Huehuetanango Team Reflections: The Water Team

The Water TeamIMAG0271

Thanks to Dale, Harold, Nick and Elena, the Agua Viva system is installed and operational. The well water at Fundación Salvación is now being filtered and disinfected with ozone. The kids at the orphanage now drink water that is clean, safe and healthy.

As soon as we arrived we learned that no water lines were connected from the well to the water room. Harold, Nick and Elena started on the real work of constructing the water system, while Dale consulted with staff at Fundacion Salvacion. Nick and Elena worked to lay (actually hang from the roof) pipe from the only water source on property to the water room, as Dale and Harold consulted with Rodrigo, one of the men on staff at the orphanage assigned to become one of the system operators to learn how the water is sourced. The first thing Rodrigo explained that they have a dual system, and they also soon learned that it is under capacity, in disrepair, leaking and often overwhelmed. It is also contributing to the underground water table that the orphanage’s well draws from. So while learning where our drain water was going we also learned where their well water was coming from.

For several years, Fundacion Salvacion has been operating with the same well and pump, and water had been flowing poorly as of late. The leaders thought that the drought was the source of the lack of water. And there is a drought when it should be rainy season, but that was only part of the issue. It turns out that the well pump was so clogged with mud and sediment that it only operated intermittently. They thought it was on a timer. But in reality, they just needed a new pump and a deeper well! They would not have known the source of the problem had we not been there. And they could not have gotten it fixed as quickly and affordably if we weren’t there with extra hands and equipment. Our mission was initially to install a water purification system…but we ended up doing that as well as building connecting pipe from the well, helping with the well repair, securing the water tanks to avoid theft, and more.

It’s amazing how the timing lined up perfectly, and our team did such a good job working late hours to make a lasting impact on this site. Now they not only have clean water for their kids, but they can use the water system as a form of income for the foundation. How awesome is that!?

Huehuetanango Team Refections: Education and Evangelism

The Education Team:

Jared, Deanna, and Nancy along with interpreters Anna and Stephanie, trained a group of four adult Guatemalan teachers to share the principles of hygiene to the rest of the community, using the curriculum that AVI compiled. These teachers were so great. They took the material and really made it their own. As the adult educators presented information they learned to students, both students and educators were very engaged and responsive.  Everyone especially enjoyed acting out the Bible story, “Crossing the Red Sea!”  We are confident they’re going to do a great job and help change the attitude of the community with regard to the need to use of purified water for drinking, brushing teeth, cooking and childcare.

The Evangelism Team:

On the evangelism side of things, Nick and I (Jared Orr) had the chance to pray with several different individuals in the marketplace and at a local college. The reactions varied. A couple of the ladies in the marketplace started crying because they were having trouble making ends meet. But no matter who we were praying with, we made sure that they knew that a relationship with Jesus was what they needed most. I look forward to doing even more evangelism on the next trip. I think this trip was a “priming of the pump” for Agua Viva evangelism. God was clearly moving in the interactions that we had.
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Huehuetanango Team Reflections – The Dental Team

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The Dental Team

Lea and Jim (team members) and Raquel and Wendy (Locals from Guatemala) comprised the very dynamic and hard working dental team.  Jim was the set up man, while Lea assisted Raquel and Wendy, the dentists who serve with AVI, but live in Guatemala.  Their friend and fellow dental student, Neddy, also joined the team for two days.  In just three and a half days the team completed 243 fillings, and 176 extractions.  The operation of the dental clinic was seamless.  Even the younger children who were frightened to come, were calmed by Wendy and Raquel’s sweet, reassuring nature.  We are so blessed to be able to provide this very needed service to children and adults who otherwise do no have access.

Lea Watson’s Testimony:

I had no idea what to expect when signing up for this mission trip. I was looking for a mission experience to go on with my daughter who is a civil engineer student. I wanted to volunteer for a medical/child base mission and my daughter wanted to volunteer with environment issues. Agua Viva was the perfect match for us. My daughter worked on the instillation of a water system and I was assisting 2 fabulous Guatemalan dentist. My background is in the medical field and so cleaning, disinfecting, and setting up sterile fields was not foreign to me, but learning and helping with dental work was awesome.

