“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 did not have a supply of water. They had to carry each precious gallon of water from a neighbor’s property.
One day a lady stopped by our shop to talk about the orphanage.
Gary was out so she left a note regarding the need and location. It seemed unlikely we could get to the well this year, but Bucky & Speedy heard about it and wanted to provide a well there “even if we have to work at night”. It was very hard to get the rig into the site. There was only 1 small spot to drill and a large outcropping of limestone prevented them from setting up. They rented a backhoe and it spent 3 hours to no avail on the hard rock. Then the orphans set to work with hammers and chisels. Finally, Bucky and Speedy found an air compressor and jack hammer and broke the outcropping and removed it. The rig was finally able to squeeze into the site. The well at AHICAM was finished at just over 100′. Because there was grid power available, Craig Gresham did wiring and plumbing after the pump was set. Jacob Hanson was involved in setting the pump. If the volunteers would not have been motivated by the great need they saw they would not have drilled for AHICAM. The well has changed the life of the orphans and the folks who work there. Now there is water for bathing, hygiene and cooking. They are able to keep the children clean and the place cleaner. I was in Guatemala for a few days in early April to attend to the business end of the project and visited AHICAM with Berny Leonardo. The woman greeted us warmly and showed us the orphanage home. Berny and the woman chatted warmly while I took some photos and smiled at the children and looked over the place a little.
After we left, Berny and I were quiet in the truck. We were both thinking about the circumstances of what we had seen at the orphanage and what we had learned about the lives of the children there. We saw again what a difference the presence of clean water makes to people who have none. I don’t understand much Spanish, but the gratitude of the director and the staff and the joy on the faces of the children was clear to understand. Won’t you help us? We are always in need of tools, volunteers and donations. You can help change the lives of people. Just call Gary.