Living Water International & Dungeness Community Church
Living Water International & Dungeness Commnity Church have teamed up to help the people of Parcelamiento El Socorro in Guatemala. The following is a report provided by Living Water International.
About The Community
The 350 residents of Parcelamiento El Socorro suffered from the water crisis every day. They relied upon hand-dug wells and the local river for all of their needs. Because most of the men in the community worked during the day, the women and children were the ones primarily responsible for collecting the households' water and using it for chores. The fact that they were constantly worried about the amount of water available made their chores all the more burdensome. The water levels in both the wells and the river dwindled. Sometimes there was not enough.
The community members conserved as much water as they could for drinking and cooking. Sometimes, this meant foregoing hygiene and other household uses. Still, even after rationing their water strictly, they were often overcome with thirst. The thirst was not the residents' only concern, however. Because the water in the springs and river were exposed to the elements, it was full of surface contagions. After drinking or using the water, community members often suffered from water-related illnesses. The water also contained pesticides that had insidious, long- term effects on the community members' bodies. The only way to avoid these maladies was to avoid the water that was essential to life. It was a tragic dilemma. The community members knew that something needed to change.
Community leaders felt hope arise when they heard about Living Water International's work in the region. They submitted a formal request for help, and the Living Water Guatemala staff responded by scheduling a visit. Once the team had surveyed the area, it was clear that a safe water well project was vital. This project was soon set in motion thanks to your generous gift, Dungeness Community Church and Andy and Erin!
The Living Water Guatemala staff soon returned. They drilled until they reached a safe water aquifer 51 meters deep. They then flushed the borehole to remove sedimentary rock debris, installed PVC casing and a gravel pack, and assembled the pump mechanism. The final steps were to pour a cement platform and to assemble the well head. The well was complete!
The Living Water Guatemala staff also helped the residents safeguard their sustained safe water access. They helped the community leaders form a plan for water management that included the formation of a water committee. The committee members will remain in contact with Living Water about the functionality of the well. They will also save funds to cover the cost of future repairs needed for the well. In this way, the community is prepared with a proactive, community-driven approach to water sustainability. The community can begin to heal from unsafe water and the reactionary approach to water access they once knew.
“We only had water from contaminated wells and a small canal nearby. In the summer, these sources dried up sometimes. Not all families had money to buy additional water. This new water well will help a lot, especially the for the women and children who collect the water. Now we men can go to work knowing that they are not in danger in the river." – Eduardo Sutuj, 54-year-old home builder
Sanitation & Hygiene
The Living Water Guatemala staff also held a sanitation and hygiene promotional activity. They used interactive elements and visual aids to make the concepts memorable and fun. The 18 participants in attendance learned about germ spread and disease transmission through the use of visual aids. The staff explained that the best form of prevention against these threats is handwashing. They led a handwashing demonstration for the students. The staff and team also led a sessions on both dental hygiene and eating a balanced diet. The participants are thus prepared to begin implementing all they learned in their everyday lives.
In Jesus' Name
Living Water Guatemala led an evangelism session. They used a teaching tool to called "Salvation Bracelets" to explain the message of the gospel through symbolic colors. They also explained that the new safe water well represents the living water of Jesus Christ, which alone quenches the deepest thirst of our souls. The team offered an opportunity for the participants to give their lives to Christ, leading them in a prayer of faith.
At the end of their time with the community, the staff also held a well dedication ceremony where everyone present gave thanks and commissioned the well to God's Kingdom. They also distributed 58 Bibles. Through these activities, 68 people were presented with the message of the gospel.
Dungeness Community Church and Andy and Erin, your gift of safe water transforms the community of Parcelamiento El Socorro from the ground up. Now that the community members have an abundance of safe water, they will no longer plan from a mindset of scarcity. The women and children are freed from the laborious task of walking long distances for meager, unsafe water. Now that the safe water well has been built in close proximity to their homes, their chores are simpler and safer. They will no longer worry that their water supply will run out. They are confident that they can work together to sustain the functionality of their new system and the safe quality of their water. Overall improved health fostered by safe water will mean that children will spend more time in school and their parents can spend more time at their vocations. Safe will improve the overall socio-econmic well-being of the community.
Yet the safe water well will also have effects that ripple into eternity. The safe water will remind the community members of Jesus' invitation to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:13-14 (NIV), which is also an invitation to them: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Thank you for giving water, for life, in Jesus' name.