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.
Bolivia: Mt. Bethel UMC Men in Quesimpuco
Our last Bolivian team of the year is in Quesimpuco this week. Each year, Mt. Bethel UMC takes an all men’s team to this remote area high in the Andes Mountains. John Moxley, a former team member, has received a few phone calls from the team and shared with friends and family what the team has been doing. In Quesimpuco, the only communication available is through a satellite phone or one phone at the town hall. There are no current pictures to accompany this post, but John has done a great job adding details from his personal experiences to explain what the team is experiencing.
Yesterday went better than expected: a long drive, an enjoyable picnic beside a lake with flamingos, and most importantly: no problems! No flats, mechanical issues or overly bad road conditions. Given what they just drove through, this is an accomplishment. They arrived at about 9:15 p.m., and it is, indeed, a tiring drive. The last several hours are very off road, plus being in a car for 11+ hours is just no fun. However, the team had enough energy to unpack and have a devotional. While Carey did the first devo, each team member will have a turn this week. Additionally, Carey set the team up with a daily scripture to read and focus on. Our team is covered up with God’s word, fellowship among themselves, and prayer from you. Great things are bound to happen!
New Campus Bridge Under Construction!
Many of you may remember the news of our suspension bridge (on SIFAT’s campus in Lineville, AL) collapsing this past July during our Learn & Serve Summer Experience. We continue to thank God for his protection of our participants and his provision for our organization after the event. We now have reason to celebrate — a new bridge is under way! A new suspension bridge is being built on our Galilee Campus. The bridge will span Mad Indian Creek connecting our campus once again. This bridge is not only functional, it will also serve as an example of a monumental bridge project SIFAT implemented in Quesimpuco, Bolivia in 2008.
STM Update: Articles from Auburn EWB Team
Auburn University’s Engineers Without Borders team traveled to Quesimpuco, Bolivia, with SIFAT in August as part of a five-year commitment to serve the people of this region. The most recent issue of Auburn Engineering, a magazine produced by the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, features a cover photo of some of the students with Benjo Paredes and an eight-page spread with photography by Jeff Etheridge and an article written by Jim Killian.