Tolupan Project :: Sustainable Communities. Multiplying Churches.

Sustainable Communities

Working on the tribal center plumbing.

One goal of our partnership with the Tolupan Tribe of Mina Honda is help provide the tools for the community to become self-sufficient. We look to give a "hand up", not a handout. There are times where handouts are appropriate. In emergency situations created by natural disasters or war it is appropriate to give away food, medicine, clothing and shelter. But for the long term, handouts too often create dependancy and weaken those who we are trying to help. Our project is taking the long view. Our goal is not so much to provide the fish, but the fishing pole. Our hope is to empower the Tolupan tribe to provide their people with jobs, education and access to health care. To date, we have completed one of the sustainability projects, the construction of the Tolupan Tribal Center in Pakayal. In the future we hope to offer the following programs with the goal of helping the Tolupan create a sustainable community for themselves:

  • Community Health Programs. Training first responders for wound-care and treatment of fevers, water supply purification.
  • Vocational Training. Carpentry, plumbing (particularly so the Tolupan can repair the PVC in their water delivery system)
  • Agricultural Training. Coffee cultivation and the proper drying and roasting of coffee beans to allow the Tolupan receive a higher income from their only real cash crop.

Tolupan Tribal Center

Tolupan Tribal Center

In 2008, the Tolupan Tribal Council of Mina Honda approached the Pacific Union Congregational Church asking that we help them construct a tribal center in the village of Pacayal. One of the main concerns for the tribal elders was the loss of tribal identity and the encroachment of local farmers on Tolupan owned land. This building will serve multiple uses for the community. It will provide a center for the Tribal Council to meet, a central office to store the land deeds for the local Tolupan farmers, housing for visiting missions and development teams and serve as a church building.

In August 2011, the construction was completed (although there are still minor tweaks to be done) and opened for use by the Tolupan as their tribal offices, a school, a church and lace to host outside mission teams complete with bathrooms, kitchen, dorm rooms and meeting spaces.