Hope in the Chuma Mountains

May 3, 2016 • Bolivia
Bolivia agriculture and irrigation

Farmers in the Bolivian Altiplano receive a water irrigation system to help grow crops

Josafat Rodriguez is the acting teams and field communications coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse in Bolivia.

Walking through Bolivia’s mountains makes me realize how small I am and how great God is. Recently, the Samaritan’s Purse field project manager, Freddy, and I set off on a walk in the mountains to see a Samaritan’s Purse water irrigation project outside of the small, rural town of Chuma. This project allows beneficiaries to irrigate their lower-land crops via piping installed along steep mountain slopes.

It usually takes an hour to walk downhill to the project and two hours back up. The view is beautiful; mountains collide with each other, divided only by a stream. The breeze was perfect, and birds were singing to the Creator, making our journey quite pleasant despite the difficulties of walking along the narrow edge of the mountain.

Bolivia irrigation project

Mountains in Chuma

On our way down, Freddy pointed out to me the pipes used for the irrigation project. I was impressed to see these pipes located literally on the edge of the mountain, connecting for a total distance of nearly half a mile. It was incredible.

We eventually reached the point where project beneficiaries were working on trenching and laying more pipe. Samaritan’s Purse provides the supplies and training, and beneficiaries provide most of the labor. It was hard work under a hot sun.

The time for lunch came, and they invited us to eat with them there on the edge of the mountain. They removed food from their backpacks, including portions of corn, cheese, eggs, and peaches to make a wonderful and delicious communal meal.

Bolivia irrigation project

Freddy walking down to the project

I had a few moments to talk with two project beneficiaries, Juan and Felipe. We talked about their experience with this project, and I asked them what crops they’re planning to raise on these mountain slopes. They listed papaya, peaches, corn and avocados.

They pointed out the patches of land they’re planning to plant and cultivate. Their faces were hopeful as they described how this Samaritan’s Purse project will bring precious water to their new crops. They dream about seeing these lands filled with producing fields. They talk about how these harvests will help bring food and income to their families. Even though transporting the harvest from the fields in the mountains to the market in town is no easy task, they’re willing to do the hard work to bring help to their families.

Juan and Felipe also dream out loud that one day a small road will be built in order to transport their produce from field to market in the most effective way.

“We thank God and we thank Samaritan’s Purse for this life-giving water for our crops,” Juan said.