Updates

2020 ANNUAL REPORT

2020 was a year of many challenges and the word unprecedented filled our news and filled our thoughts but the words of the Psalmist give us hope, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” Psalms 37:5-6 NLT. The Bolivian Water Project witnesses to the truth of these words.

Although the Pandemic made 2020, the 11th year of the Bolivian Water Project a very challenged year, we continued to witness God’s hope and vision for the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. With trust placed in God’s provision, He made it possible for the project to empower another village of 11 more families, help themselves have safe water and a renewed hope of a brighter tomorrow. Another village added to this family of 20 villages, and 277 families,the project has helped over these last 11 years.

What struck me the most was how these people lived out the truth in the Psalmist words, the faith, resilience and determination these people showed despite the challenges. It has been an encouragement and a blessing for me to witness what simple trust in our heavenly Father’s provision and love for us can mean. The challenges we have faced and continue to be challenged with here in North America are not to be made light of, but it has been even more challenging, I would suggest, for the people in Bolivia and the families we are trying to help through this project. The lack of a health system, infrastructure and their socioeconomic situation made the threat of the virus even more threatening and daunting. However, these same people, driven by their eagerness, creativity and ambition have been empowered to help themselves build a healthier and safer world for themselves showed their resilience and with God’s help were successful in achieving what they so wanted to achieve, a safe reliable water source for their families.

The project experienced a complete stop from March to June, when Bolivia was shut down to travel. Through this period, Gonzalo stayed in touch with the villages and what we witnessed was continued hope and enthusiasm the villagers had to build a better future and the pandemic only heightened their recognition that having a safe water system was critical. This is captured in comments from Gonzalo in early June,

“They are also digging new wells as this dry season is the best. Once in a while I talk to leaders, and they agree that from now on our water project will be more important. Many of them want sinks for washing hands at their villages. One leader told me the women could manufacture soaps, and also would like workshops on how to avoid the virus. They have many good ideas.”

And then when it was possible to travel again Gonzalo reported,

“I am busy again due to the eagerness of Vacas families. I’ve been in Misuk’ani as they want to make sinks. We bought cement, and Alcance Bolivia will teach how to make them. I’ve also been in Sach’a Sach’a talking mainly with Spring owners. Both villages want to know more about sanitary issues, and want to produce their own vegetables as the women are scared of buying in Punata where the COVID is worse.”

I hope you can hear the hope and the enthusiasm and desire these people have to help themselves. That is what is at the centre of this project’s success, God’s provision and the hope and enthusiasm of a people who wish to help themselves. You see here is where the Project’s “hand-up” builds on their ambition and resilience and helps them with their development as it enables them and empowers them and gives them hope that they can improve their standard of living and standard of health and well-being. This is a witness of God’s hope and vision for these peoples. So, despite the challenges, 2020 has been an extraordinary year, both unprecedented and remarkable.

What the project continues to do is help the villagers build themselves a safe well that includes a cement lined well, a cement lid, a hand pump, an elevated tank and a sink for their home. What we have discovered however, is that once they have this security of safe water, their passion for new opportunities grows exponentially. The project has empowered the villagers to look at expanding their potato crop, into a cash crop, we have seen a desire to learn more about proper hygiene and nutrition and more recently they have begun to grow their own vegetables beyond the long-standing crop of potatoes, even looking at the potential of using Greenhouses for growing vegetables.

Here is the summary of what the Bolivian Water Project achieved in 2020 prepared by Gonzalo along with a collage of pictures of the highlights of 2020.

This year has been atypical due to COVID. The pandemic impaired the normal development of the project. The quarantine in Bolivia spanned from March until May, and travelling was not allowed until July. Even so, we carried out the completion of safe water systems for 2 villages, Misuk’ani and San Isidro, and in the Village of Sach’a Sach’a the villagers where 4 families did an outstanding job building a 144,000-litre in-ground tank for storage of water from a natural spring, 7 families built 7 new wells and one of the seven built a 37,000-litre in-ground water storage for a natural spring. We are hopeful and God willing, the experience of building the in-ground storage will aid in helping other similar projects in the future.

  1. CEMENT RINGS: 105 cement rings were made in Sach’a Sach’a village.
  2. WELLS WITH LIDS: 7 wells were covered with lids at the same village.
  3. PLASTIC WATER TANKS: 23 water elevated tanks were installed in Misuk’ani and San Isidro villages.
  4. SINKS: 46 sinks were built at the same villages.
  5. WATER TANK: Two large cement water tanks, one with 144,000-liter capacity and a second with 37,000-liter capacity were built around natural springs, which let villagers have enough water for drinking, irrigating and raising fish.
  6. CLINICS: Total: 3 clinics:
    1. 1 on “How to make cement rings”.
    1. 1 on “How to make lids”, and
    1. 1 on “How to make sinks”..
  7. ORGANIZATIONS THAT PARTNERED WITH THE PROJECT: Alcance Bolivia, providing two facilitators: one for Sach’a Sach’a for overseeing the whole field activities, and another one for Misuk’ni and San Isidro for teaching and overseeing the sinks construction
The Financial Summary for 2020: TOTAL EXPENSES: $4,319 CAD

Description of Pictures:

  • Top Row Left to Right: Misuk’ani Village Clinic on building sinks; The finished sinks; A freshly dug well
  • Second row Left to Right: Preparing the outer and inner steel form; Waiting for the cement ring to cure.
  • Third Row Left to Right Rigging to lower cement rings; Wells lined with cement rings and the proud owners of these new wells; Existing pond for Spring Water.
  • Fourth Row Left to Right: Building forms to line new cement tank for capture of Spring water; Finished 144,000-litre tank filled with water; Villagers hilling their crop of potatoes.
  • Fifth Row: Linde Pate Group, the next group of 15 families from Sach’a Sach’a.

Although, challenging and requiring innovation, 2020 has in the end been another successful year for the project. We have added another village to our family of villages. We saw the project expand its scope with our participation in the building of a large 144,000-litre and a 37,000-litre in-ground cement lined tank that will be used to hold water from Natural Springs. The lessons learned here will no doubt help with other villages where they too have the benefit of a Natural Spring but lack a way of safely capturing and storing the runoff for future use. Once again, the Project has benefited from our ability to work together with several partners. This has allowed the project to leverage the combined resources to enhance the deliverables of the project. Again, this year Alcance Bolivia has assisted the project byproviding a facilitator for the clinic on sink building in Misuk’ani and with the well building in Sach’a Sach’a. We also had the help from another village when the village of Misuk’ani sent one of their own, Fabián Mamani, to Sach’a Sach’a to help with the build of their cement rings. We are so thankful for the outside assistance the project receives.

The Project has real hopes, God willing, for continued and fruitful results in 2021. We will continue to work with the villagers in Sach’a Sach’a to complete their well projects, building pumps, building sinks and purchasing small tanks for their homes. Another group, named Linde Pate, of 15 families from this village are beginning to organize for their own wells and we hope to be of assistance to them. We announced in January the prayer and hope of one day being able to have a vehicle for Gonzalo. A significant donation kicked this effort off. We give thanks to God and continue to look for His provision that we can fulfill this hope in 2021. The need for this vehicle has been highlighted during the pandemic. It is no longer safe for Gonzalo to use public transportation to travel to the villages. For his safety he has been using taxis and, sharing rides with Alcance Bolivia in their Jeep and personal transportation from friends. Earlier this year we were approached by the Punata Baptist Church that they could provide help to us with a team of nurses and doctors from their Church to conduct Medical Clinics and Church services, if we had a vehicle. A Jeep would enable the Project to reach out beyond our limited geography so we can help even more folks further afield. This was highlighted in December when Gonzalo was approached by a village named Quirusillani with 20 families, approximately 16-km from the Vacas villages, higher in elevation and tougher to get to.  This village relies on an unstable rustic small dyke made with stones and mud for storing the water that is sourced in the hills. The only limitation of being able to help is safe transportation. I see a day where we not only, line wells with cement, build tanks with cement but also build pipelines to deliver safe water from a distance to villagers in need of that kind of hand up. We are hopeful and continue to pray God will provide and help us expand our work in Bolivia.

