Today we traveled 10 kilometers outside of town to a tent city called “Puerto Almacen” where more than 250 displaced families are literally living on the highway. These families have been forced from their homes by the water and the only high ground for miles around is on the raised bed of the highway. We distributed 21 filters today and plan to distribute another 50 there tomorrow. As you can see from the images the people and livestock simply have no place to go to escape the water. The cattle are dying along the roadway. Government trucks occasionally arrive to fill a single 500 gallon communal plastic tank. This is not nearly enough water for more than 1000 people for even one day. All day today the tank was bone dry. Even when it is full, the water is not safe to drink. The families who received filters from Agua Yaku promised to share the blessing with their neighbors, so that everyone in the camp will have all the clean safe water they need. Everyone was surprised to hear that they could simply dip the buckets into the flood waters, filter it into plastic bottles, and then drink it directly. After we demonstrated how easy it is to use the filters and ourselves drank the flood waters, the people tried it as well. With smiles on their faces several commented on how clear the water was and how sweet it tasted. One young boy said “it tastes like soda!” Well, that might be wishful thinking. We concluded the meeting with an Evangelical message from Gil Velasco, a local pastor who has been a great help in coordinating the project.
Tomorrow the four of us on the Agua Yaku team will divide into two groups. Marcos and I will join a Samaritan’s Purse trip on a river trip where we will be visiting five communities over two days, delivering food, medicine, and water filters. Paulo and David will stay behind in Trinidad to train volunteers and continue distributing filters in the tent camps on the perimeter of the city. So while I will be away from the computer and internet for a few days, please continue to pray for our work and for the people who so desperately need a helping hand in this time of crisis. I know the dead horse in the road is “gross” and maybe even inappropriate, but I wanted to show how desperate and real the situation is for these families. They have lost everything they own and they have no way of feeding their families or livestock. Already over 100,000 head of livestock have drowned or starved and another 400,000 are at risk. So please continue to donate and help us reach our goal to provide 1000 filters for the victims of the flooding in Bolivia. I wish I could give a filter to every single family we come across, but we just do not yet have the resources. Help us to continue being the “hands and feet” that show Christ’s love to these families.