Saturday, April 21, 2007

One thing I will miss about Venezuela

The coffee in Venezuela is absolutely the best I have ever had. That includes Cuban, Starbucks, Barnie's, Java Joe's and the other imitators. Coffee in Norway, Peru, Canada, Paraguay, Mexico , Colombia and Germany. They truly do not compare. I feel sorry for the rest of you who have never had Venezuelan coffee. It is like explaining how a motor works to a woman.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let's Define Ethnocide!

ChajudaƱa was the village of choice for hosting most of the inter-village reunions because it was the healthiest, best organized and most able to provide food for the other villages. The other indian villages chose ChajuraƱa repeatedly for these cultural events.

I recently received an anonymous comment that said I was guilty of ethnocide. Here is the comment ....

"The word ethnocide barely begins to describe the atrocities your ministry is inflicting on indigenous cultures along the Rio Caura."

Now, since there is no name I am not going to post it in my comments sections. I do feel, however, that there is a need to consider his comment as to it's veracity. For if it is true, we need to stop mission work.

ETHNOCIDE-- The purposeful destruction of an ethnic group or culture.

It is true that indian groups are diminishing and we should consider the causes. I will list a few that we saw in the jungle.

Infant mortality due to lack of medical care
Unnecessary deaths from sickness due to lack of medical care
Drunkenness which causes fights and often deaths or chronic illness
War between tribes and villages (90% of all tribal wars are for the purpose of stealing females)
Mercury poisoning due to illegal mining causing birth defects
Sterility in the women from being raped and infected with venereal diseases by illegal miners
Female deaths during childbirth from uterine ruptures and hemorages

When you look at the villages where missionaries worked in the jungles of Venezuela you will see some things that are statistically true.

Where the Gospel is preached there is...
Lower Infant mortality rate(due to medicines and emergency flights provided by the missionaries)
Lower death rate among all ages (Due to medicine and basic care provided by the missionaries)
Fewer Drunks(Due to the gospel being preached and people choosing to stay away from such addictions and its unhealthy consequences)
Lower Suicide Rate(Due to the teaching of the scriptures which give people hope, purpose and a future.)
Less Warring between tribes ( due to people following a lawful order and developing a respect for all life, both male and female, raising the value of the female from being a piece of property to a person with equal rights)
Less mining and mercury poisoning (Due to the fear of being reported by conscientious indians who have been made aware of their rights and responsibilities by the Biblical teaching of the missionaries)
Less Rape and venereal disease (The young girls have been taught not to get drunk with the miners, the fathers have been taught not to trade or sell the services of their female family members to the miners)
Fewer deaths in Child birth (Due to the fact that the husbands have been taught from the Bible to love and care for their wives and thus provide prenatal care and take them to the city for birth if needed.)

Since the effect of the missionary presence does not cause the destruction of tribal people, but rather strengthens the tribe, I don't see how the accusation can possibly be true. I have seen the statistics kept by the health department comparing all the villages of the Caura region. The statistics show the truth. Guess which village doubled in population in less than ten years? Dare to venture a guess of which village had the lowest infant mortality rate of the region? Which village had a lower mortality rate overall? Or, which village had the better quality of life and longevity according to the Doctors of the State Government? Which village had the higher percentage of school age children? Which village had the best trained teachers? Do I really need to go on?

That doesn't sound like Ethnocide to me!