Today we completed follow-up trips for all of our Agua Viva Water Sites in central Ecuador. Site after site, we heard and observed first-hand, the same thing from our friends, “The water system is working great. Thank you so much”. Without exception, all our sites were 100% operative, clean, and cranking out water.
Our proudest moment was when two our school projects, Pomachaca and Flores, both with about 500 students, exclaimed that absenteeism had dropped to a new amazing low level, beyond what either of the principals ever thought possible.
Every site asked us to come back more often; not for repairs, but to celebrate a life changing event: improved health, economic gain, new hope, and increased motivation.
That certainly makes it all worth it. It is a lot of work to make it happen on the United States side and it takes a lot of volunteers, but, the payback is enormous. God never said, “It will be easy or comfortable”.
Speaking for our entire team, we wish we could do more installations. We just aren’t doing enough to help our Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus.
Today, we had a spectacular day! Our team visited a remote village called Atahualpa, Guamote, Ecuador, where a rather large school is nestled in the mountains at 12,500 Feet Elevation.
The children welcomed us like royalty and are hearts were touched at how accepting they were of this team of complete strangers. It is amazing how happy there are, living with so few possessions.
After a few hours of negotiations, and trust building, the community leaders signed a covenant with Agua Viva and we promised to return to provide a complete water purification system. Our team is feeling very blessed today and we all took in the beauty of this place knowing that we had all somehow grown closer to God.
Our new friends were equally impressed that two of our team members were Quechue; this always opens a few doors.
Our last treat of the day, was a grand tour of their husbandry operation where they raise conejos (rabbits) and cuy (guinea pigs). This is big business for these people and quite the delicacy. I made the big mistake of asking, “Is it a boy or girl!!”.
About an hour drive North of a village called Puyo, Ecuador, and in the Amazon rain forest, there is the most surprising place; A university. This is a special university called Universidad Estatal Amazonica. There are 5,000 students. The tuition is “free”. The students are all Quechue indigenous people. These people are drinking water right out of the river and they have invited Agua Viva to install a new purification and ozonation system to serve the students at this campus.
The purpose of this university is to research and invent ways to use the natural resources of the Amazon rain forest and to learn new ways to preserve its splendor. Dr. Edison Samaniego, PhD., the Dean of the university wants Agua Viva to teach the Quechue students “how to install water purification systems” in other Quechue communities. Our team had a great discussion with the Dean. Dale Bain explained how our purification system worked and Elena Fernandez explained our health and hygiene program. They are VERY interested.
We all stared in amazement at the beauty of this place. Flowers everywhere… Birds… Fish…. Ants. It was incredible. Our new friends were very pleased that we had a full-blooded Quechue team member and they were ready to sign a covenant on-the-spot. Unfortunately, they must get in line. Other sites must be installed before we can organize another team to go to Ecuador. But, we plan to return to this place.. Ojala!
Our Agua Team has arrived in Ecuador for site investigations and followup visits. Agua Viva now has five full installations in Ecuador and we have made many friends! What a joy to bring pure clean drinking water to these beautiful people and their communities.
Our first folllowup trip was to Jipongato which is located high in the Cloud Forests. We stopped along the way to enjoy the mountaneous beauty and to take our first team photo.
When we arrived at the site, we were so pleased to find the water system (installed in 2014, fully operative and clean as a whistle. Speaking of whistles, Dale Bain had the great idea of passing out whistles to the children. Wow, was that ever fun.
Back on track we soon met up with Moises who hosted us 2-1/2 years ago during the installation. He is the chief operator. The community is now building a new much larger church and Luiz is the new Pastor of the church. It is great to see them growing and so happy. We had a great time.
We presented several gifts to Moises and Luiz, and in return, they took us to the most beautiful place in Ecuador: Los Cascades (waterfalls) high up in the Cloud Forest. It was an 800 meter climb. Elena Fernandez joined us on the trip up the mountain.
Agua Viva International (AVI) approaches The Crisis by providing health and hygiene education and curriculum typically to the women of the community, installing sustainable water purification systems, and delivering purified water to communities of need. Therein sharing the love of Jesus Christ. Agua Viva International creates opportunities for partnering with local people to be a part this cause and witness the need and solution first hand.
The water purification system is provided by Living Waters for the World (LWW, LivingWatersfortheWorld.org) . It is a system that is tested in the field with over 1000 installations around the world. There is a network of installations and support personnel to support the installations.
The LWW system can provide clean water to a community of up to 3000 people for less than $10 per person.
The Agua Viva Team arrived in Quisgualagua, Hoduras, today, Sunday, just in time for church. God was with us and it was such a pleasure to meet our new friends. It was also troubling to see the extreme poverty in the area and I think we were all wondering what God has in store for us this week.
The Water Room is ready. It was painted a pretty blue. The bottling table was completely installed with bottle washer, three floor drains, lights, tanks, bottles, everything. What a surprise and what a blessing. Victor Galo has worked very hard with Pastor Jamileth to get things ready to go!
Volunteer Steve Wagner immediately started assembling the Dental Chair (donated by Church of the Resurrection). Our new dentist, Dr. Isreal Mejia, is ready to go with his own personal assistants Volunteer Andrea Sester and Guatemala Volunteer Ana Van Seumeren. Dr. Mejia is meeting with the local elementary school in the morning to begin fluoridating the children’s little teeth.
All our 16 suitcases are safe at the church and we are ready for an early start tomorrow.
Our two Translators, Paul and Melissa, are doing a great job. Mario Mejia, from Guatemala, is also here and it is a great comfort to us all to see our good friend again.