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The Guaymi Project: Update
By Rod Boyd

Praise God! There is now a multiuse building at the top of “Cerro Iglesia” (Church Peak) in the northwest part of Panamá. This is Guaymi country. The Guaymi are an indian group indigenous to Panamá. Their distinctive dress and small stature are trademarks.

Duima kidsA good size piece of property was purchased over a year ago to house the planned Latin America ChildCare school. I had the opportunity to visit the site a year ago. A year later, I visited the village again, arriving a couple hours before the team finished the project.

This remote property is located about 2-3 miles from the nearest road (a dirt road that is about 6 miles from the end of the paved road)--a challenging hike up into the mountains. The trail is “horse-worn” in places, worn away to a deep rut, barely the width of a horse. The steep parts of the path have become “horse-stairs”--which work fine for horses, but not so fine for people. When wet, the trail becomes quite treacherous.

The nearest government school is a two-hour walk from the site. A small Adventist school is located an hour away, the opposite direction. I had the opportunity of talking with two Guaymi men of the village. Both told me that there are nearly 200 children that live within an hour of the village.

Duima school buildingMissionary Terry Bell coordinated the building project. He had some interesting challenges. First, the only way to get materials up the mountain was to carry them--either by human or by horse. Second, he had to design a building that used the lightest kind of building materials because of the method of transporting them. An all metal building was designed. Terry involved Bible school students from David and Agua Dulce, along with Guaymi, to deliver the building materials up to the site.

When the group of 17 men arrived--Royal Ranger leaders from Tennessee and Missouri--they only had to carry their packs, because all building materials were already “on site.” They worked for a week on the project, finishing just a couple hours before the dedication service.

The new building will be used for the new school; but also as a church, feeding center, and possibly an adult education center. There are plans to build additional buildings as needed. But for now, the new building is large enough to have two classrooms. We are now in the process of applying to the department of education to open the school. We have identified an administrator and will be working on finding two teachers.

This new school will be funded primarily through a special program of Latin America ChildCare called “The Invisible Ones.” If you would like to provide financial assistance to this project, please call the Latin America ChildCare office at 1-800-289-7071 and tell them you'd like to help the new Guaymi School. In the meantime, please pray with us that the Lord will help us receive authorization from the department of education, find the two teachers, arrange for other details (furniture, etc.), that all necessary funds will come in, and that many Guaymi will come to Christ.