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Archive for 2014

The Container is Finally There

By Tim Rasmussen , Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The container finally left Seattle on the Veronique.  It made the scheduled stops in Oakland and then Balboa, Panama where the container was unloaded.  The container was in Balboa for 4 days and then was loaded onto the Esther Schulte, a smaller container ship that could enter the small ports at several countries in Central America.  The Ester Schulte made a stop or two and then arrived at Puerto Quetzal on the 24th.

Mr. Berny Leonardo was at the port of the 25th and began the process of getting the container through customs and onto a truck for the trip to NE Guatemala where our shop is located.  As usual, an armed guard would accompany the truck on the trip from the port to our shop.

I called Berny every day or two and he let me know the customs process was moving along slowly.   The government has increased the procedures for importation.  Now three separate inspections are required.  (Naturally we must pay for each)  Berny was informed by the port authorities that since the container was on a chassis, there was a fee of 1000Q (Quetzals) per day while it was there. There is no use pointing out that they made the decision to put it on a chassis when it first arrived and was unloaded.

One of the difficulties in importing a container is that the Shipping Company’s office is in Guatemala City and the fees had to be paid for in person there and then a document confirming the payment had to be presented in person to the Port authorities   So importing means several round trips.  It is about 4 hours one way, if the traffic is not bad.

Finally the customs officials presented the bill of  $6,000 USD for the duty on the container.  This was in addition to all the fees for inspections, storage, and moving that had been paid as a part of the process.  Berny paid the fee and they released the container.  Finally ready to go!

The container left the port on the night of Dec 5 for the 12-14 hour trip to our shop.  Only local trucks can come into Guatemala City during the day, so trucks carrying goods to other places wait in a huge parking lot outside the city until 10 at night when they can go through the city.

The container was safely unloaded in the evening of the 6th.  Thank the Lord everything was intact. The only damage was to our bank account, but we had enough.  In fact, the Lord gives us a never-ending supply of just enough.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

By Tim Rasmussen , Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The container needed to be in Port of Seattle by noon on Friday to make the cut off for the ship, so the loading at Bartholomew’s shop in Spokane was scheduled 7 am on Wednesday, October 15.   As usual, we were given 2 hours to load  (which is not enough), but this is our tenth container and we have learned to have as many things on pallets as we can so the loading is faster and the cargo more secure in the container.

We received a call from the driver about 7:30.  He seemed confused about the route to the shop from the Interstate, but he finally arrived about 45 minutes late.  There was a serious language difficulty communicating with the driver and he had difficulty backing the truck up to the shop door, but we got the truck was positioned and began loading.  The driver did not seem to take any interest in what was being loaded, which had not been the case with previous drivers, but stayed in his truck the entire time.

The loading was finished at about 10: 30 except for putting the all-terrain forklift into the container.  We needed the driver turn the truck around and back up to our loading dock so we could drive the forklift into the container.  In trying to position the truck, the driver did not seem to understand we needed him to move the rear of the truck so it was square to the loading dock and he would not follow our directions.    Finally, we bridged the gap with an iron sheet and precariously loaded the 10,000 lb forklift.  The total weight of the container was close to the 42,000 lb limit.

The driver tried to pull away from the dock to close the doors, but the truck would not move.  He did not seem to know how to release the trailer brakes.  Gary finally climbed up in the cab and made him understand that he had to rev the engine to build up air pressure to release the brakes. After about 15 minutes, he got the truck moving and closed and sealed the doors and left the yard for the 6-hour drive to dock in Seattle.  We were concerned for our cargo and our concern increased as the driver tried to make an impossibly sharp turn out of the driveway and nearly put the rig in the ditch.  We had never had this kind of trouble on this end of a voyage, but the container was our of our hands and on it’s way.

We received word on the following Tuesday that the container had missed the noon Friday cut-off at the port for loading on the ship. There had been no word to us, but the trucking company had rolled the booking to the next ship, which was to leave on Oct 29.  The container was unaccounted for during those days.

After many emails, we learned the container entered the port on Monday, but there was a question about who would be responsible for the late gate fee, the booking roll-over fee, the daily storage fee till the next ship, and the fee for this and for that.  At least the container was at the port, and hopefully the cargo was still intact.  We do not think we should pay for this delay, but our agent will negotiate the responsibility for the extra fees incurred.

We are anxious for our precious cargo, but as usual, we had entrusted this container into the Lord’s care so we will just trust Him to take care of our precious cargo and deliver it safe to our shop in Guatemala so its contents can be used to provide clean water and reducing human suffering.   This has never happened on the start of the voyage, and we hoped it was not a signal of trouble ahead for this container.

Loading Container for 2015

By Tim Rasmussen , Thursday, October 16th, 2014

This year we decided to send the container earlier because Gary was going to Guatemala in November to attend the graduation of his sponsored child at the orphanage. We tried to time it so Gary would be there when the container came into the country. There are usually problems at customs in one form or another and while we never send an American in to the customs office, it is good for one of us to be available to facilitate communications with the shipping company when a problem comes to the surface.

Loading Container 2015This year is special because of the all terrain forklift that we obtained and are shipping in the container. We have a small forklift in our shop, but it is no good outside. We needed something that can lift a length of well casing and put it on the roof rack of our pickups. This older CASE model will be just the ticket. CASE machines are common in Guatemala and parts will be no problem.

