Reflexiones de Moises: Blog 9; When Life Gives You Lemons…

Just in case you had not heard, Agua Viva installed a water purification system in Gompuene, Ecuador, in the fall of 2013.  We had a signed covenant, a fantastic celebration, and we had high hopes for a productive installation.  Two weeks later, we heard that during a village up-rising, the community demanded that our system be removed or it would be destroyed.  Our team was devastated to hear this news.  This certainly had never happened before.  So, our in-country team immediately travelled to Gompuene and removed the system where it was stored at Maritza Yanez’s home.  In every way, life had given us lemons !!Ecuador March 2015 Blog 9
Then, last fall, 2014, Curt Mader travelled to Gompuene to RE-negotiate with the community to see what went wrong (Thank you, Brother Curt).  This all underscored the importance of Water Diplomacy.  “A New Deal” was reached and Agua Viva agreed to return to the community and RE-install the orphaned system in a Vocational School called 21deAbril Vocational School.
This all left a sour taste in our mouth.  Our hopes had been seemingly dashed.  Why, why, why?
As it turns out, their reasoning was “arguably” justified.  Without getting into the details of “why”, let it suffice to say that, this once abandoned system which only served one single community at Gompuene, is NOW serving 28 communities and it resides in a school with 350 young children.  This system is now providing tenfold the benefit.  This is just the very surface of this amazing blessing.
Ecuador March 2015 Blog 9bOur installation has been such a success at 21deAbril, that Rotary International is considering using this model of “communities feeding schools” as a template for many more installations in Chimborazo; the poorest state in Ecuador.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
We have never had such a celebration.  And, so much goodness, all born from sorrow.

Reflexiones de Moises: Blog 8; Soap and Water

Ah, the things we take for granted.  We have always had lots of soap around and in our culture (in the United States).  I guess it has always been kind of assumed that people should wash with soap.Ecuador March 2015 Blog 8a
But, what if you didn’t have any soap.  What if you didn’t have any water?  Well, it gets kind of complicated.  Agua Viva does not always recommend using soap and we never recommend washing with our pure clean ozonated drinking water.  Education sure is important.
On most trips, Agua Viva collects little soaps from motels and we make “courtesy bags”.  Inside each bag is a “soap”, a wash cloth, a package of dental floss, and an adult toothbrush (adult only, soft, of course).  With a little luck, on our next trip, we may have a children’s match box car… courtesy of our new friend Mr. Cole Tourney (six years old).  Ecuador March 2015 Blog 8bYou see, Cole just had his birthday party.  Instead of birthday presents for himself, he asked for match box cars for our courtesy bags.  Isn’t that amazing!!!  Thank you, Cole.
We are always looking for toothbrushes, dental floss, and soaps.  Bring’em to Jim Allen or your nearest Agua Viva representative !!!

Reflexiones de Moises: Blog 7; Chupacabra

Wednesday was a big day.  While our install team was busy making water, another team was off making a followup visit at one of our most successful sites;  Promesa Divina in Colta Monjas Altos.  While meeting with our friends of several years, we were honored to receive a Bible, written in their native language Quichue.Ecuador March 2015 Blog 7a
During our two hour meeting, we were interrupted by a group of local villagers with an emergency.  The community had been invaded by a Chupacabra.  A Chupacabra is a contemporary mythical creature that presumably sucks the blood from its victims.  38 sheep had been killed in three days even higher up in the local Andes and several families had been devastated by their loss of livestock.  (Photo from Wikipedia)
Well, as it turned out, one our wonderful volunteers, Mr. Steve Wagner, had some experience in forensics, and he was asked to assist with the local investigation.  Away he went, up the mountain for the next eight hours.
Ecuador March 2015 Blog 7bDuring his adventure, Mr. Wagner was allowed to assist with a close up investigation (to say the least), measuring the depth of the puncture wounds, separation of fangs, tracks, and other important evidence.  After a lengthy analysis, it was determined that the culprit was, in fact, a puma.  At times, puma descend from higher elevations in search of food and water, and become more violent in their stressed environment.  Mr. Wagner played an important role in this determination and our new friends were very appreciative.
Agua Viva has learned in the past, that there are many harmful myths in these communities.  This underscores the importance of education and its many challenges.