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Archive for 2011

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By Tim Rasmussen , Friday, December 9th, 2011

December 8, 2011, it a Thursday, it was cold, the coldest day of the year so far. The temperature hovered in the low twenties. A good thing about the day was that there was no snow on the ground. Another good thing was that the container was being loaded at Bartholomew’s shop to begin its journey to Guatemala.

We have been told to expect about 30 days for the shipping to Central America, but we have given up trying to predict when the container will arrive no matter what we are told. (more…)

Nightmare in La Compuerta

By Tim Rasmussen , Thursday, June 16th, 2011

La Compuerta is an old community about 40 km from our shop near Poptun in Northeast Guatemala. The last 25 km is a bone-jarring ride up and down steep hills over a road that is places is more like a dry riverbed than anything else. It goes over beautiful terrain, but it is not a pleasant ride. It seems to be a better ride in the smaller trucks, probably because there is less distance to be thrown. The only water they have is from a sink hole. I have seen cattle drinking on one side or the sink hole while the women get water for homes on the other. The villagers were very happy that we were there to help them.

Because the trip to La Compuerta took so long, Bucky and Speedy determined that they would spend as many nights there as they could. (more…)

At Last!

By Tim Rasmussen , Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The note was in an email from the Fred Osorio, our lawyer in Guatemala. It was translated to state the following: “It is a great pleasure to greet you and wish you much success. The reason I am sending this message is to let you know that on this date, Water For Life is now registered in the Ministry of Government, as you can see from the attachment the certificate of inscription (official signature), where appear the details of inscription. The business is not concluded yet, it still lacks the Naming of Legal Representative, Mr. Berny Leonardo. Nevertheless, I calculate that this work is about 80% finished. I ask your forgiveness for the delay. However, it is because of excessive work in the Ministry of Government. Tomorrow I will present for inscription the Naming of the Legal Representative, so I estimate that I will be completing the whole work in about 15 days.”

These few words marked a long sought goal of our project. This was our obtaining official government recognition as a (non-governmental organization) status. This status, along with completing the final step of getting the “franquisia,” which is a different process, and will allow us to (more…)

Dan Fuller

By Tim Rasmussen , Friday, April 8th, 2011

Dan Fuller and his wife Laura are board members and faithful volunteers from Spokane. Together they form the backbone of our dental health program in the villages. This is the fourth year they have come to Guatemala and the third year doing dental work. We have a portable dental chair that they use and a small generator for electricity for lights. They work in villages where we are drilling wells and in villages where we have wells.

On Feb 24, toward the end of their visit this year, they made a second trip to La Compuerta. This village is about 30 km away from our shop. The last 20 km of the trip is a bone-jarring ride, up and down steep hills on a road which can be described as being like an old river bed. It is truly a nasty trip through dry hills past corn and bean fields. The trip is best made in one of our little Mitsubishi crew-cab trucks, perhaps because they are smaller and there is less space to be thrown around inside, but it is still a tough trip.

La Compuerta is a village on the top of some of these dry hills. There are about 700 people who live there. We have made two attempts to put a well in there, but both have been unsuccessful. I visited in one of the villages and learned the only water was in a pond where the cattle drank too. Dan and Laura went back to finish the dental clinic work they had done earlier.

As they worked, Dan was interrupted by a woman who had a child in her arms. The little girl was about 2 and a half. She had a fever and was listless. She was not unconscious, but unable to walk or do much more than hold up her hand. It seemed very possible that the little girl was dying.

Dan and Laura decided to give her ½ a Tylenol and see if she got any better. Dan remembered that dehydration can cause a fever and gave her a full glass of water with the pill. She drank the 12 oz readily. They gave her another glass. The effect was dramatic. Within 20 minutes of drinking the water she was walking around talking and laughing. Her fever was gone and she was entirely back to normal. She went from a very sick little girl to healthy because of drink of clean water.

Later they had a chance to talk to a lady who is a teacher in La Compuerta. They spoke about the need for drinking water. The teacher said yes, she knows and tries to encourage the people to drink, but when she tells them to drink, the people say back to her, “If we drink the water we will die.” (more…)

Winging it to Guatemala – Part 3

By Tim Rasmussen , Monday, March 28th, 2011

Bucky and Speedy finished the work they had done in the Poptun area and made plans to fly to El Salvador to check on the well at the International Children’s Care orphanage there. We have been trying to help them for about two years and Bucky wanted to personally check on the repairs another volunteer, Steve Marstaller, had made on the old rig that was there.

