Bugs? Bacteria? Disease? Death? Imagine being afraid to drink, bathe, brush our teeth and wash our veggies with the water we get in our homes. Fortunately here in NE Ohio we have access to abundant, affordable pure water. 75% of the world does not enjoy that privilege. I just returned from my 15th mission trip to Guatemala where a team from Ohio installed a water purification system designed by the Presbyterian Mission “Living Waters For the World”. This was my 6th install in my role as a community educator. Each day we rode into Cerro Verde (picture Jurassic Park!) and were greeted by our 50+ eager students.
The lessons began with a bible story centering on the use of water in Jesus’ ministry and God’s creation. Our students spoke the Mayan language: Po’com chi so my Spanish was translated enthusiastically by our local teacher. The adults eagerly colored pages with their new crayons, cut out figures to illustrate the hygiene lessons, put together paper chains to remind the children to drink only pure water and to wash their hands. We brought the components of the water purification system and our two installers worked side by side with gentlemen from the community over a period of 4 days to connect it to their spring. What a thrill to be able to celebrate the first cups of pure water on the 5th day!!! Music, prayers and a locally prepared soup eaten with tamales (no spoons available!) together with our new friends made it all worth it! Oli’ ik (it is good)
At the same time our doctors and dentists saw patients at a nearby clinic and reiterated the same hygiene lessons. Our volunteers distributed the 400+ eyeglasses donated to our churches (many from our Care Center!) to the appreciative recipients, both adults and children.
So what can you find in a cup of water? The people of Cerro Verde can now find hope and health as 300+ families in the community, many families with more than 7 children, will now have access to abundant, pure water! An’ ti och (Thank you).