We give the Triune God the Praise for another successful year and adding to previous years the Bolivian Water Project has now helped 20 villages, 277 families, help themselves build one water well at a time. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. All it takes is approximately $375 CAD from you and we can assist a family with a new well. Our prayer is that you will join us in this and make this an even more extraordinary year!

When God sets out to do something, He gets it done! The Bolivian Water Project is a testimony to that. In Psalm 92:4 we read “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands, I sing for joy.” It has been my distinct priviledge to have been a witness to the great work of this Project and to be able to sing for joy for the work God is doing in Bolivia. As 2020 draws to a close, I will be leaving the Project and handing the Administrator role over. I hope and pray that through one well at a time, one village at a time the bright light of God’s love will continue to shine in the hearts of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in Vacas Bolivia and continues to reveal to them the Triune God’s longing to be in relationship with them.

We ask for your continued financial support and your prayers. Please pray particularly for the health of and well-being of the families in Vacas; we pray that the villagers continue to be successful in development of their water systems and development of their micro agri-businesses; we pray for healing for those who have been inflicted by COVID; we particular pray for Gonzalo’s family as they mourn the loss of Maria’s, Gonzalo’s wife, dear sister. We also pray for the health and safety of Gonzalo and his family. Continue to pray for wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, we thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

Gonzalo Fiorilo, Project Coordinator, and Glen Sine, Administrator, The Bolivian Water Project.

OCTOBER 2020

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”
Psalms 92:4

We began 2020, the 11th year of the Bolivian Water Project with great anticipation that we would witness God’s hope and vision for the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. But 2020 has been an extraordinary year, hasn’t it? I use the word extraordinary with purpose, as the Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “very unusual or remarkable.” There is no doubt the pandemic has made this an unusual year, full of many different changes and challenges in our lives. I don’t believe any of us would have predicted the changes it has met for us even in January of this year. It will be a year that will be remembered for being unusual. The challenges we have faced here in North America are not to be made light of, for sure, but it has been even more challenging, I would suggest, for the people in Bolivia, those we are trying to help through this project. The lack of a health system and infrastructure made the threat of the virus even more threatening and their socioeconomic situation added to the risk. However, I also saw in these same people, the “remarkable”. It has been remarkable for me to watch from the sidelines the resilience of these people and how their eagerness, creativity and ambition has come to bear in helping themselves with developing safe water and a healthier and safer world for themselves. Gonzalo reported in July, “I am busy again due to the eagerness of Vacas families. I’ve been in Misuk’ani as they want to make sinks. We bought cement, and Alcance Bolivia will teach how to make them. I’ve also been in Sach’a Sach’a talking mainly with Spring owners. Both villages want to know more about sanitary issues, and want to produce their own vegetables as the women are scared of buying in Punata where the COVID is worse.” You see here is where the Project’s “hand-up” builds on their ambition and resilience and helps them with their development as it enables them and empowers them and gives them hope that they can improve their standard of living and standard of health and well-being. This is a witness of God’s hope and vision for these peoples. So, despite the challenges, 2020 has been an extraordinary year, both unusual and remarkable.

What the project continues to do is help the villagers build themselves a safe well that includes a cement lined well, a cement lid, a hand pump, an elevated tank and a sink for their home. What we have discovered however, is that once they have this security of safe water, their passion for new opportunities grows exponentially. The project has empowered the villagers to look at expanding their potato crop into a cash crop, we have seen a desire to learn more about proper hygiene and nutrition and more recently they have begun to grow their own vegetables beyond the long-standing crop of potatoes, even looking at the potential of using Greenhouses for growing vegetables.

With the help of your prayers and support financially the Bolivian Water Project’s has continued the work we started in 2019 with two villages, Misuk’ani and San Isidro and in 2020, the addition of a new village, Sach’a Sach’a. This has not been without challenges. On March 18, the Bolivian Government ordered restrictions, due to the COVID19 pandemic, on travel, put in place curfews starting at 5 pm, and limitations on getting groceries and doing personal business, such as banking. With the onset of the virus, the regulated restrictions and with due concern for Gonzalo’s safety and health, the project stalled until July. Throughout this period, Gonzalo stayed in touch with these villages and what we saw was this continued hope and enthusiasm the villagers had and their recognition that having a safe water system was even more important. This is captured in comments from Gonzalo in early June, “They are also digging new wells as this dry season is the best. Once in a while I talk to leaders, and they agree that from now on our water project will be more important. Many of them want sinks for washing hands at their villages. One leader told me the women could manufacture soaps, and also would like workshops on how to avoid the virus. They have many good ideas.”

In Misuk’ani and San Isadro, before the pandemic restrictions were in place, we helped them purchase 23 – 300 L tanks. However, the building of sinks, the last part of their water systems, did not get underway until September when the material for sinks for each family was purchased and a workshop on how to build the sinks was completed. The pictures below provide a visual of the sinks being built.

In the village Sach’a Sach’a, we have a total of eleven families, and their work started with planning meetings in January. In this village, there are four families who have natural springs on their land. They brought forward a proposal that instead of providing material for a well that the project support them in building a tank. This would store water collected during wet periods for use during dry periods. Their hope is that they might produce a second crop of potatoes, onions and flowers that they could sell in the Punata. The proposed tank size is 6 X 10 X 4-m high (3-m below ground, 1-m above) holding 60,000-litres of water. They have even suggested they might be able to raise fish in the tank. The Project has agreed that we can provide, as with wells, through a shared plan, the materials for these tanks. Through the lockdown these villagers have been preparing to build the tanks, and have been digging their new wells. This met they were ready for the next step as soon as the Project was able to provide the support and the materials to build the cement rings and the holding tank. The clinic and the provision of materials was provided in September and the pictures below provide a visual of that activity.

One of the blessings of this project has been the Project’s ability to work together with several partners. This has allowed the project to leverage the combined resources to enhance the deliverables of the project. Again, this year Alcance Bolivia has assisted the project byproviding a facilitator for the clinic on sink building in Misuk’ani and the village of Misuk’ani sent one of their own, Fabián Mamani, to Sach’a Sach’a to help with the build of their cement rings. We are so thankful for the outside assistance the project receives.

We announced in January the prayer and hope of one day being able to have a vehicle for Gonzalo. A significant donation kicked this effort off and already as we reached out to our network of friends, we have seen this seed begin to really germinate. This raise hopes that we will raise the necessary funds for the purchase of a suitable vehicle in 2020. We give thanks to God for showing us a way to fulfill this hope for the future. The need for this vehicle has been highlighted during the pandemic. It is no longer safe for Gonzalo to use public transportation to travel to the villages. For his safety he has been using taxis and, in some cases, he is able to get a ride with Alcance Bolivia in their Jeep. Earlier this year we were approached by the Punata Baptist Church that they could provide help to us with a team of nurses and doctors from their Church to conduct Medical Clinics and Church services, if we had a vehicle. We are hopeful and continue to pray God will provide and help us expand our work in Bolivia.

So, 2020 is making its way to be an extraordinary year for the project, both very unusual but also very remarkable. As is the case when we lean into Gods call on us and open ourselves up to His plan, great things happen and so already this 11th year of the Bolivian Water Project we have witnessed God’s hope and vision for the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas. With the work in 2020 added to previous years the Bolivian Water Project has now helped 20 villages, 277 families, help themselves build one water well at a time. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. All it takes is approximately $300 – $350 CAD from you and we can assist a family with a new well. Our prayer is that you will join us in this and make this an even more extraordinary year!

When God sets out to do something, He gets it done! The Bolivian Water Project is a testimony to that. In Psalm 92:4 we read “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” My hope is that you can join me in singing for joy for the work God is doing in Bolivia. I hope and pray that through one well at a time, one village at a time the bright light of God’s love shines in the hearts of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in Vacas Bolivia and reveals to them the Triune God’s longing to be in relationship with them.

