Blog Two; Into the Amazon

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!

Blog One; Jipongato 2017

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.

2016 Year in Review

Writing this post it is hard not to get emotional! God has done so much through this organization, touched so many lives, decreased disease and malnutrition risks for so many children as well as brought us into new uncharted territories! We could never have dreamed 6 years ago that installing one little water purification system at an orphanage in Guatemala would have birthed such an impact just 6 years later.  Agua Viva is reaching more and more poor communities and our capability is expanding rapidly. Our volunteers just got back from Ecuador on September 23 and are now packing for our next trip to Honduras on October 22nd. It is amazing that our Volunteers are able to serve so many people in so many different countries.  “Clean drinking water” truly is a universal necessity! Below is a quick recap of all we have accomplished in 2016.

Guatemala
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This year, 10 Agua Viva Volunteers provided our first full installation in an orphanage in Huehuetenago, Guatemala. One hundred orphans are now drinking purified water, literally, for the first time in their lives. It was an amazing trip. Agua Viva provided health, hygiene, and dental care training to a full house of new teachers. Our friends were surprised to see that we came equipped with two “full blown” dentists with a full complement of equipment, materials, and supplies. They are already selling water! It is a real joy to see these concrete results so quickly!

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In Ecuador, Curt Mader is leading our next volunteer group to a large school in Pomachaca, Ecuador. The school is beautiful and it is hard to believe that these 500 children have never been taught the importance of clean drinking water; nor have they had the opportunity to drink it. Agua Viva has been so blessed in Ecuador. We have our largest of group of in-country volunteers there and we have very strong group of leaders there are committed to serving the poor.

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To top it off, we have a large volunteer group headed to Quisgualagua, Honduras, on October 22, 2016. Again, we are providing water purification systems, education, and dental services. And, yes, we are taking precautions against the Zika virus! This is undoubtedly one of the poorest areas we have served. In cooperation with the Methodist Church, Agua Viva will be providing our very first installation in Honduras, just 10 miles from Nicaragua.

Tanzania, Africa2016-01-22_9-15-48

In April of this year, Agua Viva sent a small team to Zinga, Tanzania. In a brand new children’s hospital, Agua Viva signed a covenant and agreed to provide a water purification system there in 2017. This will expand Agua Viva to three continents! That is a big step. There are lots of new challenges there but one thing is NOT different; their need for pure clean ozonated water. Can you imagine a “hospital” with no clean water? Well, we are going to fix that!

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The same team visited two orphanages in Kenya. We have great opportunity there and we hope to return… soon… We are building relationships there and we have 1,000 orphans waiting for Agua Viva to grow enough to respond to the needs. One thousand people died in this area in January of this year from Cholera… a water borne disease.

Please, please, please… if you have not already purchased tickets to our Annual Agua Viva Celebration please do so now by clicking on this link: www.aguavivainternational.org. 100% of the proceeds will go directly toward bringing clean water to those in need!

Ecuador 2017-18

Atahualpa, Ecuador

On March 1st,2017, AVI signed a covenant to install a water system in Atahualpa, Ecuador. This small agricultural community is located in the canton of Guamote, the poorest canton in Ecuador. The pride of the community is the local school which is an agricultural vocational school. While there the school gave us a tour of their fields and barns where students are taught, hands-on, efficient and sustainable agricultural practices. In the fields we saw how the students were learning irrigation as well as growing a wide variety of potatoes, garden vegetables, herbs and even beekeeping. We also saw the barns where they teach raising rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. The AVI water system will be on school property and operated and maintained by the school to serve the whole community. AVI is planning a February, 2018 installation for this system.

Exciting New Expansion into Africa

We at Agua Viva are often asked how we determine where our next installation will be and honestly the best answer is… “We go wherever we believe God is calling us to go”.  All of the members of the Agua Viva team would agree that thus far we have been faithful to this calling and now we believe God is opening the door for Agua Viva to expand into Africa.

Call it a miracle or call it a coincidence, a huge opportunity to provide clean drinking water in Tanzania and Kenya has blossomed.

Tanzania, Africa:

2016-01-22_9-14-23Through a series of events, which began with the amazing Miranga Tree and a host of new relationships in Africa, we have begun a wonderful partnership with Paula and Dennis Lofstrom of the International Health Providers (IHP). Paula and Dennis have invited Agua Viva to install a water purification system at one of IHP’s brand new hospitals in Zinga, Tanznaia.  The hospital is under construction now and our qualification team will be headed to Tanzania in April 2016.

Agua Viva.Childrens Hospital ZingaThis hospital in Zinga will provide the first opportunity for thousands of women in Tanzania to obtain hospital care! This new installation will give all the women, children and babies who use this hospital access to pure ozonated water. This new installation will also bring about unique opportunities for the Agua Viva team to educate and empower women in the community through health and sanitation education. Needless to say… we are very excited!

