Yesterday we visited our trout and camelid projects. They are 14,500 feet above sea level. Little grows there. I can see the tremendous positive impact our projects have made on the communities since I visited the projects at their inception two years ago.
Two years ago the people of Khara Khota could barely feed their families by fishing. We supplied the materials and technical assistance to build a fish hatchery so that the larger lake trout would not eat their young. Now they not only have enough to eat, they supply the Catholic University Agronomy program with trout that the University fillets, packages and sells to stores in southern Bolivia. The community now earns two dollars per pound for the trout.
Two years ago our camelid project reinforced the herd with 97 llama of higher quality. Each family received a llama. Since that time each family has increased their herd by a llama a year. The new born llama each weigh 12 to 13 kilo at birth. Previously the new born llama weighed 7 to 8 kilo at birth.
Over and over again members of the project told me that the best part of the project was the education that we gave them. They said that for generations they have believed that it was normal for their llama to be thin, sickly and eventually to die from chronic flea infestation and sarna. They used to treat their animals by coating their skin with dirty car oil. Now they treat their llama with vaccinations 3 times a year. Each injection costs 21 to 35 cents. They cannot believe how fat and healthy even their old non-QBL animals are.
I am humbled by the gratitude that our project recipients expressed to me at our visit yesterday. They live high up in the Andes without heat or running water. The contrast between the stark beauty of the snow covered Cordillera Real and the people´s harsh day to day life is impressive.