We ask for your continued financial support and your prayers. Please pray particularly for the health of and well-being of the families in Vacas; we pray that the villagers continue to be successful in development of their micro agri-businesses; we pray for healing for those who have been inflicted by COVID; we pray for Gonzalo, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project and for his family, particularly his son and a son-in-law who have had or are fighting COVID. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

JANUARY 2020

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”
Psalms 92:4

As we enter a new decade and the 11th year of the Bolivian Water Project we continue to witness God’s hope and vision for the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. As so often the case, God’s plan is simple but perfect and in the case of the Bolivian Water Project it is indeed a simple plan, that has fundamentally changed these good peoples’ quality of life. The vision God gave Karl Uhrstrom, the projects founder, was simple, one well at a time, one village at a time. The Bolivian Water Project has now helped 19 villages, 266 families, help themselves build one water well at a time. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. The project’s success has created its own supply of new villages wanting to build their own story of success. All it takes is approximately $300 – $350 CAD from you and we can assist a family with a new well. The vision God gave Karl, has been and is being realized. Simple but very effective – one water well at a time. The project has been blessed with the required financial and prayer support and we thank you for that ongoing commitment. It is our plan and hope through your continued support of prayer and financial gifts we can build on Karl’s legacy.

What the project hopes to help the villagers do is build themselves a safe well that includes a cement lined well, a cement lid, a hand pump, an elevated tank and a sink for their home. What we have discovered however, is that once they have this security of safe water, their passion for new opportunities grows exponentially. The project has empowered the villagers to look at expanding their potato crop into a cash crop, we have seen a desire to learn more about proper hygiene and nutrition and more recently they have begun to grow their own vegetables beyond the long-standing crop of potatoes, even looking at the potential of using Greenhouses for growing vegetables.

Unfortunately, in 2019, Bolivia experienced a challenging time of Political unrest that interrupted our work in Vacas. Even so the project was able to help two villages, San Isidro and Misuk’ani. They completed the following:

  • 345 CEMENT RINGS were made at 2 villages – San Isidro, Misuk’ani,
  • 23 wells were covered with lids at same 2 villages,
  • 23 hand water pumps were built.

The project also coordinated and enabled 4 Clinics to happen in the villages. These included:

  • “How to control the Potato White Worm.” Instructor Gonzalo Fiorilo
  • “Hygiene for Kids.” Instructors: Miriam Uhrstrom and Team from Canada Baptist Missions.
  • “How to Build Water Pumps,” with Leaders. Instructors: Dale Harlan and Team
  • “How to Build Water Pumps,” with Families. Instructors: Dale Harlan and Team

Potatoes have the potential to be a cash crop and this has been a program we have been investing a few of our project dollars in over the past few years. 2019 saw the completion of the Potato Program. The lessons learned were applied in the village of T’iu K’asa where they saw an improvement in their annual harvest in 2019 from previous years. We thank Amigos de Bolivia, USA who provided funds for the purchase of 1000kg of certified potato seed. The result has been encouraging and there is hope that indeed the villagers can sustain a commercially viable agribusiness in potatoes. As the word has spread the request for additional help from the project has been requested from another two villages and we hope we help in 2020 with clinics.

The project also hosted 4 groups of foreign visitors in 2019. They included:

    • Warren McFaul, a friend of the project from Canada – He saw the wells being constructed in 4 villages in Vacas and visited 2 Churches.
    • Miriam Uhrstrom and Team from Canada Baptist Missions – They visited 3 villages and taught one clinic on Hygiene. They visited a Church on the outskirts of Cochabamba City and delivered Bibles.
    • Dale Harlan (SIM) along with 2 Engineering students from Cedarville University from the USA – They taught 2 clinics on water pumps.

One of the blessings of this project has been the Projects ability to work together with several partners. This has allowed the project to leverage the combined resources to enhance the deliverables of the project to have an even bigger impact. The project’s success has been a result of these partnerships. This year we are thankful for our partnerships with:

    • Alcance Bolivia provided one facilitator (Maria del Carmen Rodriguez) who provided oversight of field operations.
    • Victoria Avenue Baptist Church, Belleville Ontario and Canadian Baptist Missions sent a team of ladies led by Miriam Uhrstrom. They provided significant encouragement to all those they visited, ran a successful hygiene clinic for children and delivered Bibles.
    • Dale Harlan, SIM (Serving in Mission) provided invaluable help with the pump clinics and ongoing improvements to the pump design.
    • Cedarville University sent two Engineering students who assisted Dale Harlan with the pump clinics and provided other engineering support.
    • Several Friends in Cochabamba that donated toys for Vacas kids for Christmas season.
    • Support of many friends of the project providing the necessary financial and prayer support.

A significant development for the project has been the gift of a significant seed fund for a vehicle for Gonzalo. This fall God placed on the hearts of some friends that a vehicle would have a huge impact on enabling the project to expand out to villages that are right now inaccessible. This was an answer to prayer as God already had been prompting the project to consider how the project could reach out to villages that are currently our of reach. These villages need seems to be even greater than the need we have already seen. We are calling the project Tía, for Auntie, in memory of where the seed money came from, a generous gift from one of our friends of the project, sharing a part of her Auntie’s estate. Already as we reached out to our network of friends, we have seen this seed begin to really germinate raising hopes that we will raise the necessary for the purchase of a suitable vehicle in 2020. We give thanks to God for showing us a way to fulfill this hope for the future.

With the help of your prayers and support financially the Bolivian Water Project’s hope for 2020 operationally is to complete the wells in Misuk’ani by helping purchase 300 L tanks and material for sinks for each family, Gonzalo has reached out to the leaders of three new villages and from that the village of Sach’a Sach’a, with 24 families, are most ready and the project will begin to work with them to build their new wells right away in 2020. We hope to help some of our past villages with clinics on how to control the potato White Worm, as a legacy of the Potato Program. We also need to start to replace the cement ring molds that are now approaching 10 years old. They cost approximately $500 each and the project has a goal of replacing one in 2020 and a second in 2021.

When God sets out to do something, He gets it done! The Bolivian Water Project is a testimony to that. In Psalm 92:4 we read “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” My hope is that you can join me in singing for joy for the work God is doing in Bolivia. I hope and pray that through one well at a time, one village at a time the bright light of God’s love shines in the hearts of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people in Vacas Bolivia and reveals to them the Triune God’s longing to be in relationship with them.

We ask for your continued financial support and your prayers. Please pray particularly for the health of and well-being of the families in Vacas; we pray that the villagers continue to be successful in development of their micro agri-businesses; we pray for peace and cooperation amongst the political leaders of Bolivia; we pray for Gonzalo, our project leader, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project and for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

AUGUST 2019

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”
Psalms 92:4

As we pass the mid-point of the 10th year of the Bolivian Water Project’s we continue to witness God’s hope and plan for a better life for the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. The Bolivian Water Project is a simple God inspired plan, that has fundamentally changed these good peoples’ quality of life. The vision God gave Karl Uhrstrom, the projects founder, was simple, one well at a time, one village at a time and the Bolivian Water Project has now helped 17 villages, 243 families, help themselves build one water well at a time. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. The project’s success has created its own supply of new villages wanting to build their own story of success. All it takes is approximately $300 CAD from you and we can assist a family with a new well. We thank you for your faithfulness in providing the required financial and prayer support and because of that we have been able to continue to help. With your continued support we hope to help even more families one water well at a time.

Since last reporting in March the project has been busy with harvesting potatoes, hosting visitors and building wells.

