My Father grew up in the Amazon and she is a clever and cruel mistress. But throughout his life my father has attempted only one thing: to help those who brave living in those harsh jungles.
My Father was always religious, he originally wanted to be a Catholic Priest; but the shadow of pedophilia lingered over the local Priest, well rumored to often partake in earthly pleasures with the young boys of the town. It was later that my father turned to his own father's Christianity. He left the Catholic Church for the Evangelical Missionary Movement. It wasn't a popular movement, it's liberal acceptance of others was often criticized by the local Catholics, and due to this my father was disowned by his own family.
When he left the small city of Leticia to go to Bogota and studied to become a missionary, with the organization YWAM; which he continued to belong to for the rest of his life. As a Colombian he gained opportunities to enter Mexico, becoming one of the first non-Catholics in the nation to speak within the Catholic Church. He later traveled to the United States, to Arkansas, where he worked with the Hispanic community during the 80s and married my American mother.
It was only after that fact that my Fathers Mother accepted him once more as a family member. Even leaving the Catholic Church herself.
Many years later my family moved back to Leticia, Colombia. My Father said he felt a "calling." He began to help the people of the region, bringing regular medical brigades from the United States to work amongst the Indian Communities along the river and to help provide the poor in the region with the basic supplies of clothes, medicine, and the Bible.
Yes the Bible. My Father loves the Bible, his dream was always to open the minds of other by providing a simple book to them, that almost no one had prior to that.
The people of the river. They lived the way he lived while growing up. They are his heart. And his heart is always bleeding.
Those who live on the Amazon face so many dangers that it is hard for one who isn't there to even imagine. The basic necessities don't exist. Clean water is only available via rain. So my father worked with the University of Arkansas to build a cheap and simple filtration system to distribute to the people on these river communities. There are no doctors, so my Father brought the doctors to the people.
There are deadly animals that invade peoples homes often and the local vegetation claims the land often, making it hard to grow food. Electricity, in the majority of these villages there is no such thing.
The biggest problem is the poverty of the people, few attend school, even in the capital of Leticia, the percentage of high school students that leave to go to College is in the teens.
My father may be a Republican and a staunch social conservative, but their is no lack of respect for the man. For through him I have seen more people helped in their lives by this man. I don't agree with him. I'm not a christian, I don't even believe in God. But even then my mind is open in more way that one to things that can not be explained. And I can see why some believe in those things.
I think my Father is a great man.
In Part 2 I will tell you more about the Amazon and my Father's works. In Part 3 I will tell you about my experience of life in Colombia.