Bolivia and Oklahoma - Living Water
A New Focus in a 30 Year Partnership
Bolivia used to be considered one of the most underdeveloped countries, both economically and socially, in South America, indeed in all of Latin America. It has a comparatively high indigenous population who had always been held at the margins of any economic, political or social improvements. However, since 2006 there has been a slow but steady change. With the election of Evo Morales, of indigenous descent, ALL are now declared equals. Indigenous people, INCLUDING indigenous women, are now being hired in all public and private institutions. The change is positive, but still rather slow in the incredibly fast-paced world.
The Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church over 30 years ago entered into a covenant relationship with the Iglesia Evangélica Metodista en Bolivia (IEMB). Our task at the beginning was to send short-term mission teams (10 days on average) to help with much-needed medical care and financial and construction assistance for new church buildings or clinics. But the higher purpose of the IEMB was that they could share with us their faith and culture.
The Oklahoma Office of Volunteers in Mission (VIM) has been instrumental in keeping Oklahomans highly and effectively involved in the partnership longer than with most other mission sites. We expect to renew this covenant in 2019 as Bishop Nunn travels to Bolivia to demonstrate our continued commitment.
The Bolivia-Oklahoma Partnership Committee is very excited to announce a new mission focus within this covenant relationship – a focus on WATER.
Even in today’s modern world, too many in Bolivia still do not have access to adequate or safe drinking water. We are now partnering with Engineers in Action (EIA), an Oklahoma-run non-profit organization, which employs mostly Bolivian engineers to design and implement much needed water projects. The projects include bridges to facilitate access to water (or even better access to public transportation for jobs), drilling of potable water wells, laying pipelines to bring good water to homes or a central location in the village, laying of pipelines for agricultural irrigation, construction of eco-latrines or maybe new or improved sewage lines. All of these projects result in a healthier community, fewer infant deaths, less time spent procuring water for daily needs, etc. (To see an example of how different water use can be in Bolivia, see the gallery below.)
Oklahoma VIM is partnering with EIA to help provide volunteers (general help/non-engineers) to help with the implementation of these projects. We will be organizing short-term mission teams to travel to these remote villages to help bring water to the most marginalized of people.
For more information contact Susan Waite, Liaison, Bolivia-Oklahoma Partnership: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the narrative with the gallery below click an image and see the expanded view to get an explanation for the images.