Barbara Baumgartner and Aaron Rabensteiner were two volunteers from Italy. They                          volunteered at To Give Hope from October 2008 through December 2008. Both were extremely                          helpful and amazing people. After leaving Quito, they traveled through South America. In                          February 2009, they were involved in a bus accident in Peru. Barbara was instantly                          killed. Aaron survived and is back in Italy with his family. These are some memories of                          Barbara, written by Ellen Spieker, our psychologist and good friend of Barbara and Aaron.

                         When Barbara and Aaron arrived at To Give Hope in October 2008, they carried with them                          the most important attributes of a volunteer - more than enough love, a lot of energy and                          passion, belief in the work and in every single child. They integrated into the project                          by actively participating on a daily basis for more than three months.
Barbara helped the preschool teacher, Lourdes, with her group of more than 30 kids between 2 and 5 years old. When Barbara came to TGH, she immediately captured the hearts of the children by showing her endless patience with them. It was amazing to see the motivation she could   stimulate in the children and the  unconditional love that she gave so naturally. For the children as well as for Lourdes, she was more than great help, she was a very important part of the team.

After a month at the project, Barbara and Aaron decided that they wanted to make pizza for all of the children in the project. However, they did not realize that their oven was broken, so they had to stay up for 8 hours waiting for the pizza to be done. But they both came to the project with smiles on their faces and excited to share their pizza with all of the children who had never had pizza.

When it came to helping with the workshops, meetings, and projects for the community, Barbara and Aaron always made themselves available. They were the first ones to assist and    offer a hand to the  teachers.

Even after they had left to explore and enjoy the adventure of traveling in the South of   Ecuador and Peru, the children often asked for them and remembered the moments they shared with the two of them. Barbara will stay in our memories as a person who came to help with the best intentions, and I am sure that the staff and the children will always have smiles of joy and thankful thoughts of Barbara.

Although a tragic accident took her away from  us, we are very blessed to have the  memory and joy in our minds that she brought to us. Barbara spread her natural beauty around our every day routine and made it a little more filled with smiles and hope.