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Archive for 2007

Baggage Check- No Check

By Tim Rasmussen , Saturday, November 10th, 2007

As I was preparing to go to Guatemala this Past October, I purchased an Airless sprayer to use to paint the campus buildings. It cost about 800.00 for the sprayer. When I received it, I packed it into an old hard sided Samsonite suitcase. The total weight was 65 lbs, 50 was the limit. I resigned myself to paying the overweight charges, but I was satisfied that it would make the trip in the tough old case.

When my wife looked at it in the case she said it looked like a nuclear bomb.
I looked again and saw the motor pipes and the hoses tubes and tried to see it as one who was unfamiliar with it. She was right. I began to share her concern.

To assuage my anxiety I went to the internet to read all I could about baggage contents. While I could find no specific prohibition, it became apparent the anything that cause concern could be termed hazardous and removed by the TSA and denied shipment
I was able to determine that the bags could be checked and cleared in Spokane direct to Guatemala City. If there was a problem, it would be here and not at Los Angles at the connection. At least that way I could not lose the sprayer. I realized that there was no way I could be certain of safe passage and would have to just trust the Good Lord on this.

We left on Oct 24.With no apparent problems the connection win LAX was tight we had about 10 minutes to spare waiting to the gate to aboard the Guatemala bound fight. The overnight flight from LA to Guatemala city was 4.5 hours—too long for my old bones. The flight was crowded so not much sleep; I read a Louis Lamoure book to pass the hours.

When we arrived in Guatemala City at 4:15 am, the luggage was all there. I could tell by the weight of the old bag that the sprayer was still there. Upon arrival at Los Pinos, we opened the bags. Each bag had a TSA inspection notice except the big Samsonite with the sprayer. Apparently it had not been opened at all. We know that our Lord can make blind eyes see, but perhaps in this case he made seeing eyes blind.

Welding Rod Miracle

By Tim Rasmussen , Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Welding rods by Mistake?

When I was at Los Pinos (the orphanage campus) last November, I was with my friend Henry Lazaro, the maintenance man. I noticed a large old cement mixer outside the shop. Henry made signs and spoke words to make me know that it was dead. Looking closer, I noticed it had a two cylinder Lister diesel engine. Lister diesels are nearly bullet-proof and can operate for decades without needing repair. Henry let me know that the motor was good but pointed out the problem. The sprocket for the chain drive on the engine side had cracks through 3 of the five spokes of the sprocket, and on the mixer side, the pinion that drove the ring gear on the barrel of the mixer had about ½ of the teeth stripped off. I could tell these parts were made of cast iron.

That evening I spoke with Roy Brown, a volunteer who is a retired master mechanic from Wamic, Oregon. Roy came and looked it over. He believed that he could rebuild the teeth on the pinion gear with weld and repair the sprocket if we could find the special rod that is required for welding cast iron. Roy explained that cast iron is a tough but brittle form of iron with high carbon content. It requires a special nickel-type welding rod. We needed about 6 rods. I set Henry to work getting the parts off and I went to town with Berny to see if we could find some of the special nickel-type welding rods.

Berny and I went to the better of the two hardware stores and he inquired about the special rods. The clerk disappeared into the back and soon emerged with 10 rods in a pack. He explained that this was all that he had of some that had been delivered by mistake a long time ago. They were still sealed and appeared to be in good condition. I paid the $10.00 US for the rods in a heartbeat.

Roy took the rods, welded the sprocket spokes, built up the stripped teeth on the pinion with weld, then ground down the weld and machined back the teeth. The pinion gear looked perfect. The mixer was reassembled and was ready for service.

The rods were not delivered by mistake. They were delivered by God’s providence.

Spring 2007 Update

By admin , Monday, April 2nd, 2007

This year marked the completion of a major project at the Orphanage and school campus of International children’s Care in Poptun, Guatemala. This was made possible through the generous donation of a set of steel forms by Mt Baker Silo Company of Bellingham Washington. The kind folks at Mt Baker gave us the forms and just as important, allowed our volunteers to watch and learn as they used the techniques on construction projects here in Washington. This gave our crew first-hand experience with the planning and construction of these water storage reservoirs.

