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Positive Life Radio continues to lend much-appreciated assistance to the efforts to bring drinkable and healthy fresh clean water to the villages in Guatamala. Thanks KEEH 104.9!

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Larry and the Lady

By Tim Rasmussen

Most people in villages in Guatemala have to work hard to stay alive. There is no public assistance. There is no welfare. There is no old age assistance. When it comes to living when you are old, the only resource is your family and relatives, if you have them. If you do not have family to help you, you are on your own.

Larry Duffield watched the woman walk up the road toward the spot where the rig was set up. He could tell she was old but he could not say how old she might be. She was carrying a plastic sack, heavy with things from the market and she walked like she was slightly crippled. She was walking up hill toward her home, a thatched roofed, single room shack up beyond the rig beside the track that served as a road. Larry had seen her leave her home and come down the hill a few hours earlier. She had nodded and waved as she went on down the hill past the rig.

It was hot like it usually is in NE Guatemala. There was sometimes a little breeze that would stir the dust in the road, but not enough to feel refreshing. The rig had been there for a few days, steadily pounding its way to the cool clean water below ground. For the first couple of days, the village folks had gathered around watching, but when the water was not quickly obtained, they had drifted off to the things they usually do. For the women, that meant working in the homes or shelling corn or doing laundry in some creek or pond, and to the men and boys that meant doing nothing.

That is life in Guatemala. Women do most of the work that keeps a family alive; cooking, washing, hauling water, and tending to children and animals. The men usually cannot find work for money, but they do not help the women much. There are centuries of culture behind this division of labor and there is no pressure to change it.

Larry watched as the lady labored up the hill toward him. There was a lull in the drilling just then, and as the woman reached him, he stepped to her side and made motions to help her with her burden. For a fleeting moment he wondered if he might be breaking some cultural rule, but then he decided maybe it would give the men a hint or even shame them so they might help the woman a little in the future.

The lady smiled as she handed the sack to him, and he fell in walking beside her. Together they went on up the hill. They did not talk, because Larry does not speak Spanish and she did not speak English, but they communicated just the same, in the universal language of one person helping another.

At the top of the hill, as she took the bag from Larry she simply said, “Gracias.” That was all. She went on into the rude little building and Larry went back down the hill to the rig.

Water for Life brings the gift of clean water to people who need it. They cannot pay for it. They cannot even contribute. The only thing they have to give us is their thanks. That is all they have. But, it is enough.

If you would like to help someone to have a better life, please consider supporting our work in NE Guatemala.

You Can’t Get There From Here

By Tim Rasmussen

Craig Gresham is from Poulsbo, Washington. He is the owner of Gresham well drilling.  He came to Guatemala to drill wells with us last year and he volunteered again to lend his skill and talents to our efforts.

Since he is “retired,” he has been spending a lot of time at his seaside home in Hermosillo Mexico, where he enjoys the fishing, the easy life and visits from his friends that he has met over the years.  He left from Hermosillo to come to our headquarters in NE Guatemala for this drilling season.

He made plans to fly from Hermosillo to Mexico City and then on to Guatemala City.  But the volcano near Guatemala City ruled differently.  It chose this time to erupt and fill the sky with abrasive ash such that airlines would not fly, or could not fly into Guatemala City.  Craig’s plane flew from Mexico City, but it could not land in Guatemala City due to the volcano and returned to Mexico City for the night.  Not much progress so far!

The next morning, Craig headed back to the airport and when he found that it was still impossible to get into Guatemala City, he decided to try to get to Guatemala, but to avoid Guatemala City.  That meant he had to fly to Houston Texas and then fly to Belize. Because of the schedule, he would have to spend the night in Houston. Once he got to Belize, he could fly on TACA airlines and get to Flores, Guatemala, which is in NE Guatemala and about 2 hours from our shop.

This last plan worked although it meant two more days of travel.  In all, it was four days traveling, three times the distance and double the cost. But it was worth it all.   I asked Craig what was the best thing about being part of Water for Life?  His answer was quick, “Seeing the people and the appreciation of the people for the water that we can provide.”

Water for Life now provides water to about 25,000 people.  Our pumps are at work in more than 70 villages and locations.  We are committed to a sustainable water supply for these villages and so we maintain the pumps all year round and keep them in operation.  Our donors and volunteers make all of this happen. In fact, without them, none of this would be happening.  We provide the place and the means, but it takes a person with a heart to help others that really makes Water for Life work.  Thank you to all.