Kenya, Africa:

2016-01-22_9-15-48Just in case we were not excited enough another opportunity has appeared.  During our qualification visit to Tanzania, our team will be visiting two large orphanages in Kinsumu, Kenya.  Both orphanages have over 400 orphaned children and none have ever had clean drinking water.  Largely due to the efforts of Jack Finley, Colby Kinser (Grace Fellowship Church), and Justin Bothwell (www.hungry4Him.org), the Agua Viva Qualification Team will drive through the Masai Mar Big Game Reservation in Kenya to these remote orphanages in Ahero and Washara, Kenya.   This is yet another amazing adventure as we follow God’s calling to bring Pure Clean Ozonated Water to Africa.

Thank you for all your support, prayers and encouragement as we continue to follow our mission to bring pure ozonated water, health and sanitation education and the love of God to our brothers and sisters abroad!

The Agua Viva Team

Reflexiones de Moises: Blog 12; The End Is The Beginning

The celebration was amazing.  Over 500 people showed up for one of our “largest ever” dedications.  We had kids, adults, teenagers, dogs, and from every “walk of life”.  Agua Viva paid 21deAbril to purchase sandwiches for everyone.  A rather large team spent several hours making all of the sandwichs.  And, to drink???  Pure clean ozonated water for everyone.  And, boy, did they like it.Ecuador March 2015 Blog 12a
We passed out certificates to our newly trained operators and educators.  The first certificates these wonderful people have ever received.  We shook their hands, handed them their certificates, gave them a beautiful new Agua Viva hat… and well… we hugged.
The children all got their hands in the paint and left their handprints on the new banner which proudly hangs in their classroom today.
Ecuador March 2015 Blog 12bThe choir from Promesa Divina drove all of the way from Colta Monjas to Flores to sing (in Quechua, of course).
We dedicated our water system to God… and then, we left.  Was this the beginning… or the end.  You decide.  The end of our week and our labor was the beginning of a new era in the lives of these people.  Where whole communities can, for the first time in their life, drink water free from parasites, free from bacteria, crystal clear, and very healthy… for the first time in their life…. Cheers !  J

Reflexiones de Moises: Blog 11; We Will Come…

Some things just can’t be expressed in words.  It is kind of like, seeing the Grand Canyon.  It is so huge, you just can’t describe it.  No one can understand how big it is without seeing it.  There are simply no words, no pictures, you just have to be there to fully appreciate it.
We humbly suggested to Promesa Divina that “it sure would be nice… if your choir could come sing at our Dedication Ceremony”.  You have to understand, that Promesa Divina is a long ways from Flores.  How is this even possible?  Transportation at 12,000 feet elevation and up and down the Andes Mountains is just very challenging.  Who is going to pay for gas?  Are you joking?Ecuador March 2015 Blog 11
Well, they were not joking and they said, “We will come!”  It all started with a two hour bumpy bus ride up and down the mountains, but , “Wow” was it wonderful.  Singing in Quechua and in full indigenous dress, that wonderful group of ladies just sang their hearts out.  And, the hills were alive with the Sound of Music.  One community in Colta Monjas was reaching out to another community in Flores.  That was real magic.  They had never met before and now they are there to support each other AND themselves.  Lifting themselves up and lifting each other up.  This is perfect science in my book.
Yes, we will come.  Boy, I need to practice that!  Yes, I will come.  Yes, I will help.  Yes, I know I am busy, but I love you and I will comfort you.  And, I will come!

Relexiones de Moises: Blog 10; What Love is This…

Things started coming together on Thursday, just in time for the celebration.  In walks a gentleman with Senor Gustavo.  Calloused hands, skin like leather, a workman’s clothing, scorched face… He has lived a hard life.   Everything about the looks of this gentleman tells the story of his life.  Nothing comes easy in Flores, Ecuador.  He wanted to meet.Ecuador March 2015 Blog 10a
With his hat in his hand and tear in his eye, he proceeded to tell us, from the bottom of his heart, how much this water means to him and his community.  He could not thank us enough.  “We promise to take care of the water purification system.  We are going to provide water to all 28 communities.”
When we finished talking he stood up and hugged me.  There is just something about that moment; being hugged by a grown man, a man tough as nails, and so sincere.  Sometimes I wonder if I have ever been so sincere.  As we wrapped our work, we knew that something special was taking place this day.
Ecuador March 2015 Blog 10bWhat love is this?  Not romantic love… Not family love… Much deeper than friendship.  It is love born of service and sharing and sacrifice.  I am not sure I experience this kind of love anyplace else.  It is a really marvelous thing.

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 !!!