Scouts and Scientology Volunteer Ministers partner to help the people of the Amazon
Only days after the Scientology Volunteer Ministers and Cuauhtémoc Scout leaders arrived in Iquitos, Peru, the worst flooding in fifteen years hit the area. Here is the story of what they did to help the people of the region.
A team of Scientologists from Mexico City joined forces with Troop 333 of the Cuauhtémoc Scouts in a Scientology Volunteer Ministers Goodwill Tour to provide the people of the Amazon with precise methods of improving their lives. Trained in practical techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard they set off for Iquitos, Peru, the gateway to the Amazon, on the last day of April 2009. Little did they know they were heading into the teeth of a natural disaster.
By mid-April, weeks of heavy rains had caused the Amazon River to reach the highest levels since Peru’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Institute began keeping records. The National Civil Defense Institute, anticipating what was about to come, urged citizens to map out evacuation routes from their villages to higher ground.
The Volunteer Ministers/Scouts team went to work. They organized food and medical supplies distribution in shelters and helped people get settled. With immediate physical needs under control, they began their real work—providing Scientology assists to the evacuees. Assists are procedures developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that address the emotional and spiritual factors in stress, trauma, illness and injury.
For the next two months, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Goodwill Tour worked alongside civil defense organizing food distribution, maintaining the shelters and, with the Red Cross, providing first aid. They also trained local Scouts as Volunteer Ministers who joined the Goodwill Tour team in their invaluable services.
Before long, civil defense staff noticed a sharp contrast between the Volunteer Ministers’ shelters and others: the Volunteer Ministers’ shelters were emptying out. In other shelters evacuees were generally despondent and confused, not certain about the future—and not leaving the shelter to return to their lives. Those in the Volunteer Ministers’ shelters, on the other hand, were optimistic, even cheerful. The residents worked together in teams, planning construction projects to rebuild their homes, looking for and finding new jobs, and moving back to their homes as quickly as possible. They were getting on with life.
Word spread further and soon officials from the cities of Nauta and Punchana contacted the Volunteer Ministers and asked them to give seminars on Study Technology and the basics of communication in local schools. Some 1,800 students later, before the Goodwill team continued on their Amazon River tour, the school administration presented them with letters of introduction and recommendation, encouraging other schools to implement the Study Technology and communication program for their students as well.
Also acknowledging the Volunteer Ministers/Scouts effective work, the civil defense and the Red Cross presented the Volunteer Ministers with letters of appreciation recommending that their sister organizations in other Amazon River communities welcome the Volunteer Ministers and their valuable services.