This month Joe and Ann were able to lead training on the Northern Coast of Colombia in the area known as La Guajira. La Guajira is the home to the Wayuu India tribe, one of Colombia’s largest indigenous tribes.

Drought and lack of resources and training has left the Wayuu very vulnerable to poverty in many of its horrendous forms. Although life is a constant uphill struggle for the Wayuu, we were so blessed to hear how much they celebrate what they do have, living in the peace and tranquility away from city life, where their children can play and breathe clean air and eat food untainted by genetic modification or harmful pesticides. Through years of exploitation we see the Wayuu living under economic turmoil, social strain and spiritual dryness that often reflects the geography around them and yet here, in the midst of the desert, life is bubbling up like an unexpected stream.

Ann Edmunds writes:
IMC (In Ministry to Children) work within Colombia’s capital, Bogota, and the La Guajira area in the north of the country. There are a number of indigenous tribes in Colombia, and IMC work amongst one of the largest of these - the Wayuu tribe. They partner with others who have a heart for this marginalised group of people.

Following past training in both leadership development and the setting up of a micro-enterprise committee and a number of small businesses, this was the first time that Links had been invited to deliver the SHINE CHC training amongst the Wayuu people. The Wayuu people live in the Northern desert region of Colombia where there is a high incidence of diarrhoeal illness, respiratory infections and neonatal deaths, along with other health issues.

Joe Gisbey and Ian Linton were also part of the team, with Joe providing translation and, together with Ian, he also lead through some leadership development and further business training. I am so grateful for the team of volunteers - Liz Linton and Val Foster - who came with me to deliver the CHC training.

On the first day, we were made very welcome as we looked around one village (the Wayuu call their villages ‘Rancherias’), called Canaán and then the following three mornings, were equally welcomed to the Rancheria ‘Brasil’, where we had the use of a single-classroom school for the training, with between 24-34 people attending.

Tentative at first, it didn’t take too long before they felt able to tell us their stories and join in with the drama and other training activities. Their stories are a mix of celebration of the beauty, peace and harmony with which they live, along with the harsh realities of drought, food shortages, disease and much-too-early death.

Although we only had a short amount of time there, nevertheless some significant inroads were made in community assessment, raising health awareness and teaching skills such as handwashing and how to make a homemade version of rehydration fluid (ORS).‘Muchas Gracias!’ to Nancy for inviting us to come and to all who supported us while in Riohacha. ‘Muchas Gracias’ to all of you who donate to Links International – it’s you who make training such as this possible! Please pray with us that there will be a desire to continue with the SHINE programme and a hope amongst the community for transformation!

It has been such a privilege to see churches established and flourishing, schools becoming viable and sustainable in the region, clean water projects and agriculture ensuring better basic health. We are now excited and hopeful that the fledgling micro-enterprise committee will begin to see many people break free from the stranglehold of poverty and begin to prosper effecting the future of their families and communities. All this is only possible because of the support of our amazing Links family.

For £10 a month you can set up at least two new businesses each year. As these funds are recycled your giving grows exponentially over the years to see many families released from the cycle of poverty.