We were greeted at the airport by Revd Pedro Grandon, co-ordinator of the Methodist rural work in the area. He was accompanied by Revd Omar Sepulveda and his wife Ester, a minister from further south in the district and who was to act as our translator.
After a quick wash and brush up at the hotel we were taken for a welcome lunch at a fish restaurant in Tamuco market. There we also met Elizabeth Cuevas, a Methodist visiting from
Across the road from the school are the offices for the rural work the Church here is involved with. It works with many local communities around the area providing a great range of support and advice, from encouraging collaborative work and co-operatives, to basic housing advice to providing plastic sheeting for poly-tunnels and greenhouses.
We were taken to visit 2 of the co-operative projects they support. The first was a small group of women who use herbs they grow themselves to make hand creams, soaps and natural herbal oils, some of which are said to have therapeutic properties. The second was the marmalade group in Furgon who were encouraging the use of preserving fruit in order to store (and sell) more of the annual harvest. Both groups were clearly empowering local women in a very positive way.
We met them in a building modelled on the traditional single roomed house or “rucca” which now serves as a meeting place for the group and community. Not only were we well fed but were also treated to some traditional folk dancing from 2 of their children who were dressed ready to celebrate National Independence Day which is tomorrow.