We saw about 90 children and staff from the orphanage and put in long hours. Knowing that we help these people who otherwise would not have this care is enlightening. The staff at the orphanage and my mission team actually showed my what working for the Lord means. I LOVED my experience, I love the children and staff at the orphanage, I love my mission team, and I am thankful that God gave me the opportunity to serve and learn. It is amazing to me that when you go to help others in need that you yourself are the one who come back with more than you give.

Huehuetanango Team Reflections- The Orphanage

The Orphanage- June 12th, 2016

On Sunday morning we loaded all 16 bags as well as carry-ons onto the bus for the relatively quick jaunt to Huehuetenango, usually about 1-2 hours.  Due to washed out roads, stops by the vegetable insect police, (seriously!) and rain, the drive ended up taking much longer and we finally arrived early afternoon.

Alycia Harrah, the director of Fundacion Salvacion Children’s Home greeted the weary travelers and gave us a tour of the grounds, showing us where our teams would work.  She calls it a Children’s home rather than an orphanage because the caregivers become parents for the children, so in essence they are no longer orphans, but a part of the family at Fundacion Salvacion.  FS is home to 85 children ages 4 months to 18 years of age.  Each “family” is made up of parents and 10- 15 is the biggest family with 17.  Alycia is only 23 years old herself, and has been running the home for 4 years.  As she says, the leaders are all young and inexperienced, so all the good that happens here is straight from the LORD. And he gets all the credit!  Amen!

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Alisha had been praying for creative opportunities for the orphanage to become more self-sustaining…to make their own revenue so that they wouldn’t be dependent on donations alone. As an answer to prayer, the Lord had put it on the heart of a New York businessman to purchase them a coffee roasting machine for them to roast and sell their own coffee. The group from New Year also gifted FS with a completely furnished coffee house, very much like a Starbucks.  This small business not only gives FS some additional income, but gives the older children jobs as baristas and cooks. It has become a very popular venue for Huehuetenango natives as well as mission teams.  On Sunday, our team had the pleasure of spending some time at “El Fuego” enjoying a long lunch and coffee specials.  One of the girls who cooks is also enrolled in a chef’s program and she created the menu.IMG_4613

The orphanage itself consists of about two blocks of land. Basketball courts, a playground, and a garden are surrounded by dorm rooms and offices. It is completely gated with razor wire on all sides. Believe it or not, several children in the city have been kidnapped on their way home from school in recent years, so they didn’t want to take any chances in that sort of environment.

The ages of the children ranged from infant to 18 years old. At the very beginning, we were warned that some of the kids have major attachment issues. In o
ther words, they will cling to anyone who gives them attention…so we had to be conscious to avoid being overly affectionate, especially with hugs, picking them up, etc. That was hard for me! But I think we struck a good balance.

Huehuetanango Team Reflections: Getting There

The following are stories gathered from members of Agua Viva’s recent trip to Huehuetanango, Guatemala. Stay tuned over the course of the next 5 weeks for the series of reflections.

Getting There: June 11th, 2016 

On June 11, ten well-equipped Americans arrived at KCI at 4:00am to fly to Guatemala City via Houston.  By well equipped, I mean we were loaded with 16 checked bags with water purification equipment, educational supplies, peanut butter and jelly just in case, dental equipment, including lydacaine, syringes, and other questionable items.  Extra bags (we had 6) now cost a shocking $84 each.  We are looking for ways to transport less equipment and store more things in country to lower these costs, but you can’t always find K-Y Jelly (for the o-rings in the system!) in country as we learned.  Ideas are welcome!

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We hustled through our connecting flight in the Houston airport lugging the dental unit which Jared protected with his life as a carry-on, to make our quick connection to Guatemala City.

Upon entering the security checkpoint in Guatemala, a camo-dressed guard approached the group.We were nervous for a second until we noticed that he was wearing a big smile. He introduced himself… he said that he knew we were Christians, because he could sense the Holy Spirit as soon as we stepped in the room. He told us more about himself and complimented us on being willing to take the good news of Jesus to his country. That was our first ten minutes in Guatemala.

We collected our bags and were delighted to see Mario’s face peering through the crowd to receive us and guide us to the bus. Settling in for the usual 30 minute drive though the city, we spent three hours trying to get OUT of Guatemala City traffic.

We learned that Saturaday afternoon traffic is horrendous turning our four hour itenerary into about 7 hours.  We finally arrived in Quetzaltenango, our first overnight stop.  Hotel Anna in Xela (Quetzaltenango) was quiet, very comforable, and we all slept soundly.

 

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