A full team of ten volunteers arrived in Atahualpa, Ecuador, in May of 2018. This community, named after the great Inca King, tricked and murdered by the Spaniards in the 16th century, was the perfect location for a new Agua Viva Water Purification System. Our new system is already serving 500 students of husbandry; students learning how to raise guinea pigs and rabbits! Fraught with challenges and surprises, our creative volunteers overcame all odds to complete the system in record time. This new system is one of our highest systems at 12,500 feet elevation and declining blood oxygen levels were noticed the second day!
During a comprehensive site investigation with Rotary International in the Guamote state of Ecuador, Agua Viva identified three excellent candidates for a Water Purification System. One of those sites as a consolidated school of 500 students in a remote area of the poorest county of the poorest state of Ecuador… Guamote. Agua Viva took up the challenge and signed a covenant with the school called 29 Septiembre in the city of Pomachaca. Curt Mader lead an outstanding team of volunteers to this remote village driving three hours each day. Enduring long hours of travel and work hours, the team was also challenged by the seemingly never-ending festival in the village. But, by the end of the week…. SUCCESS. Pure clean ozonated water for the entire school of 500 children, FOR THE FIRST TIME!
Agua Viva started the year installing a new water purification system and bottling operation at 21 de Abril Vocational School in Flores, Ecuador. For the first time, this community will be enjoying pure clean ozonated water. What a great day! Over 500 indigenous people flocked to our celebration on Friday. Agua Viva purchased sandwiches for everyone and, yes, the water was free! With eight volunteers from the United States and another 20 volunteers from Ecuador, Agua Viva had plenty of time and plenty of man-power to complete the installation and the week-long education program. To top it off, the local Rotary International club visited our installation and we created new friendships with the Riobamba Rotary Chapter. On Monday night, Rotary Riobamba invited Agua Viva to speak at the local club! What a great bunch of servants. Service Above Self!
El Fortin, Ecuador
Next stop: el Fortin, Ecuador. Through our good friend George Wuertz, a missionary friend in Cuenca, Agua Viva was introduced to a large “invasion community” near Guayaquil. This very poor community was created in about 2001 when the Ecuadorian currency collapsed. Tens of thousands of people fled the cities and assembled at El Fortin. There is no clean water in this community. So, at a local church Iglesia Cristiana Evangelico, Agua Viva was invited to provide a full installation and before the end of the week, pure clean drinking water was tasted with smiles and hugs. Although the smallest water room, this community had the greatest hope and ambition. Before the end of the month, this ambitious church was already in full production. Helena Fernandez and Maria Cepeda, from Colta Monjas Ecuador, conducted our education program. Agua Viva was further blessed to conduct five site investigation in the Guamote area and Ainche/Ulpan. Four of the five sites are ready to partner with Rotary International and Agua Viva and plans are being made for installations at each of the four sites. How cool is that? !
Pano, Ecuador (Amazon Lowlands)
In September of 2014, Curt Mader and Maritza Yanez traveled to Ecuador to perform three site investigations. They endured a very long day of bumpy car rides to find Pano, Ecuador, in the Amazon lowlands east of Quito. Iglesia Nueva Vida Pano was eager to negotiate a covenant. Agua Viva is trying to balance limited resources with a seemingly endless demand for purified drinking water in Ecuador. Probably the most important aspect of the trip was Curt and Maritza negotiated with the communities of Gompuene where the Agua Viva System had been forcefully removed in 2013. The communities agreed that 21deAbril would be an agreeable “alternative” site. Curt and Maritza then successfully negotiated a covenant at 21deAbril Vocational School in Flores, Ecuador. Agua Viva quickly began preparations to return in March 2015 for this important installation.
Gompuene and Jipongato
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 install 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: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Iglesia Promesa Divina, Colta Monjas, Chimborazo, Ecuador
In the summer of 2011, while returning from a business trip, Jim Allen was randomly seated on an airplane next to a young lady from Ecuador. Her name was Maritza Yanez. Out of a short conversation, a new and exciting opportunity arose for Agua Viva International in Ecuador. As it turned out, Ms. Yanez was providing research on water filtration systems at KU and she asked if Agua Viva would be willing to “help the poor people of her country?” Ms. Yanez helped Agua Viva identify a community in Chimborazo and the Water Team arranged a special trip in the fall of 2011. During the trip, the Water Team executed a complete Covenant with Pastor Pedro Fernandez and the elders of Iglesia Promesa Divina. New challenges were confronted. One big challenge was that water samples indicated excessive levels of iron and the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water was very noticeable. After extensive consultation with LWftW, it was decided that a sand filter would be required to clean up the water. Agua Viva had not, to date, designed or installed a sand filter system. Another big challenge for this trip was that Agua Viva did not have contacts in Ecuador for translators, bus drivers, translators, and lodging. With the help of Ms. Yanez, the Team was able to round-up the necessary arrangements for the trip and the date was set for July 14. This was just two weeks after our return from Guatemala! Lastly, the Team was very concerned about the extraordinary altitude. Chimborazo was situated at about 12,500 feet elevation. The entire team noticed the effects of the altitude during our site investigation in September of 2011. Therefore, the Team made an appeal to the Men of Colonial mountain climbers for a team of men experienced at altitude. The MOC graciously responded and two experienced