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. 

SIFAT teams have been helping the people of Quesimpuco for almost two decades. Within this beautiful landscape, daily life is a struggle with harsh obstacles. But, the people are improving their lives with education and opportunity! We are seeing a generation of young adults returning to serve their own people.

Saturday Update

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.

This bridge, in Quesimpuco, Bolivia, is the inspiration for the new suspension bridge on SIFAT’s Lineville, Alabama campus.

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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.

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Bolivia: Video from AU EWB Team

The Auburn University Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter served in Bolivia August 2-12 as part of a long-term commitment to Quesimpuco. Since this is the EWB team’s third trip, the AU Office of Communication & Marketing (OCM) sent a media team to capture video and photos of the service learning experience in which these college students, faculty and alumni participate. The EWB team works throughout the year to design simple technologies that can be used in this remote village in the Andes. While in Quesimpuco, team members work with the community to teach the concept of the technology and discuss different ways it can be implemented with the available resources.

You can read more about what the team did and see photos from their trip by clicking here. Watch the video AU OCM produced of the partnership among SIFAT, EWB and the people of Quesimpuco below!

To learn more about our international projects and trips, click here.

Bolivar Sanga, our engineer overseeing the Quesimpuco bridge project, arrived in Bolivia this morning. He will be working with communities in the Quesimpuco area to get preliminary work on the bridge site ready for the first team coming in May. A road to the site must be cut, so materials can get to the site.

SIFAT and Auburn UMC are partnering to build a bridge in Quesimpuco to connect two mountains during the rainy season. For more information on the bridge project, download the January Journal.

Bridges to Prosperity, a nonprofit organization specializing in footbridges, is teaching us the technology to build our bridge. By empowering the community and making them part of the process, more bridges can be built throughout Bolivia.

An update on the bridge project will be in the March Journal, which is being sent to press tomorrow.

Please continue to pray for Bolivar and Benjo as they work with the people of the Quesimpuco area and bring them together to build a much-needed bridge for this area.