They landed at Guatemala City, paid the landing fee, the ramp fee and the departure fee and filed a flight plan and took off toward El Salvador. When they were about 20 miles from San Salvador airport, they called to ask permission to land. There was no response for a few minutes, and then they were told that permission was denied. They asked again while they circled some distance away from the airport and were denied again. They were told that if they landed without permission they would be fined US $10,000. The plane would probably be impounded until they paid the fee. They tried to explain and beg, but it was to no avail. Permission was denied. They had no choice but to fly back toward Guatemala City. (more…)

Winging it to Guatemala – Part 2

By Tim Rasmussen , Monday, March 28th, 2011

Speedy Gonzales packed his bag in the back of the Cherokee 180 and carefully got his friend Bucky strapped into the passenger seat. They were both ready to leave Beeville, Texas. Although the plane was near the weight limits, Bucky was lighter by the weight of 5 kidney stones which he had passed over two painful days. But he was weighed down by the bill from the hospital for just under $11,000. How this could have been racked up in a little over two hours in the emergency room was, and still is, a mystery. (And we thought the only thieves were in Guatemala)

First was a stop in McClellan, Texas for the documents for Mexican customs and permission for the flight. That turned into an 8 hour ordeal for the paperwork, almost as painful as passing a kidney stone. Finally finished, they launched for their first stop, Vera Cruz. The got fuel and then back into the air headed south. As they flew, the ceiling kept getting lower and lower till they were getting into the soup at less than 700 ft above ground level. It was time to turn around and get back on the ground.

After a night’s stop in Pose Rica they flew on without incident and landed at the airfield in Poptun. Gary was there to meet the weary travelers. They had been one week on the way and very glad to rest for a couple of days before the drilling work started. (more…)

Update 2011

By admin , Friday, March 25th, 2011

Update 2011 – 7th drilling Season

The project began the first week in January. As we arrived in Guatemala City we were asked to look at a proposed orphanage site (there are 317,000 orphans in Guatemala) near Chimaltenango and give advice of how to access a clean water source. We met Dan Smith of Paradise Bound Ministries and were able to propose a plan. The site is a particular challenge as it is located on a slender ridge elevated 800’ above the river. Their ministry presently builds simple housing for villagers as a way of establishing a relationship to present the Gospel.

In Chimaltenango, 3 miles from the proposed orphanage site, residents pay 5 quetzales/month for water. In newer villages where wells have been drilled more recently, costing significantly more, the villagers are asked to pay 70 quetzales/month. Many of those folks are returning to use the river rather than pay that much. Dan said many of the illnesses from parasites and severe skin problems are returning.

Our first drilling site was Ixbobo where Bob Perry and Dave Andreson began drilling with the Olson drill. This is the site chosen this year by the Upper Columbia Youth department to construct a church facility. Bob and Dave drilled 200 feet and we followed by installing a hand pump. At the scheduled dedication a couple weeks later we made the point that we don’t make water, the Lord does. The local pastor gave a message and we had prayer. The villagers were SO appreciative . . . and commented how wonderful the water was.

Bob and Dave then moved to Tanhoc and started well #2 there. Pueblo Partisans has been actively assisting the folks in Tanhoc for several years, showing them how to improve their economy and lifestyle. Another charitable entity has offered to help in Tanhoc with a reservoir and water lines throughout the village. Electricity is in the village and the second well will have a submersible pump in it to fill a reservoir on top of the nearby hill. Clean water from the hand pump installed 5 years ago has been a significant health benefit. Amy Backes from Pueblo Partisans said she couldn’t have stayed in the village if she hadn’t had the safe water. It’s very gratifying to see the villagers take the initiative to improve their way of life with this next step.

The drill then went to La Compuerta, a village of 700 at the top of a very high mountain. We didn’t hold much hope of finding water at that altitude. Bucky Mowrey & Speedy Gonzales tried a couple holes 200’ deep, losing a set of drill tools in one hole after a major collapse of the formation. Jon Hansen finished the last part of the last hole before moving the drill back to ICAP. Our thoughts are that a successful well may have to go 900’ – 1,100’ which is beyond our capability. We will consider drilling a couple miles down slope where there is power available and a much better chance of obtaining water.

