Meet Fabian Umenda, Cofán Coordinator for Sinangüe


Photo: Alex Goff

Fabian Umenda grew up in the Cofán community of Sinangüe, on the banks of the Aguarico River in the lush green foothills of the Andes Mountains. He is married and has three young daughters. Fabian spends his time working in his garden— growing yucca and plantains— hunting, and fishing. In his free time, Fabian likes to fish in the Aguarico River with harpoon guns that he makes himself. He says he became inspired to make the guns when he met some Colombian fishermen that used harpoon guns to fish. He really liked the idea and decided to make one himself. He found that he could replicate and even improve upon the design. Now, Cofán men from his community and others buy Fabian's harpoon guns. As ClearWater coordinator for Sinangüe, Fabian was present for every stage in the installation of rain catchment systems in his community; helping to transport materials by canoe to houses along the river and informing the Nationalities Coordinator if materials or tools were missing. Thanks to Fabian’s hard work, the installation of 24 rainwater systems was a smooth process. Now, every family in Sinangüe has access to clean drinking water. Fabian says he was proud to work as coordinator for his community. "Having clean water is the most important thing for our people," he said, as the sunlight sparkled on the river and illuminated the blue-green mountains. "Without clean water, we cannot live well."