Like many Arhuaco people that were displaced during the 60-year civil war in Colombia before him, Vinci and his family sought to find more fertile land than where they were living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. Eventually, they found an area suitable for farming, and it was there that he declared his desire to establish a village on the land. However, the area was owned by others and his own Arhuaco people told him he would never succeed in obtaining it. But, over time he went on to amass the funds he needed to peacefully buy the land, achieving his dream and expanding the Arhucaco people’s lands.
Today, the village is called Gunchukwa (sometimes referred to Pueblo Nuevo or “new village”) and approximately 800 people live in the area. Several years ago USAID built a school there, but it has no electricity. A health clinic is located in a spare room in a house, and the organization that supplies medical services and immunizations, Wintukwa IPSI, is seeking to build a new clinic and buy more land to again peacefully and legally reclaim ancient Arhuaco lands.
Vinci and Dr. Laudelino Pacheco, a dentist with Wintukwa, were instrumental in bringing SELF to the community of Gunchukwa in order to begin finding a way to provide solar power to the school, health clinic and a microenterprise center. If it were not for him and his vision for his people, many in the community would not have the opportunities to improve their lives by getting an education and proper health care. Truly, one man can make a difference.