Bucky, Speedy, and Jon Schoblocher began the well in Morazan with the Stadeli drill. Dominic Parmentier and Bob Cole finished the well and set a hand pump, then moved to Colonia Lourdes, completed a well there, and installed a hand pump.

After starting the well in Morazan and prior to drilling in La Compuerta Bucky & Speedy went to El Salvador for a few days, cleaned out a standby well with the 72 Star drill at that site for the ICC orphanage and installed a pump. This will give a standby water source if the main pump fails. The original plan was to drill another well or two; however, upon observing the water situation, Bucky & Speedy determined there is plenty of water. Water is being wasted in the facility, there are several leaks in water lines that need to be repaired and the check valve was not functioning properly in the large pump. The large pump would easily fill the 40,000 gal. reservoir then the water would go back down the well, emptying the reservoir and leaving the campus with no water for awhile. We arranged for the check valve to be corrected and the system is operating properly now.

Dave Rutledge and Monte Johnson upgraded the carrier truck under the Stadeli drill 50 years by replacing the 1942 GMC with a 1992 International diesel. They moved to Poxte and drilled near to the water reservoir that has previously been filled by river water. The river is nearly dry and no water is in the system. This well, with the existing reservoir and water distribution system will serve several hundred villagers. John Hansen finished that last few feet of drilling and provided a pump test.

Pat Clark upgraded the pump truck carrier from the 1972 Chevrolet to a 1992 Izuzu cabover diesel.

We had 2 dental teams that worked in the villages with us this year. Steve Barrickman came from Ohio and worked one week, being assisted by Lin Avendano and Berny Leonardo, Jr. This team was very professional and efficient. Dr. Barrickman came in after long tiring days pulling teeth and said “wow, I need to take my vitamins”.

Dan Fuller and his sister Lyn Hayden worked for 1 ½ weeks and were assisted by Laura Fuller, Justin Hayden, Blake Hayden, and Rebecca Miller. Comments were heard regarding how caring this team was. Many medical and spiritual needs, other than dentistry, were addressed by both teams. Dan did some of the evangelistic meetings in Barillal. Arrangements have been made for some villagers with critical medical needs to access assistance through the coming months.

The Second Hope Ministries team provided 6 days of basic village health training in Poptun. The coordinator was Dr. Ron Fleck with his wife, Bobbi. Dr. Don Fletcher, Karen Fletcher, R.N., Sherry Weidemann, R.N. and Diana Anderson, R.N. completed the team. They addressed such topics as basic hygiene, first aid, CPR, fevers, intestinal problems & cures. This medical training was truly God-centered. 30 people were chosen by the Health District to attend. It was extremely successful, pertinent, and valuable according to the attendees and the Health District. At the close of the week Dr. Mendez, the director of the Health District said, “The keys to the city are yours.” They want us to return.

Our website should link to secondhopeministries.org. Please check it out and see the Guatemala project.

Lin Avendano provided CPR training for volunteer firemen at God’s Helping Hands clinic. They hope we can provide more training for them in the future.

We installed conduit and main service wire to our shop, which will allow us to delete the overhead temporary smaller wire. While the excavator was there we installed 12” diameter culverts on each side of the road in front of our shop. The old 4” PVC pipes often plugged with weeds and trash, causing the water to wash down the roadway instead of the ditch, taking the ballast with it each year. We also purchased 5 loads of ballast and placed it on the north side of the shop in hopes of building an attached vehicle storage building there in the future.

We sold the reservoir forms and that frees the space in #3 container. The extra space is much needed and we moved the container to the north side of the shop where it can be used as a wall for the shop extension.

The Stadeli drill is stored in the shop of God’s Helping Hands at Machaquila where we will provide a second (standby) well next season for the clinic. They are using our 70 sections of scaffolding to facilitate the building of their large multi-purpose center.

The blue Mitsubishi pickup is at Berny’s house in Guatemala City. This frees some space in our shop and he’ll use it occasionally to prevent battery and mold problems.

The red Mitsubishi pickup went off the road and rolled over causing extensive damage. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt! We’ll have Berny check prices for repair soon.

The Upper Columbia Conference is using 3 of our trucks, cement mixer, scaffold & tandem trailer to assist in the current church building and evangelism project.