These are not simple structures. They are twenty feet in diameter and twenty feet high. Each contains 10,000 lbs of (more…)

Little Things

By Tim Rasmussen , Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The last few hours of packing the container always are hectic. Many decisions have to be made with one eye on the scale to prevent over loading and one eye one the question of whether we will need a certain item. The tendency is to take everything we might possibly need and yet we know that is not possible to fully anticipate the events that will transpire. For example, when we send a set of cutting torches, we must remember to send extra tips, but only propane tips, because acetylene is nearly impossible to obtain in Guatemala. Waterproof electrical connectors, heat shrink tubing, stainless steel screws and other little things that are necessary are simply are not available in the country. If we don’t take it we won’t have it.

As Rod and Gary were getting ready to close the doors of the container, Rod noticed an old wrench that had been lying around in the shop. It wasn’t part of the shop tools and he didn’t know where it had come from, and it was an odd size. Rod picked it up and casually threw it into the container at the last minute.

The container made its way by truck to Seattle and then by rail to Long Beach and then by ship to Guatemala, through the customs process and finally to the campus about 6 weeks later. As they unpacked the container, Rod saw the wrench and tossed it into the back of the pickup that they were using to things from the container. Some things needed to be taken to the shop, some to the school and some to the orphanage.

In the first few days it was discovered that the pickup had two tires that had to be replaced, so Rod went to town to buy tires and to take care of some errands. At the tire shop, he bought the tires and the workers set to work to remove the old ones and replace them with the new ones, but a problem developed. The shop did not have a wrench or a socket to fit the lugs on the wheels. Rod looked but could not find the lug wrench for the truck. The men at the tire shop just shrugged. They were stymied and could go no further. Rod glanced into the bed of the truck and there was the wrench. It fit the lug nuts!
We do the best we can to tackle big things, but God takes care of even the little things.

The Pied Pipers Of Sabonetta

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Sabonetta is a small village about 8 kilometers from the Los Pinos campus and is the location of the first well that was drilled during this season in Guatemala. It is not known how many people live there and the town structure is loose. There is no village square or an area that could be identified as the center, but there is a loose gathering of houses, if they can be called that, at the intersection of two or three roads. Houses in this area are merely what we would call a shack. If a person can find a few sheets of plywood or some boards and some pieces of corrugated roofing he has the makings of a house. There are no sanitation facilities and the families live with the dogs and maybe a goat or (more…)

City Life

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, February 11th, 2007

I looked out the window at the people on the sidewalk. This was Guatemala City, home of 9 million people. We had driven the eight hours from the campus at Los Pinos, the last two of which had been stop and go as we made our way into the city center. After a long search we found lodging at the Pan American Hotel. It was about 2 blocks from the very heart of the city. We found out it used to be the Astoria Hotel before it was sold in 1942 to its present owners. The cost was $35.00 per night for a room and it was quite comfortable (more…)

Import Problems Resolved

By Tim Rasmussen , Monday, February 5th, 2007

The Container and the Rig have been safely delivered to our shop at the Los Pinos campus. It took one solid week of negotiating by our man Berny Leonardo, to get the container released. The difficulty was caused by a mistake that we made. At the last minute before the container was shipped, we allowed a friend of the project to put some items in the container that we not on the previously sent manifest. When the customs officials opened the container at the port, they noticed this immediately and the container was impounded and a through inspection was conducted.

Berny kept at it and was able to arrange a compromise. They allowed the items into the country and we paid the duty. It was a mistake on our part and we paid for it. In total, we paid about $4000.00 to get the container into the country. This was more than we paid for the rig, but less than we paid for the previous container. In all, we were able to import both the rig and the container into the country for about $7000.00. We were expecting that the total might be at least 3 times that amount!