Let us start with potatoes. Potatoes are a crop with the potential of becoming a cash crop for these families and a way to help them further the development of their communities. Because the project has helped them with the basic need of reliable safe water, they now are able to focus their attention to this development opportunity. With the help of partners, we have been able to make some small investments into this opportunity. These have included sponsorship of a study on how to mitigate the threat of the white worm and the purchase of certified potato seed. Earlier this year, with the help of Amigos de Bolivia, USA 1000-kg of certified potato seed was purchased, planted and treated for White Worm by the villagers of T’iu K’asa. This crop has been harvested and the harvest was a success. This crop will provide seed for this fall’s planting and with that the hope of an ongoing development of this potential agribusiness. The White worm was controlled, the main problem for producing quality potatoes. It was mitigated using a pesticide program coming out of the study the project sponsored. Gonzalo was key to helping the villagers with this program and he received help from Alcance Bolivia and a good friend and colleague of his, Germán Borda who specializes in agricultural pesticides. It is hoped this successful harvest can be repeated in T’iu K’asa and potentially applied in several other villages showing interest in applying this program during the next seeding season.

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In May the project was blessed with a visit from a team from Canada, led by Miriam Uhrstrom. Along with Miriam was Jennie Steenwyk, Heidi Bruins, Betty Morris and Anne Kooistra. Some of the highlights of the trip included a visit to Cañada Grande village Church Rain Harvesting Tank, A visit to Misuk’ani to conduct a very successful hygiene clinic with the children and mothers. The teaching was accompanied with new tooth brushes and toothpaste. They also brought along with them glasses that will enable the adults to see and most importantly be able to read their Bibles. They also visited the village of T’iu K’asa seeing their new wells under construction. They also visited the village of Sach’a Sach’a where María del Carmen from Alcance described a greenhouse project she is working with the village women on. They visited the Filadelfia Church where they delivered Bibles. We thank this group for their practical help, their prayers and their encouragement they graciously gave to all the villagers they met. We hope and pray they were equally blessed from the experience.

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The work on the wells in Misuk’ani and San Isidro has continued and the families took advantage of the dry season to deepen their wells and then lining them with the cement rings. In July Dale Harlan from SIM arrived along with two students from Cedarville University to conduct pump workshops and help the villagers build their own hand pumps. Dale not only brought along his expertise in water engineering and his compassion for these people, but he also brought along financial resources and new tools. Dale and the two students taught two workshops. The first was with four village leaders from Misukáni village with the hope they could become the teachers and be more self-reliant. The second was with 19 families (8 from Misuk’ani and 11 from San Isidro). The costs for the pump materials was split 50/50 between the project and the villagers.

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The picture to the below shows Dale along with Ariana and Anna, the visiting students enjoying the meal the villagers graciously provided.

Traditionally each year the project has built a new pump for one of the widows who cannot afford the shared cost. This year the two students built and installed a new pump for Paulina shown with the students with her new pump in the pictures below. The other pictures show Dale and the students receiving handmade gifts of a “Warak’a”, a Quecha sling or slingshot from Paulina.

The work on the wells in Misuk’an and San Isadro will continue this fall with the installation of their new pumps, building the lids for their wells, preparing the bases for their tanks and building their new sinks. The project also had the opportunity to re-engage with one of our original partners. Through Dale Harlon. Gonzalo and Dale met Allen Andrews, the new MAE (Misión Andina Evangélica) director, to discuss opportunities to work together in the future. MAE is an arm of SIM.

In Psalm 92:4 we read “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” My hope for is that you can join me in singing for joy for the work God is doing in Bolivia. I also hope and pray that through one well at a time, one village at a time the bright light of God’s love shines in the hearts of the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality and reveals to them God’s longing to be in relationship with them. We ask for your continued financial support and your prayers so that we can continue this good work in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Please pray particularly for the health of and well-being of the families in Vacas; we pray for Gonzalo, our project leader, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project and for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

JANUARY 2019

As we enter the 10th year of the Bolivian Water Project’s we continue to witness God’s hope and vision for the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. As so often the case, God’s plan is simple but perfect and in the case of the Bolivian Water Project it is indeed a simple plan, that has fundamentally changed these good peoples’ quality of life. The vision God gave Karl Uhrstrom, the projects founder, was simple, one well at a time, one village at a time. The Bolivian Water Project has now helped 17 villages, 243 families, help themselves build one water well at a time. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. The project’s success has created its own supply of new villages wanting to build their own story of success. All it takes is approximately $300 CAD from you and we can assist a family with a new well. The vision God gave Karl, has been and is being realized. Simple but very effective – one water well at a time. The project has been blessed with the required financial and prayer support and we thank you for that ongoing commitment. It is our plan and hope through your continued support of prayer and financial gifts we can build on Karl’s legacy.

In 2018 we began work with 2 new groups of families, Misuk’ani and San Isidro, adding another 23 families to the long list of folks we have helped have a safe water system. The system includes a cement lined well, a cement lid, a hand pump, an elevated tank and a sink for their home. They have worked hard through the dry period of April to November to get their wells dug and lined. We will work with them early in 2019 to complete their wells with a pump, tank and sink.

We are also pleased that we were able to help the Church of Cañada Grande build a rain harvester tank pictured below. This was a project that came as a result of monies collected in memory of our founder Karl Uhrstrom. Karl loved these systems and so it was thought this was an appropriate legacy to be left in his name. We see in the pictures the10,000 Liter tank on the left and the ongoing construction of the roof which will be used to harvest the rain to be stored in the tank. This will not only benefit the Church but the entire community of Cañada Grande.

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We also were able, with the help of funds donated in memory of Karl, purchase a new projector and along with a new computer, our friends from Cedarville University brought with them this summer we have now provided Gonzalo with the equipment to enhance the many training programs and clinics he conducts throughout the year. This year a total of 6 clinics were held on constructing Cement rings, on constructing well lids, 2 were help on use of Pesticides, 1 on Potato Diseases and 1 on Potato seeding.

Potatoes have the potential to be a cash crop and this has been a program we have been investing a few of our project dollars in over the past few years. This year with the help of Amigos de Bolivia, USA who provided funds for the purchase of 1000kg of certified potato seed. Partnering with villagers from T’iu K’asa, this seed has been planted with the hope this crop will lead to a sustainable potato business.

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This past summer the project, once again, enjoyed the visit of one professor and six students from Cedarville University, USA. They stayed one week at Vacas valley visiting 5 villages. Along with the Cedarville folks, Craig Oliver, a former professional long-term missionary at Vacas valley, joined the visit providing technical training and advise to the Cedarville team and the Project. The focus of this visit was to produce a training video and associated material, and testing and improving the water pumps. Another wonderful side benefit of the visit has been the opportunity to provide villagers with a new Quecha Bible. Dr. Harmon from Cedarville noticed the lack of Bibles when he visited the Churches. God placed on his heart to help change that and so he has. Bibles are being made available to the villages we have helped with wells. The Bibles being distributed are worth Bs 150 (~$29 CAD) and with an agreement with Sociedad Biblica, the Project gets the Bibles for Bs 94 ($18 CAD). The families split the cost with Dr. Harmon, who has graciously been making up that difference so that the Word of God gets distributed. What a wonderful blessing for these people to have access to God’s Word in their own language. These visits have become annual visits that provide a large input into the technical success of the project and most importantly a spiritual blessing upon the project. It is an encouragement I am sure for both the visitors and the people of Vacas, joining brothers and sisters in Christ across the miles. You can view a more detailed report on the visit by going here: cedarville engineering visit – 2018[12347]

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One of the blessings of this project has been the Projects ability to work together with several partners. This has allowed the project to leverage the combined resources to enhance the deliverables of the project and have an even bigger impact. We are thankful for our partnership with Alcance Bolivia, providing one facilitator for overseeing the water program tasks; our partnership with SIM (Serving in Mission), with Dale Harlan and Craig Oliver providing ongoing water engineering support; our partnership with Cedarville University (Engineering team), producing a video training material, and testing and improving the water pumps; and Amigos de Bolivia, USA, provided funds for certified potato seed.

