Wednesday started just like Monday and Tuesday: breakfast at 5:15am, depart hotel at 6:00am, stop for gas and ice, then arrive at Bethania Iglesia. We had Connie and Mary back with us, so our team was at full power. This was a good thing, because Wednesday was a day for more lessons, clean up, and also my favorite part of all: our water party!
Once we arrived on site, our team split up into two groups. One group joined Blanca to teach the last lessons while the other group cleaned all the equipment including pipes, hand tools, gaskets, hose connectors, and hard hats.
|Photo by Lisa McCutcheon|
The mood on Wednesday was light hearted and full of happiness. We worked hard and sweated, but laughed a lot too.
Connie asked me to get this photo of her with a huge pickaxe because she looked so fierce. How can you not have fun when one of your best friends is running around looking like this?!
After we worked up a good sweat, our friend Maria told Jaime she bought each of us a special treat: fresh coconuts to drink! Jaime took a handful of us and we followed Maria behind the church to her house, where Jaime chopped the coconut tops off so we could drink them.
While we waited, we got to see a little of Maria’s house. We saw two lizards Maria had in a cage in her kitchen area. Jaime told us the lizards weren’t pets, but are meant for a meal. Maria offered to show me and Katie her “tortugas” behind her house, so we got to see her turtle pen. I wasn’t able to count all of them, but I think there were about 20 turtles in all.
Katie also stopped to meet one of Maria’s cats.
Katie and I were called back when the coconuts were ready, because our arms were needed for carrying them back to the church.
Coconuts are not your regular kind of drink. For one thing, you cannot put them down because they don’t have a flat bottom so you have to hold them pretty much the entire time.
While we enjoyed our coconut treats, the local men worked to remove the sludge from the trench around the new well site. Then they used dirt to fill the trench and packed it down with their feet.
The women were busy in the kitchen, preparing our lunch and making the daily allotment of corn tortillas.
Meanwhile, some of our team took a snack break and cheesed for the camera.
After morning lessons finished, there was a little bit of play time in the street. This time, the soccer ball (football?) was turned into a basketball with a little volleyball spin. I’m not sure anyone knew the rules of this hybrid game, but everyone had fun playing it.
Lunchtime came, and we sat down to a big meal of veggie noodles.
I had worked really hard so far to eat what was served by our hostesses, but the noodles pushed my gluten limits a little too far. I asked Blanca to help me ask the ladies for a modified meal. Maybe just the veggies without the noodles? She explained my non-gluten diet and the women offered to scramble some eggs for me. I felt terrible asking them to go out of the way for me, but also knew I shouldn’t skip a meal. I jumped at the offer of scrambled eggs, and was also asked what else could be added to the eggs. Tomatoes? Yes! Peppers? Not if they’re spicy. Pretty soon, I was served one of the best meals of all: perfectly scrambled eggs that made everyone at the table around me a teeny bit jealous. Aaaah!
The other best part of this meal was the men of the church offering us all ice cold Cokes, Sprites, and other carbonated sugary drinks. Jaime gave us permission to drink them. I say “permission” because up until this point, Jaime had told us to decline offers of sodas because what we really needed to be drinking was lots of water and maybe only one Gatorade per day. The Coke I drank was such a great treat! And when the bottles were empty, Katie had a little fun with them.
Hannah got in on the fun too, and she learned how to fill the bottles just a little and blow into them to make a mini concert for us.
One of the first tasks we did that morning was to insert an air hose into the drill hole. I didn’t quite understand why we did this then, but after lunch it became obvious. The hose was used to blow all the dirt and muck out of the well piping. This was drained out a very long PVC pipe that dumped into the street outside the church courtyard.
Throughout the morning and during lunch, air kept pushing muddy water through the pipe. Shortly after lunch, the mud subsided and clear water started spewing out of the pipes. This was our cue: it was time to CELEBRATE!
We ran over to the end of the pipe and watched clean water pour out. It came in fits and starts, blowing out in great bursts. Before I knew it, Sonja stood in front of the pipe and bent over so her head was directly in the water’s flow. She was soaked! And that’s all it took for the rest of us to step up and get our heads wet too. We spent the next 30 minutes laughing and splashing and getting drenched in joy. It was AMAZING! Little kids dunking each other in the streaming water, grandmothers holding their grandkids in the spray, then buckets getting filled and dumped over heads. There’s so much life in this water!
I love these two photos of Katie bent over in front of the pipe, with one of the local woman’s arm around her. The water poured over them, then they lifted their faces to show huge smiles.
As the water fun continued, Dan came to tell me I should head back to the drill site to see the installation of the concrete pad and marble plaque. I did, and got to see this glorious beauty in its new home.
The next few hours were spent teaching lessons, cleaning up tools, and waiting for concrete to dry. I wandered with my camera, taking photos and getting some of my favorite portraits.
Once the afternoon lessons ended, I happened upon a sad scene outside the church walls. Our friend Alder was saying goodbye. He would be attending school the following day, when we had our worship celebration and final departure. He was tearfully hugging Mary and Connie.
I suddenly remembered the flashcards and Spanish-English dictionary I had shown him earlier in the day, and I ran to retrieve them from my bag in the van. I found Jaime and asked permission to give these items to Alder, and Jaime agreed. I thanked him, then told him if he said no I would have done it anyway. I ran back to Alder and gave him my gift before hugging him goodbye.
But before Alder left and before we piled into the van to leave for the night, I insisted on one photo of him with Hannah and Katie.
The truck had been loaded earlier with pipes and equipment that we transported, along with the drill rig, to a nearby school when we left Iglesia Bethania. Jaime told us the school is the next Living Water drilling site on his list. At the school, Jaime greeted his contacts and unhooked equipment to leave with them. He also took a few minutes to show them where the well would be drilled, and drew out the plans for them to dig a trench similar to the one in the courtyard of Iglesia Bethania where we had been drilling.
|Photo by Lisa McCutcheon|
We finished our drive back to our hotel, where we showered, ate a late dinner and had team devotion time.
Before we left the dining room and headed to bed, Katie told me her right eye was hurting. It was very red, so we showed it to Blanca. Her first thought was maybe in the water celebration Katie got squirted in the eye and the water pressure caused her eye to be red and irritated. We discussed the possibility that it could be pink eye, since the day before we had all noticed one of the kids in the village had very swollen, pink/red eyes. Blanca gave Katie some saline eye drops, and Katie said they helped. I also figured her eyes were simply irritated after the water celebration, plus Katie was tired and it was compounded. After a quick good night hug, we parted and all turned in for the night.
Click here to read about day 6 of our trip to Guatemala. (The link will work when the next blog is posted - which should be tomorrow!)