High water season on the San Martín River in Bella Vista, 2014.
The missionaries I stayed with last year in Bella Vista dodged the worst of the damage, but the disaster has had rippling effects. One Bolivian told me that as much as a third of the country’s rice harvest was destroyed with last year’s floods. The nuns in charge of the boarding house in Bella Vista that supports 25 children have struggled with unavailable food staples and increased prices.
To make matters worse, about a month ago the missionaries told me that a power surge from the city’s shaky electric grid had destroyed the large freezer they use in the boarding house’s kitchen. With inconsistent food supplies in the muggy tropics, this equipment is crucial for storing the meat and perishables that feed the 25 growing children that the missionaries support.
This means the $1409.69 that friends, family, and strangers gave me to support the missionaries’ work came at a fortunate time.
Last week, one of the missionaries in Bella Vista was able to make the two-hour trip over muddy roads to the neighboring town of Magdalena, where she received the first installment of the donations by wire.
About $600 in donation money will be used to buy a new freezer, which will allow the missionaries to continue feeding the 25 orphans and children unable to attend school in their hometowns. It’s a small item that will make a big difference in quality of life for a group of kids who deserve the best.
Heavy rains are likely here to stay though. The recent spate of Bolivian floods was triggered by an unexpected shift in Atlantic trade winds. One Brazilian scientist says the floods could be a preview of the impacts of future climate change.
I’m hoping to continue to support my friends in Bella Vista as they deal with the challenges of a warming world. If you want to get involved in building economic security and climate resilience in eastern Bolivia, give me a shout.
Flying over Amazonia in Bolivia. Areas of thick forest like this are less and less common. In neighboring Peru, the rainforest became a net carbon dioxide emitter rather than carbon sink for the first time in 2012, as deforestation released tree-trapped CO2 into the atmosphere.
I’m raising money to send to missionaries in Bolivia who provide free medical care and house children so that they can go to school. To donate and receive some prints of my awesome Bella Vista photos as a token of thanks, click here.
This year, I spent a month in Bella Vista, Bolivia with the Missionaries of the Holy Sacrament and Virgin Mary, teaching English and chess to children. The missionaries run a medical clinic, preschool and boarding house for about 25 students, aged four to 16, who attend school in Bella Vista. Each of the programs makes a big difference in the lives of people in this rural, agricultural region of Bolivia, and they do so with meager resources. I’m raising funds to send them so they can make some much-needed purchases to improve the quality of life for the people they serve.
The clinic offers its services free of charge, and even houses patients who have come from other towns. The preschool helps low-income families prepare their children for school and allows mothers extra free time to earn an income for their family. And the boarding house, in addition to giving children from rural communities a chance to go to school, has also provided refuge for children at risk of domestic violence or indentured child labor.
Your donation will be used by the missionaries in one of the following ways:
Unfortunately, there is no registered 501c3 in the US supporting the missionaries’ work. I will gather the funds and then wire them to Bella Vista. The missionaries will compile a report of how the money is spent, which will then be sent to donors. Thank you so much for your support!