With the help of your prayers and support financially the Bolivian Water Project’s hope for 2019 is to complete the water systems in the villages of Misuk’ani & San Isidro by helping the 23 families build well lids, sinks and pumps and purchase a 300 L elevated tank for each family. In addition, we would like to add another village in 2019, starting with two groups of families of approximately 20-24 with the hope of having all their wells built and approximately half of the families having the entire water system in place by end of year. We would complete the remaining families’ system in 2020. We also need to start to replace the cement ring molds that are now approaching 10 years old. They cost approximately $500 each with a goal of replacing one in 2019 and a second in 2020. We also look forward to the potential short-term mission from Victoria Avenue Baptist Church in Belleville Ont.

Christmas is indeed the greatest love story but it is also an amazing story of obedience to a vision from God. Mary and Joseph, in their obedience to God’s call were part of God’s greatest plan, His plan of salvation for humankind through His Son Jesus Christ. This reminded me that great things happen when we yield to God’s call on our hearts and as we move into our 10th year for the Water Project, my prayer is that great things may continue to happen through a call on your hearts to assist this project financially and prayerfully. My hope is through one well at a time, one village at a time a bright light of God’s love might shine in the hearts of the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality and reveal to them His desire to be in relationship with them.

We ask for your continued financial support and your prayers. Please pray particularly for the health of and well-being of the families in Vacas; we pray for a successful potato crop; we pray for Gonzalo, our project leader, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project and for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

OCTOBER 2018

As we enter the 4th quarter of the Bolivian Water Project’s 9th year we continue to witness God’s hope and vision for the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. As so often the case, God’s plan is simple and it is perfect and in the case of the Bolivian Water Project it is indeed a simple plan, that has fundamentally changed these good peoples’ quality of life. The vision God gave Karl Uhrstrom, the projects founder, was simple, one well at a time, one village at a time. The Bolivian Water Project has now helped 13 villages, 216 families, help themselves build one water well at a time and as we speak work has started with 30 new families in the 14th and 15th village. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. The project’s success speaks for itself as we continue to be sought after by even more villages for our assistance. All it takes is $300-350 from you and we can assist a family with a new well. The vision God gave Karl, has been and is being realized. Simple but very effective – one water well at a time. The project has been blessed with the required financial and prayer support and we thank you for that ongoing commitment. It is our plan and hope through your continued support of prayer and financial gifts we can build on Karl’s legacy.

Well Building in T’iu K’asa, our 13th village and third group in the Cañada Grande village was completed earlier this year. They are now discussing with us how they can develop a commercial potato growing operation. This would not have been possible without first improving their access to fresh water. As well we have als finished a Rain Harvesting Tank for the Church in that Village that we will highlight in this report.

We have since moved forward with well building with the first group of 10 families from the 14th village, named Misuk’ani. The pictures illustrate the conditions of their wells. The project will significantly improve these wells and provide a safe source of fresh water for these families.

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Over our summer they have started making the cement rings. One of the opportunities the project was excited about at the initial start of this village was the commitment the municipality made to provide the sand and gravel. Unfortunately, they were not able to meet that commitment when they had some trouble with their truck. The Villagers have since found a new source, however, that source is further away and will slow down their well building. It is encouraging to know however, that this setback has not dampened their enthusiasm and at this have resourced enough sand to start the second round of making the rings.

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This summer Gonzalo was approached by a group of 20 families from the village of Cañada Núcleo. This would be our 15th village. They do not have wells yet so they have to dig their wells before we can assist with the cement rings, pumps, etc. Over the summer Gonzalo has met with them to explain the ground rules as to what they can expect from the project and what is expected of them. Twenty (20) families have since signed up and already working hard at digging their wells and we are so pleased to report they are finding good water.

Another aspect of the water projects has been the building of Rain Harvest Systems for Churches and Schools. Earlier this year the Church in Cañada Grande Village approached us for assistance in building a rain harvest system for their Church. This would be a valuable asset not only for the Church but also the community. With some of the funds given in memory of Karl Uhrstrom, our founder, we agreed to participate. The project is finished and I enclose some pictures and many thanks for the generous contributions so that this legacy could be built in memory of Karl.

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The Potato program has taken another step closer to what we believe is leading to a sustainable commercial project of Potato Seed Producers. We are fortunate to have Gonzalo’s expertise as an agronomist with a specialty in potato production. With his help our confidence of making a success of this project even more likely. Prior to this year’s planting season, the good people of T’iu K’asa asked if we could help them with the purchase of certified seed leading them to having their own good seed next year. We are working with 21 families seeding 0.5 hectares with 16 bags of certificated seed. The project costs will once again be shared with the families who are committed to provide 30% of the total costs estimated at approximately $1000 USD plus their labour and their transportation of the seed from Cochabamba to Vacas. Through a good friend of Gonzalo, Remigio Ancalle, also an agronomist and a pastor of a Christian Church, a prior director of the Peace Corp in Bolivia, Diane Hibino, now coordinator of “Amigos de Bolivia”, has agreed to purchase the seed. We will be helping with fertilizers and build a small pilot potato storage. We are thankful for this partnership to enable this project to go forward.

The Clinics that are conducted are so critical to the project. The project has recently been blessed with a new lap top that our good friend Dr. Fred Harmon and his team from Cedarville University brought with them when they visited in July and with funds from the Bolivian Water Project a new projector. This will be extremely helpful to Gonzalo. Thank you for your generosity.

New Lap Top and Projector Aug 2018

Foreign visits: The Cedarville team led by Dr. Fred Harmon completed their visit in July along with Mr. Craig Oliver from SIM. Craig is a mechanical engineer and has helped in many areas of the project in the past. Cedarville Baptist University has been a valuable partner in the past and each year a team of students visit the project bringing their enthusiasm and energy, hopefully leaving with a valuable experience for their own future work, possibly in missions of their own. They spent a wonderful time in Vacas visiting: Rodeo, Misuk’ani, Cañadas, K’asa Puncu and Totora Mayu largely focusing on installing a new seal in older pumps as well as installing a new pump for a widow in Cañadas. In addition to helping the villagers with their wells as I mentioned earlier they brought a new lap-top for Gonzalo and they blessed the Churches they visited with new Quechua Bibles.

As we close out the 9th year of the project we have a lot to thankful for. We are thankful for the vision and legacy of our founder Karl Uhrstrom left for us and through generous donations of friends and family we have extended that legacy in his memory with a new Rain Harvest System for the Cañada Grande Village Church; The project was blessed another successful visit from our partners at Cedarville University. Led by Dr. Fred Harmon they brought us their time and expertise, their hard work, the gift of a new lap-top and delivery of new Quechua Bibles at the villages where we are working with wells; Blessed with new partners like the local municipalities, Remigio Ancalle, agronomist and pastor of a Christian Church, and Diane Hibino, coordinator of “Amigos de Bolivia”, along with old friends like Alcance Bolivia, Cedarville University and SIM; Blessed to see the start of Potato Seed Producers of Vacas; Blessed to have a new Lap Top and projector for improving the teaching program; and we are blessed to see the list of new villages growing that are showing interest and value in the benefits of the project. So much to be thankful for.

The need for assistance has not waned and the project’s success is being spread by word of mouth. The result is we have already had contact with at least another 3 villages asking for assistance. So we ask for your continued financial support and your prayers. Please pray particularly for the health of and well-being of the families in Vacas; for Gonzalo, our project leader, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project and for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

MAY 2018

Since we last reported, we were saddened to hear of our friend and founders passing in February. Karl Uhrstrom is now safe in the arms of Jesus, rejoicing in the many blessings that God bestowed on him and the amazing love that God showed Karl and so many others through Him. I remember meeting with Karl a few years back and listening to him speak with such passion about this water project in Bolivia. His compassion for the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia was tangible and he spoke so confident of his vision and his hope for these people. It was a simple plan, one well at a time that he believed would fundamentally change their quality of life. His vision was simple, one well at a time, one village at a time. He had immense confidence that this was God’s hope and vision as well for these people and he was determined to be God’s hands in making it happen. Well here we are almost 9 years later and The Bolivian Water Project has helped 13 villages, 216 families, help themselves build one water well at a time. How very important these wells have been for these families, particularly through the recent drought in Bolivia. The difference for these families to have safe water is life saving and life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past simply surviving and gives them hope of a better quality of life. The project’s success speaks for itself as we continue to be sought after by even more villages for our assistance. The vision God gave Karl has been and is being realized. Simple but very effective – one water well at a time. It is our plan and hope through your continued support of prayer and financial gifts we can build on Karl’s legacy.
The work has continued and the project thanks all of you who have made this possible as a result of your ongoing financial gifts and your prayers. During these first few months of 2018 we finished up the work in T’iu K’asa with the completion of their sinks. Our work at this Cañada Grande village, with 3 groups, has been wonderful. We still have connections of course and particular with their care of one of the demonstration potato plots we will highlight later. The relationship will be ongoing.

