The Piapoco people live in the Eastern Plain of Colombia and currently have a strong presence in the town of Inírida, in the Guaviare region. According to the 2019 census, their estimated population in Colombia is 4,926 people. They survive on the products of agriculture, continued by the traditional activities of hunting, fishing, and harvesting wild fruits. They also live by selling handicrafts, with the best handicrafts taken to nearby towns to sell or exchange for other basic necessities.
They maintain a patrilineal culture where the main authority is the wife’s father. The family is of extreme importance and each person plays an important role in society. The language spoken comes from the Arawak language family, which is in danger of extinction due to the frequent contact of the younger people with the Spanish language.
Among their beliefs is that Kuwai formed life on this world after defeating Kemeine, a cannibal anaconda, which he sent into space and turned into the Milky Way. They believe that Kuwai organized human society and gave each people their own language.
They also believe that there was a tree that provided all the food that gave birth to life on earth.
It was to these people that God sent me as an answer to my prayers, made for many years. With my heart racing, I set out on that extraordinary journey to Puerto Inírida, a lawless place where guerrillas still hold sway. Arriving at the airport, I met Pastor
Felipe, pastor of the First Baptist Church of the Piapocos, who took me by land to the place where I was going to do the training preparing the leaders of that community to start a PEPE.
I was very happy when I arrived in the village and found a wonderful place with many children, teenagers and young people. I trained 25 people, who learned about the PEPE program and how to implement it, showing the great spiritual impact it has on the lives of the children, the parents, and the church.
I went to teach, but in the end, it was I who learned a lot. This is because I was able to meet many people interested and committed to doing the work to give their children a better future. A suffering people, but always with a big smile and very receptive.
I realized the needs they have, one of them is the high cost of food since there are only two ways of transportation (plane and boat), we pray to God to provide means for them to transport food by road.
I thank the Colombian Baptist Denomination for providing the air transportation from Bogotá to Puerto Inírida.
I depend on your prayers so that we can start a PEPE and give new hope to these piapoco children, because that is what we do in PEPE: we bring hope to the hearts of children, wherever they are!
Adalci de Avila Angulo
National Coordinator PEPE Colombia
Text Editor – Carmen Ligia
Translated by: Juliana N. Martins