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.

As part of SIFAT’s five year development program for Quesimpuco and the Chaupirana Valley ,which includes the areas of education, missions, economic growth  and public health,  a pilot program for the elderly will be implemented. Quesimpuco Community Church is heading this project, the goal of which is to provide health care, food security and fellowship opportunities for our senior citizens. Alfio Cori, CENATEC’s Education Campus Manager, and Angel Roman, CLM (Covenant Life Ministries) Bolivian Missions Coordinator, have already begun using the hydroponic beds built by Auburn University’s Engineers Without Borders to grow fresh produce for the elderly. This method turns nonagricultural spaces into vegetable gardens near the village. We hope the elderly will adopt this new method to provide for themselves and sell surplus.  This method will also be used to raise food for guinea pigs to increase their protein intake. Dr. Ruth Mamani, SIFAT’s Public Health Project Manager, will provide healthcare for them. The church’s new oven and stove will help to provide a monthly fellowship experience with a meal and freshly baked bread.

Alfio Cori working on the hydroponic beds.

We need your prayers and support. Please pray for our elderly population to understand and embrace this initiative, that they may feel the Lord’s hand reaching out to them through all of us. We need to buy plates, cups, tableware, gas, flour, milk, medicines, seeds and plant nourishment. Your contributions are greatly appreciated; make sure you identify your donation as Quesimpuco Project. For more information contact Thank you and God bless!!!

Angel Roman planting vegetables for the elderly program.