Amistad Mission ministers to nearly a hundred orphaned and abandoned children in Cochabamba and countless Quechua natives of all ages in the rural Bolivian village of Aramasi and beyond. Amy Thompson has been privileged to serve Amistad Mission for the past six years.

Amy had arrived back in Houston from a 12 day trip to Bolivia on Monday evening. Amy is no stranger to this flight since she has been making this flight many times each year of over 6 years. In 2003, Amy was putting in long days working for Arthur Anderson when friends encouraged her to visit Bolivia and get involved with an orphanage in the town of Cochabamba. Amy said one day she woke up and realized it was time and she went. That's all it took for her to change her life and be a part of Amistad Mission.

Bolivia is one of the 'land locked' countries in South America and it is also one of the poorest countries. Cochabamba is a large city of over 600,000 and is located at 7408 feet (Denver is at 5280 feet). Aramasi is at 9842 feet (in the Andes Mountains) and is a dry, rocky area inhabited by indigenous people, many descended from the Aztecs. There are no paved roads and it's a 2 hour hike (up hill) to get to the village. Life in the villages is extremely difficult so many people leave and head to the city of Cochabamba.

Cochabamba had a problem with children living on the street due to being abandoned by a parent, death of a parent, abuse, etc so Amistad Mission started an orphanage for these children. The Children's Village in Cochabamba has rescued over 150 children from the streets. These children are all attend school and 13 are currently in college most studying for occupations that will allow them to help others.

In 2002, with help from some Rotary Clubs, two projects were completed in Aramasi: Water Well and Ambulance/Motorcycle provided to offer a way for the villagers to get to the clinic.

An aquifer was tapped and irrigation systems were created. Rotary helped with the equipment with the understanding that the villagers would help with the work digging. Previously the villagers were only able to successfully grow potatoes but an ergonomist, Jose, volunteered his help to teach them to grow other plants. They now have thriving gardens with carrots, beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes. Food nutrition is being taught to the adults and the children. Children will hike over a mile for a nutritious lunch. Before this effort 50% of the children would die before the age of 5.

New project: Due to the dry conditions there is a need for a dam to hold the rain water so there is a plentiful amount of water for all year. Engineers without borders donated their time, villagers were asked to provide labor and the dam is being constructed. Once complete the dam will hold 70 acres of water.

One touching story: Amy watched as a very old woman walked up the path toward the dam, removed a tool and began digging a trench. She approached the woman and through an interpreter asked her what she was doing. The woman explained that she wanted a better life for her children and while she might not live long enough to see it, she wanted to make a contribution.

What can we do? They have a need for contributions to buy seeds for the gardens. Go to to make your contribution.

Reported by Suzan Abrams