Agua Viva is blazing a new trail into Africa. Last year, Agua Viva performed site investigations in Kenya and Tanzania. After careful consideration and prayer, Zinga, Tanzania was selected for first installation in Africa.
We had ten outstanding volunteers attending our first Training Session on Saturday, February 11, 2017. With this great group of volunteers, our team leaves for Africa and our new friends in Zinga are very excited about having clean pure ozonated water in their new Children’s Hospital. Agua Viva was invited to this hospital by International Health Partners and they have recently begun construction of a new birthing center and neonatal care unit. It is hard to believe they have no clean drinking water at this hospital!! But, not for much longer.
Tanzania is a very interesting country. One half of the population is Christian and one half is Muslim and they live together in relative peace. What a great world model for living! Women frequently do not have an opportunity for prenatal care in Tanzania and this new hospital will provide a great resource to Muslim and Christian women alike to have healthy children and successful birthing experiences.
This is also a great opportunity for Agua Viva. We are expanding our influence into a new continent and country, we are installing purified water in our first hospital, and Agua Viva is modifying the standard board to operate with 240 Volt, 50 Cycle Power.
We love the children! They need clean drinking water more than anyone as they are developing and their immune systems are often weak from malnutrition.
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.
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.
The 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
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?
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!
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.
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.
What 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.
Saturday was our first day on the job. After getting to the hotel the night before at 1:00 am, we were all glad to get up at 6:00 am for breakfast and a 45 minute bumpy car ride to our prospective site. No doubt about the needs here. Dirt roads, bamboo houses, and the faces of the poor pretty much tell the whole story.
For this needy community, a natural leader, Pastor Nino Medina, drives one and a half hours one way every day to care for them. After a short conversation, we knew this young man had a heart for these people. With vision, wisdom, and energy, Pastor Medina promised to begin with our Agua Viva water purification installation and build a thriving distribution system. The elementary school, one half kilometer away, would be one of the first to benefit. The family across the street wants to help too, they said.
And, after a journey which started in Kansas City and lead us half way across the globe to the equator of Ecuador, Rotary and Agua Viva discovered a new opportunity to lift up and embrace the needy children of our planet. During the coming days, plans will be finalized for a September 2015 trip to install microfiltration and ozonation for our brothers and sisters in El Fortin.
The Agua Viva teams from far and wide all converged today and arrived safely at Hostel Dona Isabel. Travelers starting from four origin points all arrived in the Guatemala City airport within 2 hours of each other and our bus driver, who was originally delayed by a traffic accident, was at the airport within 15 minutes of the entire team of 22 assembling. Our lone casualty is a checked bag of equipment left in Kansas City by American Airlines. They’ve promised that it will be here tomorrow and it better be. It’s full of supplies for our dental team!
Our in-country team leader and close friend, Mario Mejia, met us at the airport and coordinated the arrival. Jim Allen commented that when he saw Mario standing outside the front of the airport, his anxiety was immediately relieved and he was reminded that we were in God’s hands at that point.
We were pleasantly surprised that our driver ended up being one of the house parents at Casa Angelina and he brought a welcoming party that included his son and two interns working at the orphanage. We were entertained by listening to 19 year old Serena from Colorado Springs who is in month 3 of an almost year long internship. Her energy is contagious and was a great foreshadowing of the feeling that we’ll have this week working with the What Matters Ministry team at Casa Angelina.
The Hostel is nestled in between 3 volcanoes on the outskirts of Antigua and has a beautiful courtyard and our hosts have been wonderful. We had dinner on the veranda this evening and afterwards Nancy Allen led devotionals recalling one of our spiritual preparation lessons that focused on being still in our busy world. This is a fantastic place to be still. It helps that there are no dishes to do and that we aren’t thinking about the assignment due at school or work tomorrow.
So, as we arrive and begin our preparations tomorrow for the week ahead, we feel blessed to be in this place with this opportunity and we promise to keep you apprised throughout the week of how we see God working in Guatemala.
Two of our Agua Viva Board Members have had the privilege of “tutoring and mentoring” children at Freedom Fire Urban Ministries for several years in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. This Ministry touches the lives of hundreds of inner city youth and Freedom Fire is 100% “dedicated to equipping the young people of the inner city to guide their community spiritually, economically, and socially.”
Many of the youth ministered to by Freedom Fire have never traveled outside of the Kansas City area and many come from broken and single parent households. By including inner city youth on our Agua Viva trips, we provide these wonderful young folks the opportunity to “see” how big God’s world really is. Plus, our trips provide an excellent opportunity for them to experience team leadership in a wonderful Christian setting, and in a foreign country! Agua Viva first embraced this concept in 2009 when we included a young Freedom Fire youth on our first trip to Guatemala.
This spring 2013, Agua Viva again has the privilege of partnering with Freedom Fire. Nicholas Cacy and Aheem Kimmins will be joining our team headed for Casa Angelina 2013.
Nicholas Cacy is the son of Kevin Cacy and Rebecca Cacy of Freedom Fire Ministries. He has been involved in cross-cultural ministries since he was a small child, and has traveled twice previously to Guatemala, working in small villages in the Quiche province. He has completed 2 years of college at Kansas State University, and this Spring is enrolling in a Ministry Apprenticeship Program in Kansas City.
Aheem Kimmins first got involved at Freedom Fire in 1997 as a 2nd grader. He grew up in the federal housing projects in Kansas City, Missouri, while he and his 3 siblings were being raised by his grandmother. He began spending lots of time with the Cacy family over weekends and holidays, and has been very much a member of the Cacy family ever since. Aheem is attending Johnson County Community College with the hopes of starting a career in Health Care. Aheem traveled to Mexico with Freedom Fire in 2002, and this will be his first trip to Guatemala, as well as his first time on an airplane.
Today, Agua Viva International received a very important package. Inside this package was water samples from three orphanages in Oyu, Akawa Ibom State, Nigeria. This is still a long shot, but is is possible that Agua Viva International may break ground in Africa. If approved by our Board of Directors, we will just have to figure out how we are going to pay for a site investigation in July 2013… or how God is going to pay for the trip.
My new friend, Ikpongke, has been very helpful. I have run him all over town taking pictures, taking water samples, and going to the FedEx store.
Spring 2013 Trip to Casa Angelina
Agua Viva International has been VERY busy. We now have 23 volunteers signed up to go to Casa Angelina in March of 2013. We are very excited about God’s plans for us and we shall faithfully abide.
Casa Angelina (House of Angels) is an orphanage in Chimeltenango, Guatemala. It was created partly with children abandoned at landfills in Guatemala. They presently have about 100 children.
Our volunteers have now begun preparations and our first planning meeting was last weekend. We a little luck and God’s blessing, we should be purchasing plane tickets TODAY. That has been quite a job and we are hopeful that we can clear this hurdle.
We are also very pleased that three of our volunteers are from Freedom Fire Urban Ministries. Vonnell Brown and Aheem Kimmins will be joining us and as an added blessing, Kevin Casey’s son, Nicholas Casey will be with us, too. All of these have now applied for passports and getting ready to get “shots”. Ouch !! This is a big deal to Agua Viva. Providing this unique opportunity provides an exceptional learning experience for everyone. Praise God. Now, if the passports will just arrive before departure !!!
Another wonderful element of this trip is we have reached out beyond Kansas City. We have six volunteers from northwest Missouri, one volunteer from Mississippi, and one volunteer from South Dakota. How cool is that? It is pretty crazy trying to get all of the plane tickets to converge.
Jim Allen (Moses)
January 23, 2013