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Archive for 2013

Loading Container for 2014

By Tim Rasmussen , Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

It was clear and cold on Wednesday the 4th of December when the truck and empty container pulled up to the door of Bartholomew’s shop in Spokane to be loaded for shipment to Guatemala. We had decided to load from inside the shop this year rather than facing the sometimes brutal out door conditions. We have the use of David Morrill’s forklift and Gary had worked hard to palletize most of the material we are sending.

This year there was a great deal of medical equipment that was donated by Deaconess Hospital that was being sent to the local Government Hospital in Poptun. We have shipped items before to the hospital, but this was by far the most we have been able to send. This material consisted of bedside monitors, examination tables, stainless steel racks, bedding, a manual operating room table, other operating room equipment, patient care items and other things that I cannot describe. This will make the hospital probably the best-equipped facility in all of Peten. I would like to be there when Dr. Lopez of the Ministry of Health receives (more…)

La Canoa Well Repair

By Tim Rasmussen , Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Berny Leonardo was working in the village of Barrial not long ago when he got a telephone call from one of the village elders of La Canoa. He was working with some men laying tile on the floor of a church building, which was a private project of the board of directors of Water for Life.

The call related that for some reason the pump at La Canoa was not working and had been out of service for about three days. The situation in the village was not good. The people had been forced to go back to the old source of drinking water, which was a small very contaminated creek that runs through the village.

After three days of drinking this water, people were beginning to get sick. (more…)

Lili Orellana

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Usually when we come to Guatemala to drill wells we work in rural villages to provide water for village people. These villages are typically far away from electricity, water systems and mini-marts. This year when I arrived, along with my helper and niece Erica, I was directed to take over for Dave Rutledge, a fellow Washingtonian, who was drilling a well near San Benito. This is a fairly populated town, in that it actually has traffic lights and stores just like home. The drill was set up about five miles out of town, about 100 feet from a (more…)

Neuva Concepcion

By Tim Rasmussen , Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

On March 11th my niece Erica, Marco Nieves from San Antonio, Texas and I loaded up the pump hoist truck and traveled to the mountain village of Neuva Concepcion. This is a village of about 150 people that is spread out over one mile of rough road in the hills between Poptun and San Luis. The plan was to install a solar pump in the well we drilled there last year.

Neuva Concepcion is in very hilly land and there are no streams or bodies of water nearby. The only way the folks could get water involved a horse ride to the (more…)

Snake Bite

By Tim Rasmussen , Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Last March, our man in Guatemala, Berny Leonardo, was working in Barrial. This is one of the more remote villages that have a well from Water for Life International. The village is near the Belize border and is about 1.5 hours drive from our shop and headquarters. He was finishing a church building that was a private project of the board members of Water for Life.

As he was getting ready to leave to go to Poptun and get more materials, a woman came to him with an urgent plea. A poisonous snake had bit her daughter the previous evening. She asked Berny if he could look at her and take her with him to the Doctor. She said she had no money to pay for the trip or the doctor, but said she knew that Water for Life helped people. (more…)

Coincidence or Providence?

By Tim Rasmussen , Friday, March 15th, 2013

This past season in Guatemala, we had to get along without the immediate assistance of Berny Leonardo. He has moved and is now the manager of a large school in Guatemala City. His absence made many things change and communication more troublesome. Gary Bartholomew was anxious about the problems he might have communicating when he needed to buy things in the town of Poptun. There was no need for anxiety.

Gary needed two small bottles of Argon for a wire welder so he went to the shop in Poptun where he usually buys oxygen. He tried to get the clerk to understand that oxygen was not what he wanted, but was making no progress. Then he noticed a man standing by who was crippled but able to use one crutch. One of his arms was cut off just below the elbow. The man spoke in English. “Do you need help?” (more…)

Fishing at Los Pinos

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Los Pinos is the name of the orphanage in Guatemala where the work of Water for Life began nearly 10 years ago to solve a contaminated water problem. Our first wells served this orphanage and school and our shop and living facilities are located on the campus of the school.

Over the years, the pumps serving this facility have required normal service, but sometime last fall one of the wells stopped working because the pipe broke and the pump fell to the bottom of the well. They switched to a back-up well and pump, but unless we could get the pump out, this well would be of no use permanently. So, one of the first things Gary did this year was to address this problem. Like any good driller, he and Pat Clark went fishing.

The well was about 300 feet deep with the pump being set at about 280. The pipe had broken about 200 feet down and the wire, being unable to carry the weight of the pump and pipe hanging in the hole, broke as well. It appeared that the wire had broken near the pump, but because we do not have any down-hole camera equipment, it was impossible to tell what really happened at the point of the broken pipe.

The first thing our tool brought up was a crushed water bottle and green plastic lid. It seems that children cannot resist putting anything that will fit down a hole. Perhaps they like to listen for the splash as things fall to the water level. We have found small rocks on top of cylinders and other things.

Gary was working inside the 4in plastic liner, but several attempts to get the tap into the broken pipe were not successful, so Gary used an upside down funnel to try and center the broken pipe inside the liner. With several modifications, the funnel finally went down on the pipe and centered it in the hole. With this accomplished, Gary and Pat were able to get the tap into the broken pipe and carefully turned a few times to cut some thread into the pipe to as to try and lift it out. Very gingerly Gary and Pat began to lift the pipe. The lift went slowly and smoothly and finally the pump came up and was out.

The pipe had broken at the point where it bells out to make a coupling. We have seen this before and believe it is a manufacturing defect. In Guatemala, quality control in manufacturing is not what it is in the USA.

If someone would like to be of real service to us, a down-hole camera would be a great help. We were able to rescue this well and put it back in service, but there are times that a camera would be invaluable. If you can help us, please contact Gary Bartholomew at 509-939-1941

Diesel and Oil

By Tim Rasmussen , Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Bob Perry of Spanish Fork Utah, was drilling for us in the San Benito area of Peten Guatemala. He was using the original Stadlei rig donated by Stadlei and Sons of Silverton Oregon. This rig is a Bucyrus Erie 22W of early 1950s vintage. The original engine had been a 6 cylinder Hercules gasoline engine which we had changed to a While diesel engine because of the problems we have with gasoline engines that sit for months between drilling seasons.

The White diesel was old and had previously been installed on a Bureau of Land Management rig. Because it had been sitting for many years, when we received it, we took it to Spokane had it checked from top to bottom. The oil analysis was good, the compression was (more…)

New Year’s Update

By Tim Rasmussen , Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

The Water for Life organization is headquartered near Spokane Washington, and our shop is located in rural NE Guatemala. We have one chance per year to send things down for our project, so the successful shipping of the container is very important to our progress. It is also a major expense item. Usually, the total for shipment and customs is about $16,000. USD

Our shipping agent is Jim Griffiths of Jimak Transportation International in Quebec Canada. Mr. Griffith sent a truck from Tacoma Washington to Jasper Oregon, with an empty container and be partially loaded, and then to Spokane (more…)