Agua Yaku just completed a great well drilling trip with a team from Brazos Pointe Fellowship in Lake Jackson, Texas. We floated down the Rio Ichilo from Puerto Villaroel to the Yuracare boarding school in the community of Nueva Capernaum. You can see a photo gallery of our trip by clicking on the above title or at: http://www.pbase.com/beamsclan/bpf_2009. The school is located about a four hour boat ride from the nearest road. Sixty kids (1st through 8th grade) and six teachers study and live at the school during the school year. How would you like to send your 1st grader off to boarding school for nine months a year? It is hard on these parents and children as well, but this is one of the few options to these families who live difficult lives hunting, fishing, and selling timber along these inaccessible rivers. If the parents dream of a better life for their children, they need an education so they can find work outside of the traditional subsistence lifestyle. The kids come from a mix of Yuracare, Yuqui, and Trinitario communities where they speak distinct indigenous languages in the home. They learn Spanish at school and also learn about Bolivia and the world outside of their isolated river communities.
The kids and teachers are responsible for carrying out all the daily chores; which includes carrying water, collecting firewood, cooking on a wood fire, washing clothes, sweeping, etc. Every morning they have to carry water up from the river to drink and to cook with and in the evening they bathe and wash their own clothes in the river. The government provides basic food supplies for the children, but it is not enough. The teachers still have to look for food donations from NGOs and they even hunt and fish to bring meat into their diets. Until now they have been drinking dirty untreated water from the river. Along with help from the community, our team drilled a well 160 feet deep in search of clean water. When we left we were still not able to get much water out of the well, but if the water flow does not improve over the next couple of weeks we will go back and drill another well, placing the filter in a different aquifer. If we cannot get a good well in this area, we will help them construct a rainwater capture system and then filter the water for drinking.
While we are certainly concerned with the physical well being of these kids, we are even more concerned about their spiritual development. The children are in classes from 8:30 to 12:30 Monday through Friday. The remainder of their time is taken up with daily chores, homework, soccer, and free time. Because they do not have electricity, the kids finish up dinner by six in the evening and are in their bunks going to sleep by seven (since we are near the equator it gets dark around 6:00 PM year round). This is a government school, so the teachers do not train the students in moral or spiritual disciplines. It would be so great if we could find a national missionary couple who could live near the school and lead Bible studies, teach music, provide recreational activities, and be a Christian light for these kids so far away from home. Please be praying for this great need.