are homeless and youth who are drug addicted.  Most of them inhale “clefa”, a powerful glue used for shoes. Clefa is also called “flight” for its ability to provoke a state of euphoria followed by great fatigue, dizziness and visions.  Often this causes a loss of sensation and consciousness.

Sister Adelina Gurpegui Goicoechea was born 65 years ago in Berzibinzana, Navarre. She is a physical therapist and a nurse.  She worked in hospitals in Valencia, Pamplona and Teruel.  Her first mission outside of Spain was in health centers in Haiti where she worked for almost 10 years. She arrived in Bolivia in 1998 and has worked with the very poorest ever since.  She has also volunteered to help in the various natural disasters in Nicaragua and Haiti.

Among the numerous honors she has received are the Knight of Haiti award for her work in Cité Soleil, as well as diverse medals from the city and the prefecture of Cochabamba for her service to the sick and to persons who are handicapped.

Her collaborators and friends have affectionately re-baptized her as Sister Adrenaline because of her energy. Saint Sebastien Place is at the foot of Coronilla hill, the little mountain where the heroines of Chochabamba met with the royal army in 1812.

A large group of young people who are addicted to glue live here.  Most of them come from families that are broken and have lived a hell in their homes, the kind that forces one to the street.  Sister Adelina has become their savior.  Always at their side, she cares for their health and their needs, listens to their problems and visits them when they are in prison.  She fights against indifference and societal exclusion.  For those who are poor in Cochabamba, Sister Adeline has become the true heroine of the XXI Century.

Author: Programme Pueblo de Dios.

Tomado de Radio Televisión Española


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