Casa Angelina Orphanage, Chimaltenango, Guatemala (March 16-24)

These are just a few on the children at Casa Angelina. Many of these children were abandoned at landfills in Guatemala.

These are just a few on the children at Casa Angelina. Many of these children were abandoned at landfills in Guatemala.

Agua Viva spent our Spring Break at the Casa Angelina orphanage in Chimaltenango.  We engaged 22 volunteers from the United States and 6 translators from Guatemala.  Our work was richly blessed and most of us agree that we hit a “direct bull’s eye” with our mission statement.

The water team installed a LWftW water purification and bottling system at the orphanage for about 120 children.  In addition, one of the 10 existing homes on the property received a point-of-use Sterilight Ultraviolet Filtration system for cooking, drinking, teeth brushing, and baby care.  Many of our volunteers worked on the Education Team.  One of our teams provided training for six new adult educators.  Two other Education Teams provided health and spiritual education for Casa Angelina and several classrooms at the local Tululche Public School.

Agua Viva was greatly blessed to bring a dentistry team who, along with a team of assistants, served the needs of the orphanage and surrounding community during the week.   For many of these beautiful children, this was their first visit to a dentist.  Our dentist provided 19 fillings, 49 extractions, and 120 teeth cleanings.  What a week!!

Agua Viva was also able to expand our ministry in multiple ways over the course of this March week. First of all, we included two young adults from Freedom Fire Inner City Ministries in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  Aheem  Kimmons and Nicholas Cacy joined the team and this was Aheem’s first time to “get on an airplane”.   “The takeoff was pretty smooth, but the landing was a little scary”, said Aheem.

Secondly, the bottled water from the new system will be shared with 10 widows in the local community around the orphanage. What Matters Ministries, which runs the orphanage, had previously sponsored the construction of small, cinder block homes for these widows who have very little means of support. Agua Viva sponsored dispenser stands for the five gallon water bottles for each of these homes to assist with effective and clean usage of the water.

Lastly, our LWftW purification and bottling systems are dependent on an adequate water supply to begin with and Casa Angelina has struggled some with the existing wells on its property. They have been raising funds to hand dig a new well that is expected to become the primary, future source for the growing population at the orphanage. Agua Viva volunteers were so moved by this need that they pledged approximately two-thirds of the remaining funding needed for this project!


Ecuador  (October 19-27)

On October 27, 2013, Agua Viva returned from Ecuador after completing two successful installations in Gompuene and Jipongato.  “Las dos sistemas” are fully operational and they look wonderful.  Overcoming overwhelming odds and a myriad of surprises, our God showed himself to each of us, and on celebration day, we were “making water”.  Yeah!!
In Gompuene, Curt Mader lead the Team with Dale Bain, Daryl Taylor, Brian Seabaugh, and George Wuertz.  Gompuene was recently hit by a devastating landslide and Agua Viva was headlined in the local newspapers for playing an important role in their recovery.
In Jipongato, Daryl Taylor lead the Team with Shawn Caton and Dan Taylor. After two full days without power in the village, the Team learned how to install concrete anchors “by hand”.  Guess what?  You don’t need near as many concrete anchors when you inIMG_4918stall them by hand.
Agua Viva was also blessed to have two wonderful dentists join the trip.  Dr. Craig Gaugh from Mankato, Minnesota, and Raquel Poz Dias from Cantel, Guatemala, joined the team to provide much needed dentistry in both communities. Our dentists saw 86 patients completing 56 extractions, 47 cleanings and 3 consultations.  They couldn’t have done it without the help of Brittany Moroney, our on-the-job trained hygienist.
The complete Education Program was presented at both sites and all Educators were proudly awarded Certificates of Completion.  Agua Viva had the special blessing of Elena Fernandez and Rosa Fernandez actually teaching at Gompuene.  This solved a major logistical problem of the Team, and guess what?  They speak Quechue!!  That was a big plus!
Neither community had public restrooms.  So, Agua Viva was able to raise enough money to have restrooms constructed in both communities.  Public restrooms are vital to the public health in these villages.  Good sanitation practice was taught at both sites and Agua Viva believes this will make a giant impact in their public health.
Fund raising was very successful.  Our faithful contributors and our constituency never cease to amaze us.  God has been very faithful, always exceeding our greatest expectations.
Agua Viva believes our trips are two missions in one.  First, we serve the communities in our host country.  But, secondly, we change the lives of our Volunteers and our Contributors.  We truly are a “local” charity… providing mission for hundreds of friends and supporters right here in Johnson County, Kansas.
Maritza Yanez has been our “boots on the ground” in Ecuador.  She has worked tirelessly for the poor and she has proved herself to be “invaluable”.  The Agua Viva Team is so thankful for her help and participation.

Ecuador: Opportunity in Gompuene
(Update January 7, 2014)

Agua Viva received a disconcerting message from Maritza Yanez on Monday, January 6, 2014, regarding our Water System Installation in Gompuene, Ecuador.  In an effort to be completely transparent regarding this matter, Agua Viva has shared below a detailed assessment of this matter and our path forward.
Ms. Yanez informed us that other communities surrounding Gompuene, Ecuador, strongly objected to our Water Installation insisting that Agua Viva did NOT seek the necessary approval from all of the leaders having jurisdiction in the surrounding communities.  A large gathering of community leaders took place and the leaders insisted that our Water Installation be “immediately removed” from the site. The water purification system was therefore immediately “and peacefully” removed and it has been relocated to a “safe” place. There was nothing operationally wrong with the system.
First of all, this has never happened to Agua Viva before.  It is difficult to understand all of the “unwritten” rules and regulations associated with these “loosely held” communities.
In response to this “bad news”, Agua Viva would like to inform all of our constituents of the following:

  1. Agua Viva DID have a signed, dated, fully executed covenant with the community leaders where the Water System was installed.  Agua Viva always requires a covenant prior to an installation.  Agua Viva is attempting to understand the “un-written laws” that may be dictating their decision to dismantle the system.
  2. Agua Viva is determined to re-act out of Love, Kindness, and Humility.  Agua Viva intends to do everything possible to “mend all fences” and restore trust between Agua Viva and ALL of the surrounding communities.
  3. Agua Viva will offer to relocate the Water System to an alternative “neutral” location within the Gompuene area where even more citizens can benefit.  A new covenant will be required and surrounding communities will also be signatory to any new agreements.
  4. Agua Viva has contacted Living Waters for the World for advice.  LWftW has already responded with encouragement and Agua Viva will protect our important relationship with LWftW.  Agua Viva carefully follows LWftW guidelines and Agua Viva will be keeping them informed of the status and progress in Gompuene.
  5. Maritza Yanez has done an excellent job communicating on our behalf in this matter and she seems willing to continue to do so.  Our heartfelt thanks has been offered to her for her hard work and her support of Agua Viva in the country of Ecuador.