The adults of La Libertad now have life vests. Our next step, vests for the children.
During times of storms, high winds, or fast current river travel can be dangerous. The boats belonging to the community members are sometimes not very seaworthy. At other times the boats are overloaded with people, items to transport, or both.
But how to help? Can we just buy and give out life vests? We don’t believe that will work. As the vests are free, they may not be valued. They may be sold by the villagers so that they may use the money for something that is a more immediate need. The life vests also need to be regularly dried, cleaned, and repaired. The proper use and care of the vests must be taught. All of these factor make the large scale “buying and giving away” wasteful.
Instead, we have created a loaning program, a LIFE VEST LIBRARY, to insure the proper distribution and use of the life vests:
- We have bought 20 adult vests. This will almost cover the maximum number of people on the river during any given day. We now need at least 10 child-sized life vests.
- We will store the vests in a locked room on the village's dock.
- We will loan the vests out to people who will be on the river for the length of their trip.
- We will require a small deposit (cash or the equivalent of goods) in order to borrow the vest.
- We will keep records of the borrowers.
- We will maintain the vests.
|Hector cutting out the letters|
|The vests are drying after the painting|
We spray painted 'Amazon Pueblo" and "Property of La Libertad" on each vest.
|Bringing the vest to the project's cabin in La Libertad|
We delivered the vests to La Libetad. Now comes the difficult part. We must educate the villagers to use them when needed. They must also treat the vests with care and return them after use.
We currently have a community project underway to build walls on and to reinforce the village's dock. The work is scheduled for the first week of December, 2015. Once this is done we will be able to house the life vest library.
|They REALLY need life vests!|
Now we need child-sized life vests! We have part of the funding. However, the vests are not available to buy in Leticia. We may have to buy them in the US, then bring them down (little by little) when volunteers visit the village. (Or have them shipped, which would be very costly.) If anyone reading this is able to visit and bring some vests with them, PLEASE send me a message from this blog.
We are continuing to accept donations: