Local pest becomes tourist attraction in Bolivia

By August 10, 2015

Bolivia (MNN) — When Food for the Hungry’s Bolivia team heard about the local pest in Torotoro, a small village alongside the Caine River, it sparked an idea.

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia.com

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia.com)

Local farmers complained about a bird called the red-fronted macaw that would consume crops like peanuts or maize. The farmers quickly tried to come up with ways to kill the birds to keep them from eating the crops, but the Food for the Hungry team had other ideas.

The first goal was to keep the birds away from the farmers and their crops. Food for the Hungry helped teach locals how to keep the birds away and how to produce even more crops so that they could easily afford to lose a little to the macaws.

The team continued to build a case with the locals, convincing them that they could turn these birds into a source of income. Kids at school decorated posters announcing, “The red-fronted macaw is your friend!”

Photo Courtesy Food for the Hungry

(Photo courtesy Food for the Hungry)

Finally the team got to work. They discovered the breeding area of the red-fronted macaw and built an observation deck overlooking the canyon. Every morning, the macaws would leave the cliffs as a massive flock, returning together every night.

Birdwatchers and tourists were enthralled by the colorful birds, and the local people were trained as rangers and guides to help show travelers around. Even the existing jobs prospered, as nearby shops and restaurants received more customers.

As a final blessing, the government decided to build a better road to Torotoro, allowing more visitors to see the macaws. The farmers that had once attempted to kill off what they thought were pests now use the road to transport their produce to markets, and their profit has increased.

As incomes grow, the villagers are thankful that they can feed their children better food, and it’s all thanks to a missions team, a flock of birds, and a God that works in remarkably unique ways. Now Food for the Hungry has an opportunity to share the gospel with the community and teach them about the glories of His creation and the compassion of His mercy.


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