Why Are We Here?

The inhabitants of Panama’s Pearl Islands are in many ways a “forgotten people” with specific needs for improving their quality of life. Meanwhile, children of La Guajira region of Colombia are dying of starvation from malnutrition. A quick history of both areas will help to explain the plight of the people who live there.

Panama’s Pearl Islands were so named by the Spanish conquistadors in 1513 for the abundance of pearls found on the islands.  The Spanish wiped out most of the native Indians, but when they realized they needed workers to harvest the pearls, they brought in slaves from Africa.  Descendants of these slaves still inhabit the Pearl Islands, mostly on Isla del Rey.

While important people enjoy extravagant vacations in luxury accommodations on the island, there are also island inhabitants who lack basic medical care, electricity, telephone access, and educational advantages.  Visitors with a medical, technical, or educational background can help by joining ongoing humanitarian efforts on the islands.  That is where you come in!

In La Guajira region of Colombia, tourists enjoy such activities as birdwatching and kitesurfing, but it is important to know that there are children living in this region who are starving from malnutrition.  From 2016, it was estimated that 14,000 individuals–children, adolescents, expectant mothers, and the elderly–died from malnutrition in less than ten years. Furthermore, Colombia’s national health institute (INS) reported that La Guajira saw a spike in child deaths from malnutrition in 2018 compared to the average reported in the region from 2014 to 2017 (Cardona, 2018). 

Introduction of aquaponics in La Guajira region of Colombia will make a life-and-death difference to the welfare of the Wayuu people who live there! And you can help!