Young boy with his family sink

As we mentioned the project is sought after and we have made the decision to move to a village not very far from T’iu K’asa., the 14th village, named Misuk’ani. Gonzalo has since met with the villagers to organize this new water group and prepare the plans for building their wells. The well digging has commenced with the cooler and drier weather our spring, their fall has brought.

The Potato program which we previously reported on has certainly progressed with the harvesting of the demonstration plots underway.

Potatoes are a stable for these people and a potentially valuable cash crop as well. The goal is to study and develop strategies for controlling a plague named White worm. Five demonstration plots were planted in 5 different villages including Rodeo, Sapilica, Jatun Pampa, Sach’a Sach’a, and T’iu K’asa. These are all villages we have worked with in building new wells. Please visit the new page added to our website, The Potato Project, for more details and updates.

Potatoe field in full bloom.

The Clinics this year so far have been focused on the potato project and with the villagers of Misuk’ani as preparations and plans were laid for their well building. We look forward with to some additional clinics over the next quarter.

Foreign visits: The Cedarville team is coming again on July 21th along with Mr. Craig Oliver from SIM. Craig is a mechanical engineer and has helped in many areas of the project in the past. Cedarville Baptist University has been a valuable partner in the past and each year a team of students visit the project bringing their enthusiasm and energy, hopefully leaving with a valuable experience for their own future work, possibly in missions of their own. The project looks forward to the visit with the possibility of extra clinics, new innovations and enthusiastic help. We pray for safe travels for all and that those who visit are as blessed as I am sure the communities in Vacas will be from their visit.

We have begun 2018, the 9th year for the project, with lots of energy and hope that the project can continue to make a remarkable difference in the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia, one water well at a time. We are hopeful the we can significantly change the lives of people in Misuk’ani village and we hope the results from the potato project will positively influence the next planting season and result in a bumper crop of potatoes for all. But the project cannot accomplish this without your ongoing support. It takes approximately $300 – $350 from us to go along with the local resources and family labour to help a family have a well, pump, a sink and a small storage tank. We are also hoping that we have the resources to give the farmers a helping hand-up to purchase certified seed for their next potato crop. We ask for your continued prayers for the health of the families in Vacas, and for a successful potato crop. Please pray for our partners in Bolivia, Alcance. Pray for our visitors this summer from Cedarville and Mr. Craig Oliver that they may experience safe travels, good health. Please pray for Gonzalo, our project leader, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project. Pray for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

JANUARY 2018

We begin the 9th year of this project with hope and anticipation that we can continue to make a remarkable difference in the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia, one water well at a time. The difference of having safe water in each of these families is so significant. It is life changing. It gives families the opportunity to believe they can move past surviving, it gives them hope of a better quality of life. The project thanks all of you who have made this possible as a result of your ongoing financial gifts and your prayers.

The project ended 2017 with the completion of construction of the water wells in the village of Cañada Grande Village called T’iu K’asa with the purchase and installation of elevated water tanks. This puts us at 12 villages, 206 families helped with the construction of their family water systems.

In total the project completed the following in 2017 with your help:

Cement Well rings: 345 rings were constructed and installed in new wells. Wells with lids: 23 wells were covered with lids. Hand water pumps: 40 pumps were installed. Plastic water tanks: 40 elevated water tanks were installed at 40 houses. Sinks: 80 sinks were made and installed.

 Clinics: A total of Fifteen clinics were held in 2017. Seven clinics were held covering the construction of hand water pumps, cement rings, well lids, sinks, and how to build potato stores. Five clinics were held on Potato cultivation and understanding the mitigation of the white worm. Two clinics were held on nutrition and one clinic held on how to draw up proposals to get help from Alcance Bolivia, a local non-profit organization.

 Foreign visits: The project had three foreign visits including Dale Harlan, from SIM, USA, teaching clinics on Water pumps; Dr. Frederick Harmon, and four engineering students from Cedarville University, USA; Ellen Louise Thompson, nutritionist, came from USA for teaching the women of two villages clinics on Nutrition.

 The Potato program: In addition to completing the wells in 3 villages in 2017, 5 demonstration plots were installed in 5 different villages including Rodeo, Sapilica, Jatun Pampa, Sach’a Sach’a, and T’iu K’asa. Please visit the new page added to our website, The Potato Project, for more details and updates.

 As we start 2018 we want to recognize our partners. In Bolivia they include Alcance Bolivia, SIM (Serving in Mission), Cedarville University Engineering team, Vacas Municipality, and Viva Bolivia (a local Christian organization) and here in Canada Victoria Avenue Baptist Church, Belleville Ont.

We begin 2018, the 9th year for the project, with hope and anticipation that we can continue to make a remarkable difference in the Quechua-speaking indigenous people in the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia, one water well at a time. We hope to begin well construction in our 13th and  14th village very shortly. We look forward to the results of the potato demonstration plots in 2018 with anticipation it will help the families with improved potato crops as well beyond 2018. But the project cannot accomplish this without your ongoing support. It takes approximately $300 from us to go along with the local resources and family labour to help a family have a well, pump, a sink and a small storage tank. We ask for your continued prayers for the health of the families in Vacas, and for a successful potato crop. Please pray for Gonzalo, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project. Pray for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

AUGUST 2017

I was reminded recently of the story of a child walking the beach, throwing starfish back into the ocean as the tide was receding. As they walked they were approached by an adult who said, “Don’t you realize there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You can’t possibly make a difference.” The child listened politely to the elder and then reached down and picked another starfish up from the beach and threw it back into the surf. Smiling at the individual, they simply said, “well I made a difference to that one.” The Bolivian Water Project was started on that same principle, and instead of starfish it is one water well at a time. It was Karl Uhrstrom, the founder of this project who in 2009, like the child in the story, returned from the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia with the determination that he, with the help of others, could improve the quality of life for one village of the Quechua-speaking indigenous people by helping them improve their water wells. Almost 8 years later that one simple act in faith has seen 12 villages, 195 families helped one water well at a time. Through the generous support of many folks and several excellent partnerships the lives of many have been profoundly changed with a more sustainable and safe water supply. Imagine, with a secured well there is no more taking drinking water from a dirty, open hole resulting in a lot fewer problems of chronic diarrhea particularly children. If you are one of those starfish throwers, thank you for making a difference. I hope the results that we report will encourage you to continue your generosity. If you have not been part but would like to be we thank you in advance for your help.

We continued our focus on the village of Cañada Grande. The first two groups, Cañada, and Quewina, have successfully completed their wells, pumps and sinks. The focus this period has been primarily on the third group in Cañada Grande Village called T’iu K’asa. There are 21 families in this group. They have all completed their wells, participated in a pump workshop and will next begin making their sinks and adding water storage.

The project once again has had the great support of Dale Harlan from SIM. Dale is an engineer and an expert in water and sanitation solutions for developing regions around the world and a key partner. On his recent visit, one of his focuses on this trip was on improvements to the plastic pump design and on the training provided to the villagers. Some attendees have never before even picked up a metal file or hacksaw, and others were pretty skilled. 16 man-hours of cutting, bending, shaping, filing, perforating and gluing are needed to complete each pump. It took two full, very busy days for everyone to finish.

