Sunday, October 31, 2010

Out There with the Beams -- October 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

As you can see, our newsletter has a new look.  We have made it even easier contribute to our ministry.  To make a onetime donation or set up a monthly contribution, simply click on the “donate”  button to the right and follow the instructions.  It can’t get much easier!  We also want thank all of our long-time prayer partners and contributors.  We would not be in Bolivia working in these ministries without your partnership and support.  Thanks!  Equally, if your are tired of hearing from us, just click on the link at the bottom of the email to opt out of our monthly newsletter.  If you would like further information or would like to see pictures and videos of our work, there are also buttons linking you to our blogs and websites. 

Several weeks ago we hosted a mission team from our home church, Crossroads Christian Church, in Lexington, Kentucky.  Six men and three women came to help out with our ministries here in Santa Cruz.  As is always the case, we had a great week working hard and  laughing together.  We love to share our lives and work with folks from back home.  Let us know if you would like to put a volunteer team together.  We will make space for  you on the calendar and put you to work. 

Ruth and Noemi Transition House for Girls

The three ladies from Crossroads worked with Vanessa, teaching the girls in residence how to make jewellery.  Three of the four girls now living in the house are either pregnant or have babies and they need skills they can use to earn money while they stay at home taking care of their babies.  The jewellery the girls learned to make is absolutely beautiful and should sell really well both in Bolivia and in the North America.   The Crossroads team took some samples back with them and we hope to begin selling them soon.  Let us know if you would like to sell some in your church or community group.  Part of the profits will go toward paying for the on-going costs of  the Ruth and Noemi Transition House and part will go directly to the girls.  We will also begin selling the jewellery locally in artisan markets here in Santa Cruz.  Vanessa and her team are making good progress with the girls.  Continue to remember the girls and their babies in prayer: Juanita, Estrella (baby David), Licaria (baby Josue), and Andreina (expecting).

Agua Yaku – A Water Well Drilling Project

I took the men from the Crossroads team with me out to Isosog, a new area where we are just beginning to work.  Isosog is still in the department of Santa Cruz, but in the province of Charagua near the border with Paraguay—a seven hour drive through rough scrub brush country where there are dozens of Guarani Indian communities along the Parapeti river.  The Parapeti is actually a dry sandy beach most of the year, but near the river bed we are able to drill water wells relatively easily. 

People living in these communities have traditionally gotten drinking water from shallow hand dug wells, called norias in Spanish.  Norias are almost always contaminated from human and animal waste seeping into the shallow water table.  Most communities now have at least one deep well that was drilled by the government.  Some communities even have water towers and water distribution networks.  However, in community after community people say they receive water sporadically if at all from the distribution system because the local water coop does not have the money to buy diesel to operate the pumps.  The majority of people walk long distances from their houses to the few wells with hand-operated manual pumps.  Every morning and evening you can see columns of women and children waiting in line at wells, filling their containers, and lugging the heavy buckets and jugs back home so they can cook, wash clothes, bathe, and give water to their animals. 

Agua Yaku uses a simple inexpensive drilling technique which now makes it possible for each family to have their own well.  With the Crossroads team we drilled two wells in Yapiroa, a Guarani community of about 1500 people.  While we were there church leaders compiled a list of the several dozen most urgently needed wells in the community: including schools, health posts, churches, wells centered around groups of houses, and isolated farms.  We promised to come back as soon as we finish up a few other ongoing projects in other areas.  Before we left Yapiroa word of our project reached the ears of other community leaders. Several leaders visited our project site to see how we were working.  We promised to expand our project and to come drill wells in their communities as soon as possible.  After a quick survey on Google Earth, we found dozens of communities in this area that also need clean easily accessible water.  This week, we sent an Agua Yaku team back to Yapiroa and we will—with any luck—be drilling several wells a week, but (insert plea for financial support), we cannot continue too much longer as a project unless we receive more donations soon.  If you like the work we are doing and have been thinking about supporting Agua Yaku, NOW IS THE TIME!  Your donation will make a huge impact on the daily lives of these people living in this harsh dry environment.  It costs about $500 to drill a well and install the casing, a filter, and a hand pump. Perhaps your family, church, or small group would like to sponsor one, or perhaps a dozen, wells in Bolivia. 

 Danny and Vanessa Beams

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1200 New Species Discovered in the Amazon in the Last Decade

Check out this article discussing the amazing number of new species of plants, animals, and birds they have discovered in the Amazon in the past decade. I love traveling in the rain forest and seeing so many cool plants and animals. I recently got several bird books so I can identify the birds I see along the rivers.