climbers, Dale Bain and Daryl Taylor, joined our Team. On July 22, 2012, the Team successfully completed our LWftW Water Purification System and Sand Filter. A few serious problems with turbidity were thankfully “cleared up” the night before the celebration after the Team worked until midnight. God is good! The entire Team was blessed with help from George and Sheree Wuertz, Melanie Swift, and their family. The Wuertz are missionaries in Cuenca, Ecuador, and they are supported, at least in part, by Colonial Presbyterian Church. I am sure the Team would agree that we would not have completed our installation on time without their help. Two other big successes were encountered. First, the Team was allowed to speak to both universities; ESPOCH and UNACH. As a result, Agua Viva is considering partnering with ESPOCH to produce a curriculum at the University. Plus, Jim Allen was permitted to lecture at UNOCH regarding the importance of Water Purification and Gender Empowerment. The second big success was that Agua Viva was able to identify two new possible partners for a new installation. One possibility was discovered at Iglesia Evangelica Luminaria de Dios, Gompuene San Vicente, Samblas, Flores, Riobamba. We met primarily with Angel Morocho , the secretary of the church, and several others members of the church. A covenant is being prepared and we hope to return in October of 2013 to this needy community. The other opportunity was discovered in Iglesia Evangelica Nueva Vida, San Vicente de Jipangoto, Palletonga. This small community is very excited about working with us. We met with the President of the church, Moises Vimos Yosaca, the Mayor of the town, Alberto Vimos Josera, and four other machete-toting members. They explained that Pastor Fernandez was the part-time pastor for this church, too. Following God’s lead, Agua Viva has been showered with His blessings and opportunities abound as we continue to seek His will. Our translators were wonderful. Three of them, Ashley Studholme, Orrin Tiberi, and Krista Kinnard were Peace Corp volunteers and we believe that Ashley and Orrin will be able to join us next year for our second installation in Ecuador. We were also very pleased with our bus driver, Diego Orozco “Beto”. He was a very safe driver and quickly became a part of our team. During our first trip, the Team stopped alongside a mountainous road to visit with a young girl on a burrow. We couldn’t understand her name but we took two wonderful photos that wound up on our website. During our install trip, we asked Pastor Fernandez if he knew the young lady in the photo. “Of course!”, he explained, “and that is my house in the background of the photograph. Pastor Fernandez then invited the young lady to our celebration. Her name is Ana Llagsha Potojalo. The Team felt it was a great blessing to meet and know this young girl and we gave her a Spanish bible and a “care package”. Thank you, Jesus, for knowing the desires of our heart.
News About Ecuador
In September 2019, during the install week of Galte’s system in Ecuador, Agua Viva had the opportunity to visit the school of San Gerardo. This school was brought to our attention by the Director of the Water Laboratory of San Gerardo’s parent city government. It’s a community that’s literally close to Mario Ahkras’s home, about […]Read More
Agua Viva was honored to share our vision for water with a group of 5th grade students at Harmony Elementary School in Overland Park who entered the Battle of the Brains Contest. During our discussion and presentation students asked Agua Viva what problems are encountered when installing purification systems in developing countries. After exploring several […]Read More
Agua Viva International is a non-profit faith based organization that takes and installs water filtration systems to communities around the world that need clean water. The founders noticed sick kids on a mission trip and commented to a doctor “they need more doctors down there!” And the doctor commented- “what they really need is clean […]Read More
Cuba Operating Partner: Iglesia Unidad Metodista Location: Baitiquiri, Guantanamo, Cuba Approximate price: $2,200.00 Leaders: Dale Wilson, Dale Bain Honduras MARCH 2, 2019 THROUGH MARCH 9, 2019 Operating Partner: Telanga Orphanage Location: Ojo de Agua Approximate Volunteer Cost: $1,800.00 Leaders: David Watts, Steve Wagner Guatemala MAY 18, 2019 THROUGH MAY 25, 2019 Operating Partner: Iglesia Monte Sinai Presbyterian Location: Nimasac, San […]Read More
Two hundred of Agua Viva’s best friends celebrated Agua Viva’s “Night at the Diamond” at Kauffman Stadium on November 17th. Guests enjoyed food stations featuring Aramark’s best gourmet entrees: lobster corn dogs, beef sliders, Chipotle Chicken Tacos and much more while they strolled the Diamond Club to learn more about Agua Viva’s mission. Our install […]Read More
Curt Mader, CEO of non-profit Agua Viva International, will be the proud recipient of the Buck O’Neal Legacy Seat when the Kansas City Royals play the Boston Red Sox at 7:15 pm, on June 19, 2017. Please watch us on TV! Or, better yet, come to the Royals Stadium and watch us on the big screen! Curt Mader and Agua Viva International have installed […]Read More
Agua Viva arrived in Flores to find our water purification system fully operative and our new operating partners doing fantastic. This was especially satisfying to our team considering how this all came about. You see, this was NOT the first home for this system. Not everything goes exactly according to plan. In 2013, Agua Viva […]Read More
No matter how hard we try, we always need something we didn’t bring. The big surprise on this trip (so far) was Flores. Everything looked great, but when Dale and Jerry inspected the Ozonator, only two of the four bulbs were energized. “Wow, never seen two burned out Ozone Bulbs before!” After some expert troubleshooting […]Read More
On this trip to Ecuador we have assembled quite a team. Our teams of volunteers almost always consist of several divine appointments. To begin, we have three volunteers from the United States. Nobody is paid… straight up volunteers. Many of us gave up vacation time… We all gave up family time. But, that is only […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More
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 […]Read More