Dale Harlan leading Pump Workshop in K’asa Village

Once again, the project was blessed with a visit of students and faculty from Cedarville University. This has become an annual event. With great enthusiasm, they worked along-side the villagers building sinks and pumps. Ellen Thompson, a nutritionist, also joined them this trip to work with the women in several villages in Vacas, teaching and cooking.

T’iu K’asa Villagers and Cedarville Students beside a completed well.
Ellen Thompson (centre) improving nutrition, one village at a time.

Gonzalo has also been busy giving workshops to Alcance’s personnel, and several villages about apiculture and how to control diseases in their potato crops. Potatoes are both a stable part of Quechua-speaking indigenous people’s diet but also important as a cash crop to help with these family’s economic well-being. Unfortunately, in recent years a pest known as “white worm” has been spreading in a worrisome way with a detrimental impact on the potato crop. Apiculture is one of Gonzalo’s expertise and he has been generously sharing his expertise. In partnership with the local NGO Alcance Bolivia they have developed a research project with the objective of better understanding mechanisms to control this pest. The project includes not only test plots but also workshops with local farmers to teach them these improved mechanisms for pest control. Although this is not a direct part of the Bolivian Water Project, it is a welcome unintended consequence of working along-side the Quechua-speaking people who long for better lives.

Treating Potatoes in Sach’a Sach’a Village
Treating Potatoes in Lobo Rancho Village

As you can see the project has continued to be busy and productive in this second and third quarter of 2017. However, with success has come many requests for help from other groups of people looking to work with us to improve their access to safe water. Of course, we would like to help and that help is only limited by the available financial resources the project has. So, we ask those who have been faithful in their financial contributions, please continue and those that are considering, please make a donation so these hard-working people can have safe water. Every dollar you contribute goes towards the building of these wells. We all know how important safe water is and it takes approximately $300 from us to go along with the local resources and family labour to help a family have a well, pump, a sink and a small storage tank. Please continue to pray for the families in Vacas, for relief from the drought, and for a successful potato crop. We give thanks for the successful trips and contribution made to the project by Dale Harlan and the team from Cedarville University. Please pray for Gonzalo, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project. Pray for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

APRIL 2017

One of the hallmarks of this project has been the partnerships that the project has been able to leverage into more people receiving a hand up and better project deliverables. In this report, we want to highlight a couple of those and of course provide an update on the project’s progress.

The villagers have been amazing partners throughout the project. Their cooperation, their individual investment and their ambitious work ethic are key critical success factors. They have also shared with the project their own innovations that have improved the project outcomes. Water storage is a critical element of the entire water system. To date the project has been purchasing plastic tanks to fill this need.

New Innovation – 920 litre Tank made from 2 Cement Rings

Recently a group of villagers from Quewina, the second group in Cañada Grande Village, came up with the idea of using the same cement form used for the well rings to make a tank.The picture on the left shows the completed tank. The tank will hold an estimated 920 liters and will be strategically placed on higher ground above the villager’s homes and use gravity to move the water to the homes from the tank. To protect the water from contamination they place a lid similar to the lids built for the wells on top.

The second partnership I want to highlight is a developing relationship with the Vacas Municipality. We first mentioned this possibility in the last update. This is in the early stages, but is looking promising. The third group in Cañada Grande Village called T’iu K’asa, had made a request to their municipality for assistance. This led to a request by the municipality for the project to meet the Council of Vacas Municipality. Gonzalo was afforded the opportunity to provide some of the details on how the project is run, some of the technical information and the results. The Municipality has agreed to consider some kind of collaboration between the Municipality and our project that might see them providing resources such as financial, people and equipment and the project providing technical assistance and project management. Please pray that God will continue to open this door as it certainly has the potential to expand the project’s reach beyond what we alone could accomplish.

Gonzalo, with the help Alcance Bolivia, held the first clinic of 2017 on February 8 and 9 with Quewiña, the second group in Cañada Grande Village. The clinic provides instruction and material to the families to make a hand pump out of PVC pipe and small pieces of rubber and then support to install the new pump in their wells. Alcance Bolivia, another great partner in Bolivia, were great help providing the assistance of three technicians, Filomón, Moisés and Roly and transportation of people, tools and equipment needed for the clinic. As you can see from the pictures everyone gets involved, men and women.

We continue our focus on Cañada Grande Village, working with three groups. The first group, K’asa Punka, have made the last of their sinks. The second group, Quewina, we reported above have had their pump clinic and are installing the water pumps and starting to make their sinks. The third group in Cañada Grande Village called T’iu K’asa, just started to work on their wells at the end of 2016 are continuing to build their wells with excellent progress made on the cement rings for the wells. There are 21 families in this group. Gonzalo has also been busy giving workshops to Alcance’s personnel, and several villages about apiculture and how to control diseases in their potato crops.

As you can see the project has been both busy and productive in this first quarter of 2017. However, with success has come many requests for help from other groups of people looking to work with us to improve their access to safe water. Of course, we would like to help and that help is only limited by the available financial resources the project has. So, we ask those who have been faithful in their financial contributions, please continue and those that are considering, please make a donation so these hard-working people can have safe water. Every dollar you contribute goes towards the building of these wells. We all know how important safe water is and it takes approximately $260 to help a family have a well, pump, a sink and a small storage tank. Please continue to pray for the families in Vacas, for relief from the drought, and for a successful potato crop. Please pray for Gonzalo, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project. Pray for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

February 2017

Since our last report in December, the project has started working with a third group of people called T’iu K’asa in the village of Cañada Grande village. With this group the project has helped a total of 12 villages and 195 families, since the kickoff of the project in the fall of 2009. What a blessing this has been for the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas in Bolivia. God has truly blessed and answered our founder Karl Uhrstrom’s prayers. His original vision and hope of finding a small simple way to help 1 village to have safe water has blossomed from 1 to 12 villages and in addition has provided rain harvest systems for schools and churches and provided clinics on well construction, personal hygiene, and potato cultivation. Thank you to all of you who continue to support this project with your prayers and financial donations.

2016-annual-report-summary

2016 was a busy year as can be seen with the table on the right. The ongoing work in 2016 along with work from previous years has proven to be invaluable. Bolivia has been experiencing an historic drought it has been devastating for many but the families who have been part of this project have had relief with access to water from their wells. They have expressed their thanks for the blessing the project’s help has been to them in the provision of safe water for their families, livestock and potato crops.

tiu-kasa-_-taking-oath-2

The project is now helping a third group in Cañada Grande Village called T’iu K’asa. The picture on the left is the group making their oath of commitment at the start of the project in December. There are 21 families in this group and they are an ambitious group with great progress already on building the cement rings for their wells. Another development with the start of this group that is a testament to the success of the project, is this group of families asked for help from the municipality of Vacas and they have agreed to provide sand and gravel using a dump truck.

cement-rings-for-tiu-kasa-school-well

We have also agreed to provide some help with building wells for the Church and School in Cañada Grande Village. You can see the cement rings they have already built in January for the school in the picture on the right. This School has a student and staff population of 100.

Gonzalo is also gearing up for the first clinic in 2017 on February 8 and 9 with Quewiña, the second group in Cañada Grande Village. During the clinic, the families will be instructed on how to make a hand pump out of PVC pipe and small pieces of rubber and then have the chance to make their own pump for their well. Gonzalo will have the assistance of technicians from Alcance Bolivia, one of our important partners in Bolivia.

As you can see already the project has been off to a fast pace in 2017. However, with success has come many requests for help from other groups of people looking to work with us to improve their access to safe water. Of course, we would like to help and that help is only limited by the available financial resources the project has. So, we ask those who have been faithful in their financial contributions, please continue and those that are just considering please consider to make a donation so these hard-working people can have safe water. Every dollar you contribute goes towards the building of these wells. We all know how important safe water is and it takes approximately $260 to help a family have a well, pump, a sink and a small storage tank. Please continue to pray for the families in Vacas, for relief from the drought, and for a successful potato crop. Please pray for Gonzalo, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions and the ongoing energy needed to manage the project. Pray for his family who he is often away from. On behalf of the Quechua-speaking Indigenous People of Vacas, I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support.

