Bolivia: April 2015 Quesimpuco Update

Ivan “Boo Lee” Roman, our Latin American Project Coordinator, will be sharing about SIFAT’s Quesimpuco projects each month. This is his first update, and we are excited to be able to share about the wonderful work our graduates are doing in this isolated community high in the Andes Mountains. SIFAT began working in Quesimpuco in the mid-90s. Many young professionals who lived in the SIFAT-sponsored boarding home and attended our high school moved away for higher education, but are returning to serve their own communities. More than 10,000 people live beyond Quesimpuco in the Chayanta Valley, accessible only by narrow foot trails carved into steep mountainsides. Quesimpuco is in the province of Chayanta in northern Potosi. One of the poorest and most remote areas in the Americas, the average annual income is $97.

Challenges for the Elderly in the Chaupirana Valley

Life in Quesimpuco and other villages in the Chaupirana Valley is not easy for anyone especially the elderly. With no markets or steady influx of goods from far away productive areas, our people there live on the verge of a tragedy should a prolonged rainy season or drought hit the area. Most of the elderly population live by themselves. The distance to their small plots bears a heavy load on their everyday struggle to survive. Facing a shortage of firewood, they walk great distances across rough terrain to collect a few sticks to cook the small yield their farms produce. With such insufficient nourishment, their health is poor and they are more than likely to skip a medical visit the few times doctors are available.

Dr. Mamani with one of our elderly, Brother Lucas.

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Learn & Serve: Meet the Spring Interns

This spring, we are privileged to have three Learn & Serve interns volunteering at SIFAT. They help plan and implement our programming with the many school, church, university and civic groups that visit SIFAT. Always willing to serve, our interns – Laurel, Lee and Mac – have become part of our SIFAT family. They will be sharing more in the next few weeks about some of their experiences while here, but first, we wanted to introduce them to you, and in their own words, explain how they came to participate in the L&S internship program. We are taking applications until May 1 for next year’s interns! If you’re interested, learn more on our website.

Meet Laurel

Laurel, a student at Mississippi State University, is taking a semester off before returning for her senior year. She attended Learn & Serve Summer Experience as a teenager and volunteered after graduating from high school.

My youth group came to SIFAT while I was in the 11th grade, and I worked on Flex Staff the summer I graduated high school. During my time on campus, I came to see how SIFAT operates and how it came to be this way. To me, it is such a beautiful concept. It is not necessarily a foreign concept, but the simplified vision of SIFAT (to share God’s love in practical ways) put words and a central idea to how I wanted to live. I want to not just say that I love my neighbor, but I actually want to act out my love. I legitimately want to show my neighbor, my brother, my sister, anyone I come in contact with that God loves them through my actions and lifestyle.

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Ecuador: Team Members Needed Now!

Mission team members are needed by April 10 for a special VBS team to Ecuador on June 27 – July 5, 2015. SIFAT teams usually work with our graduates in Ecuador to build facilities for the after-school programs sponsored by Compassion International. These programs give children from very poor families, who would otherwise be on the streets when not in school, a safe place to learn and grow. For this team only, we have been asked by two Methodist churches to help with a VBS-style camp for Compassion-sponsored and neighborhood children in two different communities.

Each high-energy camp will last three days and be led by Rev. Bill Etheridge of Aldersgate UMC in Huntsville, Ala. In Atucucho, where SIFAT teams built two daycare centers and a church, about 100-150 children are expected to participate at Agua de Vida UMC. The other camp will be for about 200 children and held outside Quito in Chaquibamba at a Methodist project called Puerta de Esperanza (Door of Hope).

Cost: $2050, including round-trip airfare. Leisure day activities include visiting the Middle of the World and having lunch at El Crater restaurant on the edge of an extinct volcano, as well as a day trip to zip-line in the Mindo cloud forest.

If interested, contact Peggy Walker, international team coordinator, right away at Please include a short bio and contact information.

Be part of a VBS-style camp for up to 350 children! Sign up before April 10 to be part of this special team!