The container was opened at the campus and all contents were, if a bit scrambled. I don’t think that they turn the container upside down, but it seems like something near that happened. We learned a lesson which we hope not to repeat.

The first well of the season is going down at a village, Sabonetta. This village is about 6 km from the campus. At last report, our volunteer driller, Don Perry of Spanish Fork, Utah, has got our old rig making about 35 feet per day. The limestone is harder here, but the drilling is going well and the people are very happy about the prospects of having clean water to drink. We are very thankful for Don’s willingness to give of his time and money to help us provide water for the people of Guatemala.

The other rig, the one I refer to as our new one, is drilling a well in the Poptun area, at the site of a new Clinic being operated by a volunteer group called God’s Helping Hands. They have been in need for some time and now we are able to finally help them.

Import Problems

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, January 14th, 2007

This year we have two items to get into Guatemala. One is a newer drill rig that was donated and repaired for service. The other is a container full of equipment to support the drilling efforts and things for the orphanage campus. In November, I was in Guatemala and spoke to the Mayor of the municipality of Poptun. I enlisted his help in trying to get the container and rig into the county without paying duty (which we expect could be about 22,000.00 for both). The amount of duty is always an elusive figure until you are standing in the Customs office. There is usually a “problem” that comes up at the last moment and you are not really in a good position to negotiate. You try to solve the “problem” and money is usually the solution. That is just the way it is.

This year, the shipper arraigned for the rig to go from Houston to Puerto Barrios on the east coast of Guatemala and the container to be sent by rail freight and ship to the west coast of Guatemala and then across the county to Puerto Barrios. We received word that the rig was in Puerto Barrios just before the New Year and the container is scheduled to arrive there on the 23rd of January. When the rig arrived in Puerto Barrios without the container, the Customs officials believed that the container had been stolen in- route or that some form off illegal importation was afoot. The rig was seized and impounded. The locks on the tool boxes were somehow hammered off and the contents inspected. Once they learned that the container was still on the way, the officials relented.

Gary Bartholomew arrived at Guatemala City one day late due to the weather problems here in the States. Literally within hours of his arrival at the Receiving Center, the originals of the shipping papers were delivered by DHL courier. Gary was able to place them into the hands of Berny Leonardo who began the torturous process of getting through the customs process. After some negotiation about storage and inspection fees, the rig was released for about $3000.00, less than 1/3 of the expected amount. Although the tools boxes were damaged a little, the contents were intact.

These are always anxious times for the project. Our precious material is out of our control and any losses jeopardize the project. We need everything we send. We learn again to let the Good Lord protect the cargo and to trust in his providence.

If you would like to help us, please contact Gary or Lynn Bartholomew at 509-466-5075 or 509-466-5134

Winter 2006 Update

By admin , Monday, January 8th, 2007

On December 7, 2005, a container was loaded at the Bartholomew’s yard and headed to Poptun, Guatemala. It contained a well service truck, steel forms for a concrete water reservoir, generators, spare drilling tools, a spool of cable and other equipment; 40,000 lbs in all!

The container’s journey was long and difficult. It went by truck to Seattle, then by rail to Long Beach, then by a ship of the Maersk line to Guatemala and then by truck again to Poptun. The transit was to take about 3 weeks. The container was not delivered until January 17th due to “problems” with paper work; issues between the main office of the shipping company and the Guatemala office. After days of negotiation, faxes back and forth and the payment of some “adjustments”, the container was released. (more…)

Forest Fire

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, January 7th, 2007

During January and February 2005, the first wells were drilled at the International Children’s Care campus. It was very hot and as a result of no rain, very dry. The rig was set up in a broad depression in the land between the school and the orphanage. The four inch main water lines had been constructed to this point and a small concrete shed was prepared to house the valves, pump controllers and electrical connections to the power grid. The rig was working on the second well and making good progress. One afternoon we began to smell smoke on the wind and it grew progressively stronger. By five o’clock the sky was full of thick smoke. From the higher (more…)