WFL provided much Spanish literature, Bibles, and Bible studies this season. Our supplies of literature are gone now.

The project ended March 6.

Our 36 volunteers were: Pat Clark, Marilee Clark, Gary Bartholomew, Angie Bartholomew, Bob Perry, Dave Andreson, Dominic Parmentier, Bob Cole, Bucky Mowrey, Speedy Gonzales, Dave Rutledge, Monte Johnson, Ron Fleck, Bobbi Fleck, Don Fletcher, Karen Fletcher, Diana Anderson, Sherry Weidemann, Lin Avendano, Steve Barrickman, Berny Leonardo Jr., Dan Fuller, Laura Fuller, Lyn Hayden, Justin Hayden, Blake Hayden, Rebecca Miller, Lynn Bartholomew, Kathie Bartholomew, Jon Hansen, Chris Hansen, Rod Bartholomew, Tim Davis, Ruth Davis, Tim Rasmussen, and Jon Schoblocher.

Winging it to Guatemala – Part I

By Tim Rasmussen , Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Bucky Mowrey and Speedy Gonzales watched the countryside slide evenly beneath the wings of the Cherokee 180 as they followed their course, ever to the South and West. They were on the way to our headquarters in Guatemala. This would be their fourth trip to help us. They are from central Ohio, and because they had done this before, they knew what to expect when they got to Guatemala, but this time they had decided to make the trip in Speedy’s plane. Partly for the adventure and also so they could carry the 90 baby quilts, made by Bucky’s mom, which were packed into the back with parts, tools and other things. The plane was near the weight limit. (more…)

The Call

By Tim Rasmussen , Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The call came from one of our friends in Guatemala, Bob Sutton, a member of Pueblo Partisans, a non governmental community development group, saying that the pump at Tanhoc had stopped producing water. The people were out of water and had to go back to the old way; drinking the contaminated river water that was their only other source or hauling clean water for several miles. They asked us if we could come and help or send someone. This was in mid September of last fall.

This was one of the things we have been concerned about since the beginning. How would we service the pumps and wells that we installed? The villages were dependant upon this clean water and we felt responsible for (more…)

To the Rescue

By Tim Rasmussen , Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

At the close of last years drilling season in March, as the Stadeli rig left the last village drill site, it was obvious the old 1946 Military 6×6 was nearing the end of its service life. Only the front axle was pulling. There was a serious malfunction in the transmission. It would move, but slowly and it gave one the thought that it could die at any moment. The Bucyrus 22W drill rig was still in good shape. What we needed was a new truck under it.

To the rescue come our good friends Bucky and Speedy from Ohio. Bucky was asked if we were interested in 2000 International diesel flat bed truck with about 47,000 miles on it. It had been a propane tank delivery truck and had a lift on the rear. It was available for under $3000. It took about 20 seconds for Bucky to decide we were interested. He checked out the truck and it appeared to be in good shape. Now to get it to Guatemala.

Speedy (who owns a small trucking business) offered to drive it to Miami where it could go onto a roll-on roll-off ship bound for Central America. As he headed south from Ohio, there was a large crate on the back that was of special interest to me. It was an old heavy-duty power chair I had purchased on Craig’s list to use in Guatemala. It seems to be excellent shape and uses two car batteries. I shipped it to Ohio in time to be loaded with other tools and things on the back of the truck and go on to Guatemala.

After the drive to Florida, Speedy is certain that we have a good truck. The fare for the shipping was about $2500. The truck was left with the shipper and then the trouble started. Somehow the title had been lost in transit. It took three weeks of paperwork and a special power of attorney before a new title was in our hands and then theirs and the truck could be loaded.

On January 24 the ship arrived at the port in Guatemala, but there was flooding and the ship was not allowed to dock for three days. Finally, we got the word that the truck had been unloaded and Berny Leonardo left on a bus to work his magic and bring the truck through the customs process. We learned long ago not to have an American anywhere near the import process. It makes everything more complicated and that means more money is needed to solve the complication. The land of the fee comes to mind again.

On Tuesday, Feb 1, the truck with my wheelchair on board rolled into our shop on the campus. Annette and I are leaving in 4 days to visit our children at the orphanage and be involved in our drilling efforts. Please come and join us sometime. It will change your life to be a blessing to someone.