Guatemala Reflections: My Life in Monjas (part 1)

Author: David Watts, Agua Viva Volunteer and Benefactor

If someone offered you the chance to avoid having intestinal worms I bet you would take it.  That is the reality of the work we (Agua Viva) did in Monjas, Guatemala, a small rural community East of Guatemala City.
It is a comfort to know the work we did and the clean water system installed is just beginning to have an impact.  The system will produce pure water that is free of parasites, contaminates, disease, and “floaty stuff”.  It will allow the children at the “Shadow of his Wings” Orphanage (“SOHWO”) and people in the community to have a healthy source of purified drinking water.  Kids and adults will be sick less often, have a healthier GI system, improved nutrition absorption, and they can avoid having worms.
The Agua Viva team from Kansas City was just 6 guys– businessmen, engineers, administrators, and a retired phone guy.  We teamed up with two trusted Guatemala interpreters and brought SOHWO the ability to create sustainable parasite free clean drinking water.  The system in Monjas, Guatemala will continue to operate needing only electrical power, water source (well water), and some bleach water to clean the bottles.  God had our back the entire way and watched out for us every step (too
many side stories to share heWattsBlog1re).

Saturday 3:00 AM Halloween morning started as planned when Curt Mader picked Mike Springer and I up to head to the airport.  The six man team converged at the airport. Jim Allen and Curt Mader who founded Agua Viva would not be going on this trip. We were breaking new ground and leaving the experts and founders behind. The large, heavy bags loaded with tools and equipment were checked without incident and our small carryon bags for the week were on our backs… with the exception of my carryon roller-bag (old habits die hard).  We left Kansas City at 5:50 AM for the 2 hour flight to Houston and would be in Guatemala City before noon. We were on schedule… or NOT. We ended up in Dallas rather than Houston because of weather.  Six plus hours later we did get to Houston and we did make our original flight to Guatemala (it was delayed too).  It took many more hours to get to Guatemala than expected, therefore our late arrival in Guatemala City changed our plans.  We could not make the 3 ½ hour drive through the mountains in the dark. It would have been dangerous in so many ways.  We found a hostel in Guatemala City near the airport.  When you have seven guys, one woman, and two hotel rooms, what do you do?  Well, you improvise!  Make a bed in the lobby, sleep in the breakfast room with a parrot and double up on the not so spacious beds.  Stephanie our translator did get her own room along with 14 bags of luggage and a frog in her bathroom.  It really was an adventure and I slept well on the couch in the lobby.  Best part of it was, we got to see all of game 4 of the World Series (in Spanish, those announcers get more excited than Joe Buck).
Next: The Team finally arrives at the orphanage!