Monday, 5 October 2009

Strikes in the Jungle

Ecuador is in the middle of many protests at the moment. The teachers are protesting because they don't want to be evaluated, the Indigenous are protesting about some new water and mining laws and the Shuar in Macas are protesting for all of the above plus a few extra 'grudges' they want to get of their chest. The Shuar have closed the road to Macas for more than a week and a teacher was killed last week in the protests, possibly by his own Shuar and not by the police.

Alfredo and Steph were in Makuma last week to visit the project in Mutints that Adeline and Sarita were building. They walked to the project and when they returned to Makuma they found groups of Shuar with guns on the airstrip and stakes in the ground to prevent planes entering. The Shuar were striking in support of the protests in Macas (although closing the airstrip only really hurts themselves as they receive air ambulance and food deliveries by air!).

Alfredo was in a precarious situation, because he is Ecuadorian 'Mestizo', currently viewed as the 'enemy' as most of the government and lawmakers are mestizos. Another mestizo in macuma had been beaten up just for living there and was accused of being a spy.

Alfredo and Steph saw God's protection over them as the 5 main leaders of the strike are all from communities that have worked with us building water systems and are all friends with us. despite saying that the airstrip was closed, they gave permission for Alas de Socorro (MAF) to land their plane and pick up Alfredo and Steph! God is Good.

When Alfredo returned to Shell he was a nervous wreck as he thought over what could have happened in Makuma, but while he was there he was calm and felt protected as he represented Jesus and the Evangelical church in that town.

Our prayers are with Tukup, Lois (North Americans)and Miryam (Ecuadorian Mestiza) as they remain in Makuma and feelings against 'foreigners' (non-Shuar in Shuar territory) are being stirred up this week. Alfredo is scheduled to return to Santa Rosa tomorrow to work on the water project.

The government is currently in discussions with indigenous leaders, but protests are still in place as the government is not giving in to the demands. Macas appears to be on the verge of greater civil unrest as the 'mestizos' are now getting upset as the week of protests has meant that there is no food or petrol in Macas and businesses are being affected.

please be praying for Peace.

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