Sunday, March 14, 2010

A way to help Chile

For those of you who don't know, my husband was born and raised in Chile. His parents and younger brother still live down there. Happily their home was undamaged, even though the area they live in felt the earthquake at a 7.5, but we had some time to worry when communications were down. I was so grateful that we learned that they were alright just hours before I went into labour.

Craig's parents are missionaries working with SIM, and they are working to raise funds to help fishermen who lost their livelihood in the tsunami. Here's a better explanation that Tim (Craig's dad) sent in an email. Please help if you are able to!

Helping fishermen get back to fishing
Last Tuesday Sharon and I joined forces with Kyrios Band (local Christian band, leaders of which work with us here in Koyamentu), purchasing emergency goods, collecting bedding and clothes, etc. for a trip to the small fishing town of Tirúa, located a 2 ½ hr. drive NW of us, the southernmost of the many fishing towns to be damaged. A tsunami wiped out part of the town near the mouth of the Tirúa River, taking out to sea the livelihood of about 180 small fishermen: their 25-ft. boats, outboard motors and nets. We connected with a small church in the town, spiritual home to one of the band members. That enabled us to connect personally with the families who lost everything (close to 30-40 homes completely destroyed, some houses and many possessions washed out to sea).

A second trip to Tirúa on Saturday, this time with some other missionaries and a Chilean pastor representing different organizations, had an additional purpose: to talk with local authorities about the best way to help long-term. Those who lost homes are temporarily living uncomfortably with relatives or friends, but we felt that helping to get fishermen back on their feet (or boats) would be a bigger priority than efforts to rebuild homes at this stage. The mayor agreed, as did the fishermen we talked with. We are now connecting with appropriate providing companies, boat-builders, etc. SIM is working alongside other organizations to raise funds for this.

For those who would like to have a part in the rebuilding of Chile, SIM offers the “Chile Earthquake Aid“ project, # 91904. Whether you live in the U.S. or Canada… or any other SIM sending country, you can send your checks to your respective country office. Some of the project funds will go toward equipping fishermen in Tirúa who lost boats, outboard motors and nets. Each boat is worked by 3 or 4 fishermen, so helps that many families. Here are the replacement costs in USD:
25’ boat - $3,000+ (takes up to 1 month to build, with local native wood)
40-50 hp outboard motor - $4,000+
Minimum number of nets - $400

We understand that some of you might be dealing with “compassion fatigue” after sending aid to Haiti, but any and all gifts for Chile will be very welcome! They can be sent to the following addresses in the U.S. or Canada (or any country with an SIM office), making note of the above project name and number.

P.O. Box 7900
Charlotte, NC 28241

SIM Canada
10 Huntingdale Blvd.
Scarborough, ON M1W 2S5