The January 2020 TOMA trip to the Sierra Nevada produced both sustained infrastructure in remote villages as well as established a tribal community member as an available technician in the region.
The team of Dr. Tim Wolfe, Eric Winslow, Taylor Green, and Randall Green, with the assistance of Jaison Perez Villafaña and Yarnel Villafañe Torre, set out with the goal of installing two solar systems and vaccine refrigerators in the villages of AtiGumake and Taminaka. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the plan to install in Tamniaka had to be delayed until after most of the team had returned to the United States.
After two days on the trail, the team reached AtiGumake and began work to install the solar system and familiarize the tribal health leader with the medical and solar equipment. The remote village's health post had to be rewired by the team and the panels installed.
Solar consultant Eric Winslow and Dr. Tim Wolfe instructed Arhuaco community member Yarnel Torre once more in the best practices of electrical wiring and installation, and subsequently, he was able to lead the system's installation in the Kogui village of Taminaka several weeks later.
Moving forward, TOMA plans to increase support for our technician's training and self-sufficiency, as well as continue our mission of delivering vital solar assistance to remote tribal areas. In addition, the team is looking at providing clean water support to the Wiwa tribe in the dry Guajira region of northern Colombia, where there is a critical need.
As always, TOMA Foundation would not exist without the generosity of its team members and donors, and we ask you to consider continuing your support. Our work would not be possible without you. Thank you.
In January 2020 the TOMA team will return to the Sierra Nevada mountains in northeast Colombia to install our 13th and 14th solar projects for two village health posts. This is a new region for TOMA. It’s remote with a high population and has many medical and dental needs.
Taminaka is a Kogui community. It is a 6 hour hike from the closest dirt road. This region encompasses 6 villages with 648 families. Over 1,733 people live in the area. We will install a solar system and a vaccine refrigerator plus a portable dental chair and accessories for the health post there
We are looking for your support to help us with these projects. Here is a summary of where the funds will be spent:
• 2 solar systems include 12 panels, 12 batteries, 2 inverters, 2 battery chargers, metal support structure, cables and accessories - $9,500
• 2 vaccine solar refrigerators - $3,000
• 1 portable dental office - $2,000
• Transportation of the TOMA team from US to Colombia - $5,000
• Trip supplies - $2,000
Total: $21,500Tribal Outreach Medical Assistance (TOMA ) is a non-profit humanitarian charity that provides medical assistance to indigenous populations in Colombia. We are a small group of volunteers that are dedicated to improving the lives of others who have so little. We have no administrative costs and do not receive compensation for our time or efforts so your donations go directly to those in need. Our primary goal is to provide highly cost effective, low frills medical interventions: Childhood vaccines; solar power to refrigerate vaccines, wells for clean drinking water. We provide additional medical advice and assistance as deemed necessary in selected communities.
Please read more below to see what our 2019 plans encompass:
1. Clean water for the Wayuu tribe: The Wayuu tribe has been severely affected by the devastating effects of a six-year drought and up-river industrial over-utilization of surface water that they have relied upon for generations. The Wayuu tribal people live in small villages scattered throughout a very hostile desert environment in the northeast corner of Colombia. They lack water for consumption, for bathing and for their goats and crops. This has caused significant suffering and loss of life. We have purchased a human powered drill (The Village Drill - click for link ) that can be transported by truck or mule to multiple communities to drill wells for water. The plan for 2019 is to work for 10 days with the Wayuu tribal health group to install two wells for the villages we identified in 2018 as in the most severe need. In the future we intend to start a clean water program drilling multiple wells each year, hopefully getting local residents to assist and drill wells even in our absence. We have spent months working with customs brokers in Colombia to provide the required documentation to import our drill and have had to reschedule our November 2018 trip until March 2019 due to these delays. One of our representatives will visit Colombia in January to assist with this process.
Here are our needs for the March 2019 trip:
Final Payments on Village Drill: $6000
Shipping and import taxes for the Village Drill: $6,000
Supplies and equipment for 2 wells: $5,000
Transportation of team to Colombia: $4,000
Team expenses in Colombia: $2,000
2. Communication equipment for Miriti-Parana rivers communities:
In June TOMA (John Walden, MD) participated in a survey and needs analysis of the current state of health care delivery for approximately 1,000 tribesmen inhabiting 200 miles of navigable waterway along the remote Mirití-Paraná River Basin in southeastern Colombia. The trip confirmed that there is no functioning infrastructure of facilities and trained personnel capable of providing even basic services throughout the region, including vaccination of children. TOMA will be exploring partnering with the GAIA Foundation, an internationally acclaimed NGO based in Bogotá and the Colombian Ministry of Health to assist in providing medical, dental, educational and solar assistance for this at-risk population.
One of the most urgent needs in the region is communication between the key tribal communities. There are only two existing 2 way ICOM radios, both requiring repair plus energy sources (solar and batteries). Eric Winslow, TOMA’s solar and electrical engineer, will join Dr. Walden back into the Amazonas in January 2019 to repair their equipment, install solar charging equipment and battery supplies and provide another two radios so that the entire river will be connected to improve healthcare. They will also evaluate the needs in other communities in the area. The trip will involve three flights and two days of river travel just to reach the first village.
Total 2019 Budget: $33,000 (campaign collections for 2018 budget = $14,000 so new total Go Fund me goal is $47,000)
As TOMA enters our 22nd year we again express our gratitude to each of you that have contributed to improving the quality of life and saving many lives in Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. We encourage you to visit our website at www.tomatribaloutreach.org for more details about the projects we’ve completed over the past 22 years.
Photos from our investigative trips to the Wayuu and Amazonas tribal areas:
Wayuu kitchen and tribal women:
Wayuu Village in stark landscape:
Portrait of a Wayuu woman:
Children from the Mirití-Paraná River Basin:
TOMA Field Team: Eric Winslow, Tim Wolfe MD, Richard Green, Randall Green, Darnel, Taylor Glenn, (John Walden MD - not pictured)
- Brad Quinn
- Eric Walden
- Mark Flammer
- Martin Caravati
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