Sister in the Spotlight

Anti-Trafficking bus wrap

Sr. Tere, Family Sew Clothes for Newborns

by Tere Auad, OP

Ten years ago, I returned to my native Bolivia. My sister, cousins, and nieces wanted to start a project that would help others. It is customary in Bolivia to knit or do some sewing as a hobby. One can see on the streets of Cochabamba venders knitting something for themselves or to sell.

I got the idea that the pregnant women who work at the market are at times caught off guard and have to go immediately to the public hospital to deliver a baby. When the baby comes, neither she nor the hospital have what is needed to receive a newborn. For this reason, we decided to make layettes. We gather monthly for tea, enjoy pastries, and learn what is happening in each family. After tea, we assemble the layettes.

My cousin Celia knits the booties; Fanny, the hats; Delma sews the cotton diapers; my sister, the blankets; niece, Paula, the flannel diapers; and Nikole makes the mittens. I purchase the T-shirts, and Tatiana makes the labels that read, “God bless this baby who receives this gift, created with much love, by the Good Samaritans.”

The COVID pandemic changed things. We stopped layette deliveries to the local hospitals and donated instead to Sisters who work with the poor. They know who is pregnant and in need of a package. Every month, a dozen layettes are ready for distribution. Sometimes the Sisters pick up the layettes or send someone to get them. Thus, we avoid possible contact with spreading the COVID virus.

Needless to say, the Sisters are grateful for the help as are those who receive layettes. The Sisters send us pictures of the babies in their new outfits.

A group of Brazilian Sisters in Tolata, outside Cochabamba, have a group of Quechua women called “Mother’s Club” to teach them reading and writing. The doctor stands with women who received the layettes (pictured at left).
A group of Maryknoll volunteers run a technical school for the handicap in Tacopaya (outside Cochabamba), a very poor and dry place. Here, the infant mortality and death of mothers has happened too often because the parents themselves deliver their babies. Now parents are encouraged to use the hospital, and they are giving away the layettes as incentives for when the mother delivers at the hospital. Pictured here is one of the healthy newborns at the hospital.
Territorio Indigena y Parque Nacional Isidoro Secure (TIPNIS) is in the Bolivian Amazon jungle where there are two Sisters from Brazil and one from Italy working with the people. The Mother’s Club women and their children enjoy their new wardrobe (pictured at left).

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