Guatemala Vision Tour Shines a Light
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean ... I will cleanse you." - Ezekiel 36:25
Norm and Ann Naylor in Guatemala.
During the vision tour I looked forward to observing and exploring the Living Waters for the World (LWW) installations sites in Guatemala City and the surrounding areas, knowing the tour would be interesting and informative. It was much more than that. Three elements of the tour were actually mind blowing! They include the “leader” on the premises of LWW installation, the system operator, and the users/clients. Let’s take them one at a time.
Local leaders At the first school we visited, as introductions were being made, it was the principal’s story which caught my attention. About five years ago, although close to retirement, she learned of LWW’s clean water systems and became the lead champion in pursuing the “powers that be” in order to have such a system installed at her school. She wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Persistence paid off. She is very proud, passionately proud, of her school and the education they provide. She is committed to her “healthy” and active students as well as the community they serve by providing clean water. Oh, her retirement ... it’s been postponed yet again. There is still more to do.
Standing proudly in front of the water system for which Ms. Ingrid postponed retirement are (left to right) Ingma Teresa Marroquin, ministry of education; Ms. Ingrid, Los Cerritos School principal; and Luis, 6th grade teacher and water system operator.
Water System Operators
Each LWW installation has a system operator, usually a staff member of the facility who takes “ownership” of the system, ensuring that it is properly run and keeping detailed records. This individual commits to learning, building, and maintaining the LWW clean water system with the guidance of their US-based water team and LWW's in-country staff. He (or she) takes ownership of the system. It is his “baby.” Initially, the system operator at one school would put one 5-gallon bottle on a bicycle and deliver clean water to members of the community. Now having upgraded the mode of transportation to a motorcycle, he can strap three 5-gallon bottles. This cuts his delivery time in half. The cost per bottle is minimum, just enough to cover the cost of supplies to keep the system working.
Proceeds from the sale of water has enabled St. Bartolome School to upgrade from a bicycle to this motorcycle in order to deliver more clean water to the surrounding community.
The Users – Children, Parents, and Members of the Community
This is where the spotlight shines the brightest. It was an awesome sight to see the school children running, jumping, shouting, and giggling. They were happy; they were healthy. It is a sight of sheer joy. The children love coming to school. Absenteeism has been diminished to the point of being almost non-existent. They love learning. Teachers ensure that the usage of clean water is paramount in their lesson plan. Each classroom, as well as the office has a jug of the clean water. And there is clean water in their homes.
St. Bartolome students were full of energy during our visit.
These boys, and all St. Bartolome students, have safe drinking water thanks to their school's LWW water system.
The vision tour to Guatemala renewed my commitment to LWW; renewed my commitment to the staff of LWW; and above all to the dedicated volunteers who give so much of their time and talent to bring clean water to our brothers and sisters in Guatemala and other areas of the world.