November 2016

May we begin by saying thank you for your continued support. This project, founded by Karl Uhrstrom, continues to bless and empower the Quechua-speaking Indigenous people, of the Cochabamba municipality of Vacas to have hope for a higher quality of life for their families. Since October 2009, it has helped over 11 villages and 183 families to have access to safe water. The result has been improved health for their children, improved overall community hygiene, improved husbandry for their domestic animals and irrigation possibilities for food production.

irrigated-alfalfa-field-canada-grande
Irrigated Alfalfa field.

One of the unique features of this project is the partnership that is formed to build these wells between the Bolivian Water Project and the families. We provide support in the form of educating the villages on how to make the cement rings, sinks, and pumps along with workshops on hygiene and better agriculture practices. We provide the cement molds, tools to make the pumps and approximately $260 per well for materials. The families provide an additional $110 for materials plus all of the “sweat equity”. Not insignificant when you consider it can take an estimated 160 hours of the families’ own labour to complete a well, including, digging the well, build and install the cement rings, build and install a cap, build and install a pump, build a sink and install a storage tank. The collaboration is simply miraculous.

The drought in the high Bolivian Andes has continued and the result has been for this area is that a lot of the traditional sources of water like lagoons and natural Springs have dried up.

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Dry lagoon near Quewiña

The wells that the project has enabled these people to build have become, in many cases, their only source of water.

The project’s success is many more groups stepping forward to seek our help. To quote Gonzalo, our partner in Bolivia, “Please I ask you to understand the despair of families due to drought that is being too severe at high land zones of Bolivia. The Government cannot help these small villages like us. We are the only NGO helping with water in Vacas. Even World Vision is withdrawing from Vacas.”

Gonzalo is currently working with 3 groups, the village of Juntutuyo, and two groups from the village of Cañada Grande Village, Cañadas and Quewiña. We are at the final stage in Juntutuyo with the building of sinks and installation of storage tanks.  The 24 families in Canada are waiting for the sink mold and then they can complete their final phase towards the end of the year. In our last report, we mentioned that 17 families from the Quewiña group were eagerly waiting to start working on stabilizing their wells with cement rings this fall. We are pleased to report that they are well on their way. A workshop was held September 20 showing them how to make the rings and since then they have been working hard with hopes of finishing that work early in the New Year.

 We continue to be amazed at how industrious, innovative and community minded these people are, a key component to the project’s success. An example is the problem they have had with the combination of the drought and the soft sandy soils. The wells have been collapsing while they dig them. It is ironic that the original purpose of the cement rings was to protect the wells from damage due to collapse in the rainy season with too much surface water. Now with the drought they face the same stability problems but due to lack of moisture. The soft sandy soil these wells are dug in has little stability so they have had to come up with a solution to digging these wells in order to get the cement rings in place to do their job of stabilizing the wells. The Quewiña group working alongside their neighbours have taken the lessons learned from Cañadas and are having success as a result and progress has been good.

 Another part of the project’s success is the tireless work of our partner in Bolivia, Gonzalo Fiorilo. His commitment and compassion for the Quechua people in Vacas is nothing less than amazing. Please pray for Gonzalo, that he may continue to have good health, wisdom to make the difficult decisions for the project and the ongoing energy needed to manage this project. Pray for his family who he is often away from.

This project would not be possible without the generous support of you. We thank you on behalf of the Quechua people in Vacas, Bolivia. The need is great and we would ask for your continued financial and prayer support. Think about this, this project started in 2009 with a request from a small group of people representing 2 villages and has grown to 11 villages and 183 families with relatively small resources, a miracle. Please consider how we can continue this miracle. For every donation of $260 we can help another family have safe water. Like Jesus’ miracle of the loaves and fishes, with each small gift we can help many more. Blessings, Glen Sine, glensine53@gmail.com

August 27, 2016

We live in a world of uncertainty and change. Fortunately, we have a loving, understanding and powerful God who provides us with strength and wisdom during challenging times. My physical challenges have come to a point where it is now quite difficult to carry out many of my commitments. In this regard I would like to share with you an important change on the Canadian side of the BOL-CAN project. God has provided a very capable replacement for me in Glen Sine. Glen, who recently retired from being a Development Manager for Shell, is not only passionately interested in what we do in the Vacas valley, but he also comes to the project with significant project and engineering management skills to help the project continue to provide support to the Quechua people in the high Bolivian Andes. You can see why I am looking forward to stepping back and letting Glen take over.

This summer (winter in Bolivia) Gonzalo has been busy coordinating the work of very helpful missionaries (from the USA), local volunteers and the indigenous people of the village of Cañadas in constructing cement rings and lids for their water wells. On the August 20/21 weekend he was involved in setting up tables and equipment in a tent before teaching 35 participants, teachers and visitors how to make water pumps.

Whereas some countries have been getting much more rain than they would like to, the high areas of the Bolivian Andes have experienced the opposite. Normally the months between November and April is the time when the rain comes. However, this year not enough, resulting in widespread drought. Those who have cement-ring water wells in Vacas are most grateful for the water they have in their wells.

17 families from the Quewiña village are now eagerly waiting to start working on stabilizing their wells with cement blocks later this fall.

Thank God that many of the children of Vacas are no longer dying due to water contamination and are able to live happier and healthier lives. And thank you for your financial and prayerful support for this project. It is very much appreciated!

If you would like to support this worthwhile and exciting project, please make out your cheque to VABC and mail it to Victoria Avenue Baptist Church, 34 Victoria Avenue, Belleville, Ontario K8N 1Z4, Ontario
Thanks to our generous sponsors. Karl Uhrstrom

September 15, 2015

This summer warm and sunny weather has blessed us here in southern Ontario. Bolivia, which is 6 months before (or behind) us is now approaching spring after a winter that in May dumped snow and cold weather on the Vacas area – and caused Gonzalo to get a severe cold. Fortunately his cold and the snow are gone and the indigenous people of the high Andes are now busy planting potatoes and vegetables. In the past the white worm has played havoc with many of their potato crops. Gonzalo, who is a former potato expert, held two clinics in July and one in September on how to treat the potato seed with pesticides before seeding.

In Juntutuyo, its 18 families will soon also begin making the 200 lb cement rings to stabilize their wells. Juntutuyo is the 9th village we are working with in this regard. Most of those who already have cement-walled wells have made or are now making sinks, a wash basin they keep outdoors for their hands and an indoor sink for washing their dishes. To make their sinks we provide a mold and the cement while they supply the sand, the water, the taps and the labour. Filomon, Gonzalo’s assistant, teaches them and overseas this project.

Another area we are involved in is to provide rain harvesting systems to the local churches. To that end the Challwa Mayu Church recently completed a 10,000 liter cement water tank, thanks to your generous donations.

Gonzalo and I are quite pleased with how donations are coming in, how more and more villages are interested in getting our help and for the assistance we are getting from local volunteers and American missionaries. Our biggest challenge, however, is the difference between the US and the Canadian dollars. In Bolivia Canadian dollars are not recognized. You can use either US dollars or Bolivianos. This means that when Gonzalo needs money I have to send US dollars to him. Five weeks ago I sent US $2,976.00. That cost Cdn. $4,000.00 from which the bank took Cdn, $25.00. The rest was the currency difference. When the US dollars arrived in Bolivia, Gonzalo’s bank took US$60.58 for their fee. In other words, our $4,000.00 ended up with US $2,915.42 for the Bolivian Water Project.

We have so much to be thankful for, don’t we? I am truly grateful for your interest in keeping this project going and the fact that the request from a small group of people representing 2 villages in Vacas back in 2009 has changed the lives of hundreds of these people and made them aware of the importance of water not only for growing their food but above all for their personal hygiene.
Thanks to our generous sponsors. Karl Uhrstrom