Sunday, 10 August 2008

My first pair of Sunglasses!

Conservation Areas

At the end of July I was off in the campo again and thought I would take
this opportunity to write about that trip while sat in the hammock in our
garden, listening to the men in the workshop across the road from us welding
something together.

The point of this trip was to go and work with our team in Ckara Ckara, and
collect data on different areas of conservation that FH has been working on
in the past and at present. There are two types of conservation areas.
Praderas (grasslands) and Bosque (woods, though for us in the UK it is more
low growing shrubs than tall trees). So why are we wanting to protect them.
Well life in the areas where we work is very hard. The land is not very
fertile and so it is easy to damage it. Because of this there is not much
food around for the livestock to eat and the praderas get easily overgrazed,
so FH has been working with the communities to fencing off areas to help the
praderas recover and then make a management plan for these areas as to how
many animals can be put on them at a given time of year, thus helping to
sustain the areas.

With the Bosques there are not that many around, with some of the species
being quite rare and the people using the wood for cooking. The aim for
these is to reforest parts as well as prevent and or reduce the cutting of
wood from these areas so to slow down the rate of their removal, and
realising they need wood to cook.

Conserving these two areas also help in reducing erosion and thus protecting
the soil and helping to keep nutrients there as well. FH is also doing other
work to reduce erosion like working with the people to build terraces, to
retain the soil when the rains come and provide better areas to plant crops
in rather than on very steep slopes. They are also working with the
communities to put in channels that collect the rain helping it to soak into
the ground and prevent it from running straight off the hills taking the
soil with it.

On the whole these seem to work well but there is always the constant
challenge helping the comunities see the benefit of these areas and changing
there mind set so they mantain the fences and manage how many livestock they
put in them.

We were in this area for two days and travelled around a lot to get to the
different areas and then walked a lot. Using the GPS to collect data for the
permeter of the area, collecting information of the different types of
vegetation that is present and drawing a map for the different zones of
vegetation so in the office I could make a map of the area to be put with
the report for how to help manage the area.

This is the highest area where we are working 3500m or more above sea level
so the air is thin with not much oxygen around. This made walking up some of
the hills a challenge but one which I enjoyed. For one of them it was only a
200m asent but it was enough to make my heart and lungs work hard and need
plenty of stops. But from the top of the hill the view was worth it as we
walked around the permeter of a pradera.

This is an area called Canchas Blancas where FH is working. I was standing on a hill 4177 metres above sea level.

It was also very cold and windy up there as it is winter here at present and we passed through a number of frozen or thrawing rivers, one of which I fell into and had a cold wet leg for the rest of the morning.

A herd of Llamas we passed on our way into the campo, with bright colourd wool on their ears!! Not sure why, may be to show ownership of the Llamas

Moulding Chronicle

July 2008
Letter No. 5

Dear Friends,
Another two months have passed since our last letter and we continue on our
roller coaster ride of emotions as we have faced new struggles, but praise
God there have also been new joys.

Since last writing Sarah has had more opportunities with getting involved
with the Child Development Program (CDP) which she has really enjoyed doing.
It has been mainly paper shuffling so far but has given her the opportunity
to meet with other FH staff and have something else to focus upon.

The pregnancy crisis training course has come to an end. It ended up being
rather disappointing as by the end we felt far from being equipped for what
we thought we would be, however it has not been a wasted experience, Sarah
knows more now than when she started so we wait to see what opportunities
God opens up through that.

Ed to has been given more responsibilities in his work and is gaining
confidence in his travels out to the campo to collect data and see new

At the end of last month we were fearing more violence and unrest with the
election of a new prefect (local government minister), however, praise God,
things passed relatively peacefully and there were no come backs after
results were announced. The results did however signify the loss of another
department for the president.

We also praise God for the forming of friendships. We have mentioned in
previous letters of friendships with other missionaries, however, now we are
starting to see some Bolivian friendships form, which include a work
colleague of Ed's and his family, another family who come to an English
speaking Bible study on Sunday evenings and a family who run one of the
small shops just up from where we live, whose daughter has just had a baby.

So join us in giving thanks for these different things, and for all your
love and support of us.

Family trip to Tomoyo

After half a dozen re-arrangements in true Bolivian style, we finally got to
visit the region of Tomoyo as a family.

This was an important trip to make in order for us to see a different side
of Bolivian life and to glimpse at the harsh reality of what life is like
for the Majority of Bolivian people living outside of the cities. As well
as to see first hand the positive influences that FH has had on the lives of
so many individual families. The irrigation project for example, a video
about which many of you saw whilst we were still in the UK-Water is life,
has improved the lives of over 500 families.

Through visiting this area we could begin to understand how Ed's role in
making maps helps in the following through of such projects. For more
information and pics take a look at our blog.

Praise God For:
* A positive and safe trip to Tomoyo
* More opportunities for Sarah
* His beautiful creation
* The forming of Bolivian friendships

Please pray for:
* Ciria, our house help who has recently faced many difficult family
* A holiday, a time for rest and some fun together
* For FH Bolivia who later this year will be losing some major funding
and thus reducing their national staff numbers significantly

Ed, Sarah & Alana