WATER PROJECT CHORCHA
Greetings from Panama,
Season’s are something we have few of in Boquete.Usually it’s either “wet” or “dry” roughly (6) months of each. Between these season’s ,we have a transition period which can vary daily.
Our recent activities are reflective of the season’s. We have finally been able to make our fact-finding trip into the village of Chorcha on the Ngobe comarca.The village is 6 miles into the comarca from the Pan American highway. The road is dirt and rough. Some places on the road require driving through shallow streams. Only 4 wheel vehicles can get into the village. The village of Chorcha came to our attention through the FICADEN Group consisting of Professional Ngabe’s “in the know”. We are grateful to them for sharing their needs in the numerous communities of the Comarca that they represent.It had been a long time before we could scout out the village. Originally, the people from the village asked if we could help them, about a year ago ,with repairing broken water pipes . We were busy drilling the well at San Felix then.They had been without water for a long time, requiring them to walk 1 hour one way to another shallow, hand dug well which dries up in the dry season sometimes. They walk there for drinking water and to get water to bathe. The water is probably contaminated, because there have been reports of family members with diarrhea after visiting the village.
The water source for the pipes is 3-6 hours above the village. We were originally going to explore the area and the damage to the pipes.We were going to ride horseback ,but later the Ngobes said the horses could only travel so far because then the road is too dangerous for the horses. Walking is required the rest of the way to the water source.We were fortunate. Our interpreter Armando’s wife is from the village. Her father had been trying to keep the pipes repaired. They offered to hike the road up to the water source and let us know how much pipe we would need. Armando’s’ wife helped her father and walked the path up and back- a whole day’s job! 3-6 hours walk and then assessing how much pipe was needed.Once we knew that information, Sam also helped them figure out how to build a cement slab for the 650 gal. water tank and we explained about putting bleach in the water( very small amount) to keep the water good to drink. The water supply from the source above the village isn’t the best water either, so hopefully this sanitizing the water will help the people. They were so grateful, they patiently waited for us to get to their village.The village also does not have electricity or latrines. More info to follow with photos at the end of the newsletter
At the end of February, we were able to gather teaching supplies for the after school at Llano Tugri where we also sponsor a children’s feeding program for the after school children. In March, we made our way to the Ngobe capital, high in the mountain,s to place these supplies into the hands of those who were teaching the children. Lowell & Laura Kurtz from Friedens, Pa. who were visiting us for their anniversary, and are longtime friends, accompanied us to the Ngabe Capital at Llano Tugri where we delivered school supplies and saw some familiar faces of children also enrolled in the after school Feeding Program
Some of the FICADEN group,the president(the lady in the white Nagua) in the group photo, and the other teacher in red jacket, brought some visual aids to the teacher(in back row) to help with teaching also. The first photo shows the Ngobe teacher who brought the Ngobe language alphabet for the teacher at Llano Tugri. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Lowell and Laura.The time passed too quickly with such dear friends!
We also continue with the children’s feeding program at Church of the Adoration in Oma, Susama district of the comarca.
Later on in March we accompanied Pastor Marco Delgado and his wife to a mountain church in El Salto just about ½ hour drive from Boquete. The church that he pastors is – translated into English – “Church Of The Eternal Spirit” Assembly of God. We took numerous Sunday School Supplies there and some knitted caps supplied by Marlowe Assembly of God Church in Falling Waters, WV. Thank you Marlowe! The church is small, no windows, solar energy, and no Sunday School supplies. They were elated for the supplies.Sometimes his wife Arelysda has 70 children in Sunday School! She also is the cook for the noon meal.Pastor Marco’s son’s name is Jesus, he is a sweet child.
Leaving the Panamerican Highway and entering the road to the CHORCHA Community
Now to finish the story of Chorcha! The purpose of this travel in April when we finally were able to get there,was to attend the inauguration, as the Ngobes say, for the water tank and future miles of repaired water pipe. They have two teams ready to start- one for the water tank and the other team to start repairing the broken pipes.The community had prepared a short program and said a prayer and then had Sam give a response from Cleft Of The Rock Ministries. The trip up this road is about a 1 – 1 & ½ hour drive at speeds suitable for comfort in a 4 WD vehicle! We secured a large number of 2” and also ½” PVC pipe; also stone, sand, bags of cement and rebar prior to arriving at the village. The local ferreteria (hardware store) delivered the items after inquiring if the road was fixed yet- common question for the comarca.
The Ngobes walk as stated above to obtain water or they get water from streams or gather rain water from roofs and store it in buckets for use as needed. By the way, many, many, thanks to the Crossroads Community Church and the children for giving money for the water project – this is your money at work! The Chorcha Ngobes are very grateful to you. It was a big project.They really needed a good water supply.
After the inauguration a young Ngabe man (school teacher) asked me through our interpreter if he could address some current needs that the community faces. One of these was the need for (10) latrines in the immediate area. The homes have no latrines only the bushes, in the surrounding areas. They stated that the latrines would be good for about (10-15) years).They know how to construct the latrines, they just need the materials. They can use local bamboo for the buildings around the latrines.The Ngobes also asked us about adult education because most of the adults of the village cannot read or write.They have to “sign” papers with an inked finger/thumbprint The children are getting some education -there are two schools in the village, K-6th grade and 7-9th grades. The schools had a small water tank, but not enough to share with the community people. There are approximately 500 children altogether including babies. Jane sees a delivery of Baby Blessings Quilt Sets in the future. Our wonderful ladies at Birch grove Mennonite Church in Port Allegany supply our warm and lovely quilts for the babies. We were thrilled that the Ngobe adults came to us to ask about some education for themselves. Jane has been checking with a Panamanian friend of ours who is a teacher at MEDUCA inquiring for ideas or a curriculem to use for these dear people who want to learn.Armando( our Ngobe interpreter) is also checking with school officials where he is attending classes towards his Master’s degree.FICADEN is seizing upon the opportunity to obtain materials to help educate the adults. The adults expressed a strong desire for learning and Cleft Of The Rock Ministries has taken these requests into consideration. Keep “tuned-in” on this location of Chorcha for future labors here!
During the First week of May we will be helping Pastor Marco again as he accompanies us to David City to take delivery of a 3,500 watt generator for use at the church. In previous years they have made do with a single solar panel to power some “string lamps” and a sound system in a meager dirt floor area for the sanctuary and attached man made classroom and a make-do kitchen area used to prepare rice and beans for a noon meal after church. Presently, Pastor Marco says that they have submitted plans to the Municipality of Boquete for a new church building and these plans take considerable time to make their way through all the governmental departments. We asked who helps him to build the church? He said God will supply.Those plans may take a year or two to be approved and then acted upon.
God Bless all Fellow Laborer’s together in “The Harvest”! We can’t thank all the donors enough who have given unselfishly to this ministry over the years. We just keep discovering more and more needs for the Ngobe. We wanted our ministry to fulfill the real needs of the Ngobe people and not just give out candy and toys. God laid it on my heart (Jane)when we started this ministry six years ago- to find the needs and He would supply the financial. He has certainly been faithful in that promise and it seems we are able to get into the Ngobe interior country/comarca and see the real needs, plus they are now coming to us also with real needs and taking their share of responsibility.Armando told us a few years ago-make sure you make my people responsible.May God continue to bless all the donors for their faithfulness in helping Cleft of the Rock Ministries provide for the needs of the Ngobe-Bugle.
May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done. Ruth 2:12 NLT
Keep us in prayer,
Sam & Jane Ruth