June 2022: Rebuilding in Bolivia
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.
Written by Tom Corson, Executive Director
In our Easter letter, we shared the sad news of a terrible flash flood that destroyed the school in the isolated village of Huiri Lanza in mountains of Bolivia. The parents of the children in this village are working hard to make adobe bricks to rebuild a two-room school for the children. In Bolivia, the government will send a teacher if the community constructs a school building. This village had a teacher that was respected and loved by the village. On the day of this disaster, he sent the children home when he saw the rainstorm approaching. He was straightening the classroom and getting ready to go home himself, when without warning, there was a flash flood in the mountain above them, which sent a huge amount of water cascading down onto the school and surrounding community. It completely washed away the school building, taking the teacher, too. The villagers spent days searching for the body of their teacher, but he was never found, as this village is in a very steep part of the Andes Mountains.
Medical Team Supplies Help Dr. Ruth Noemi
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to that month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.
Written by SIFAT co-founder Sarah Corson
An urgent call came to Benjo from Dr. Ruth Noemi Mamani in Quesimpuco, Bolivia. Because this is an isolated area, we had hope that the coronavirus would not reach this place, which Tom still calls “the end of the world.” But, a group of youth from Quesimpuco had gone to Chile and Argentina to find work. As the outbreak started, they rushed to get home, crossing the border illegally. They made it home, but brought the virus with them. Dr. Ruth Noemi did not have gloves, masks or protective gear for the health workers helping her.
Quesimpuco: A Renewed Motivation in Bolivia
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail articles with our contribution statements. You can download a copy of the article to share with your church or civic organization.
March 2020, Written by SIFAT Co-founder Sarah Corson
Benjo Paredes and Ken Corson started CENATEC, a Christian nonprofit, more than 42 years ago. He has led the way to take the Gospel to thousands of Bolivians, taught seminars, helped 85 villages get clean water and helped thousands of people have more food to eat. But, the years have taken their toll.
Benjo is 80 years old now. His son Isaac had taken Benjo’s place as director of CENATEC, because Benjo was getting older and had back trouble. Some days, he could hardly walk. Dimmed eyesight. Joints swollen with arthritis. His whole body was just worn out from more than 40 years traveling a 500-mile circuit over the rugged Andes Mountains. He had given most of his life to help his people. He could do no more.
Bolivia: Mt. Bethel UMC Team Checks In!
The Mt. Bethel UMC mission team is currently in Quesimpuco, Bolivia. Each year, a group of men from Marietta, Ga., look forward to spending time together serving the people in this remote Andean village and sharing during devotions. SIFAT’s executive director Tom Corson, administrator Terry Haynes and board member Art Stephenson joined this team. Bert Blanchard, a former team leader, could not go this year, but he has been sending out daily updates he receives from the team to family and former team members. Bert’s updates include photos, descriptions and stories from previous years that will help you understand the landscape and culture of the area. For more information on SIFAT’s work in Quesimpuco, download our latest update here.
The team left Atlanta on Friday, October 23, to begin the long journey to Quesimpuco. We have combined Bert’s updates from Saturday through Monday into this first post. Tomorrow, we’ll post the next couple days of updates.
Saturday, October 24
The team made it safely to La Paz after a long overnight flight. Everyone and everything made it through customs, and the group ate breakfast before starting the long road trip. They were able to send the photo below.
Today’s devotion: Our Image is His Image
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26
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.