We also loaded a huge amount of hospital equipment donated to us by Deaconess hospital in Spokane. We shipped two x-ray machines, monitors, anesthesia machines, and 40 cases of linens, operating room lights, and tons of other things. The folks at the Ministry of Health and in the Government Hospital will be very happy. The hospital previously did not have an x-ray machine. These donations will improve the level of health care in
We now have 3 drilling rigs to support with pipe, pumps and tools. There are 67 wells we must keep serviced and producing. We believe that nearly 25,000 people are (more…)

Thanks to Corporate Doners

By Tim Rasmussen , Friday, July 18th, 2014

Water for Life International does the work in Guatemala, but we could not do it at all if it were not for our volunteer drillers who come each year and donate their time and experience to bring clean water to folks who have none. And the drillers could not drill if it were not for the donors who give money and materials to make their work possible. There are many companies who help us by providing material as a donation or at such reduced prices that it might as well be a donation. We would like to give recognition to the some of these companies.

Cetco supplies 2 pallets of bentonite each year for surface seals on the wells.
Baker Manufacturing sells the 11HD hand pumps & appurtenances to us each year at a deep discount.
The Spokane branch of Mitchell, Lewis & Staver Co., sets aside submersible pumps and motors that become available throughout the year. They also donate new pumps and fittings to WFL that serve critical needs that we encounter.
The STA-RITE pump company donates new pumps each year.
The Spokane branch of Preferred Pump gives a very good price to WFL for Grundfos solar pumps. This allows us to provide water in the deeper (400’-550’) wells when electricity is not available and the water level is beyond the capability of the hand pumps.
Basin & Range Drilling is owned by one of our volunteer drillers, Bob Perry. The company often donates much needed cable tools and parts in addition to the things Bob personally donates and supplies to us.
Tacoma Pump & Drilling donates much needed pump supplies (again above and beyond what our friends and the owners, Jon & Chris Hanson, supply). They also recruit others to drill and assist the project.
We also extend a warm thank you to the many contractors who donate casing, tools, elevators, cable, and parts when we contact them.

We do have some a special need. Our old Ford F350 trucks are wearing out. We have been purchasing Mitsubishi double cab diesel pickups to replace them. The smaller trucks work better on the roads and it is easier to obtain parts for them and store them in the off-season. We have a critical need to purchase another pickup for our dental and medical teams. A used diesel, 4 door, Mitsubishi will cost $15,000.00, but will serve many years.

If you can’t go to Guatemala and wish to be an integral part of improving the health of people, please consider helping us with this critical need.

El Pato

By admin , Sunday, May 25th, 2014

El Pato is one of the villages where H2O has been invited to give the vital and precious good liquid for that makes a healthy life.
It is located some 470 km from the Guatemala City. To get there it will take you some 11 hrs by road. In the village, most of the people speak only the Mayan quiche language. In dry season, many of the people will normally walk 1.5 hr. to bring some water to their home to use.
After some volunteers from H2O arrived with trucks and drilling system, they began to have a much better life. For them the white men brought joy and less work to have nice clean water to drink and use.
This year the villagers where still happier instead of having one pump they had 2 pumps. Thanks to some good kind hearted persons, we were able to give them a solar pump too.
But they did not now that the dry season this year was going to be harder. The demand for water was more and the first hand pump broke. So the call to H2o went out and we came to help. From the base where the equipment is to the El Pato village is almost 3 hrs driving in and another 3 hrs again to get out back. The road is terrible. Big holes and ruff rocks. Everything was going well until we came to a place where the truck stuck into a mud hole in the rode and underneath was a (more…)

WFL GUATEMALA 2014 REPORT

By admin , Monday, March 24th, 2014

The 2014 season began with Pat & Marilee Clark arriving late Dec., 2013 and Gary & Angie Bartholomew arriving Jan 1, 2014. They began by cleaning apartments and servicing equipment. As usual, many vehicle batteries were replaced, tires were inflated to proper pressure, all engines (16) were serviced and started and apartments were readied.
In addition to the Clarks and Bartholomews, there were 23 other volunteers this season: Bob Perry, Trent Caster, Oliver Edwards, Diana Anderson, Bucky Mowry, Speedy Gonzales, Dave Rutledge, Dave & Adrianne Morrill, Brenna Rittenour, Greg & Wendy Pomponi, Steve Barickman, Ken & Ruth Trefs, Jon & Chris Hansen, Jacob & Emily Hansen, Craig Gresham, Lisa Dernbach, Dominic Parmentier, and Bob Cole.
17 wells were drilled at the following sites: Las Lajas, Machaquila (West), Machaquila (South), Santa Elena school, San Pedro, Raxruha, Las Cruces (North), Las Cruces (South), Santa Isabel, Pioneres de la paz, Las Canas, AHICAM orphanage, Secoyob, Tikajal, Vista Hermosa, Dolores infant nutrition center, Ixyuc (East) and a well re-habilitation at Santa Isabel. The deepest well was 541’ and the shallowest well was 65’ with the average being 150’.
Some wells of special interest:
The Las Lajas well was for a campground for the N. Guatemala Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. The Mission began site preparation in Dec., 2013 and the (more…)

AHICAM

By Tim Rasmussen , Monday, March 24th, 2014

“AHICAM” is the name given to a small orphanage just outside of the city of Poptun where Water for Life International has its Guatemala headquarters. It is built on the side of a hill and accessed by a short but bumpy stretch of road. Luis and his wife, who are supported only by local people and church groups, operate the orphanage. They take tough cases that the court sends to them, but like the situation of other orphanages, the state sends them children but does not pay anything for their care. There are presently 42 children at the facility. Until this past season, the orphanage (more…)