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Water For Life Project Updates

Needs – Rotary Drill

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

One of the challenges Water for Life faces is the dwindling number of cable tool drillers. There are a limited number of men with experience in this technology and very few ways for interested persons to get experience in the technology. Probably this is because cable tool drilling is a technology that has been overtaken and passed by modern hydraulic and digital technology.

We utilize cable tool drills because we can fix things that break and wear out with a welder and basic tools, and for the more obvious reason is that is all we have. We now have three 22-W drilling rigs in service in Guatemala. These rigs have been upgraded to diesel power, so they are not very expensive to run and diesel fuel is more available than gasoline. We have a fuel trailer we can fill and take to the field if necessary to refuel a drilling rig once it is set up.

Water for Life has a loyal cadre of men who have experience in cable drilling and who are willing to donate some time to come and help the villagers in our area. Water for Life would not exist (more…)

Loading Container for 2015

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…)


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…)

New Year’s Update

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…)

Gearing up for 2013

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

This the time of year when Water for Life International is gearing up for the coming drilling season in Guatemala. As I write this in October, the material that will be shipped in a container has been gathered together, weighed and inventoried. The yard around the Bartholomew shop is lined with pallets of material and supplies, all carefully tarped or wrapped in plastic for protection from the possibility that it might snow before we can get these precious supplies into a container and headed south.

This year we plan on 57,000 lbs in the container. A good portion of it is the weight of 500 feet of brand new steel casing for wells. This was a gift from Paul Anderson who had read about our need and wanted to help. We thank him for his gift. It will benefit many people for many years.

This year we are going to try to introduce the container through the office of the wife of the President of Guatemala. She is in charge of the importation of (more…)

Container Shipping 2012

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

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 on December 8, to finish loading, and then to (more…)

Update 2011

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.

Update 2010

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Our 6th drilling season is in the record books. It started in early December of 2009 when a container loaded with supplies left Spokane, Washington headed for Guatemala. We anticipated that the container would arrive in mid to late December. As it was, it arrived in late February of 2010 which caused major delays in the work that was scheduled to be completed. One of the most important projects that was delayed was the installation of a new diesel engine onto one of the drill rigs. We were left with only one drill rig for use during the entire drilling season.

Volunteers started arriving in early January and in spite of the setbacks, 4 wells were eventually completed and hand pumps were installed. The first well was drilled at Canchacan to the depth of 352′ with 4 gallons per minute. The second well was drilled at Champas Quemadas and was drilled to 204′ deep with 5 gallons per minute. The third well at Pena Blanca was completed at a depth of 302′ and the fourth well for 2010 was drilled at Barillal with a final depth of 165′. Each of the four wells had hand pumps installed.

In addition to the wells in villages, a hand pump was installed in the well drilled last year at Ixyuc and an electric pump was placed in the 550′ well completed last year at Jabonche. The electric pump that was sent in the container for use at Jabonche was missing when the container was unloaded in Guatemala so a new pump had to be purchased.

Also, a pump was replaced in the #4 well at the ICAP campus. While pulling the pump to replace it a pipe failed and the pump dropped to the bottom of the well. After three days of prayers and unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the pump, the Lord blessed and the pump was retrieved!

The automatic transmission failed in our pump truck in Guatemala so we bartered with a local driller to set the electric pump at Jabonche and the hand pump at Pena Blanca. We traded several surplus large pump motors for his pump work and his lathe work that provided new threads on several of our drill tools.

A Deutz diesel engine was installed in one of our drill rigs after it finally arrived in the container it replaced the existing propane engine that was worn and inefficient. The new engine will save over $100 per day in fuel costs.

A 2004 Mitsubishi pickup was purchased this year to help assist in our growing transportation needs. A rebuilt automatic transmission was purchased for the Chevy pump truck.

In addition to the drilling and pump work, our volunteers painted some of the buildings on the Los Pinos and ICAP campuses, built racks to organize and store drill steel, built wooden stools for the cafeteria, provided dental work in several villages and held 5 evangelistic meetings just to name a few. Some medical needs that our volunteers assisted in helping were 2 boys from Barillal that had fevers for 20 days, a man from Canoa that had a disc problem in his lower back. They found a girl from Sabaneta that needs surgery to remove a growth from her face, and another girl from Pena Blanca who won’t be able to walk unless she has surgery on her legs. Water for Life International would like to find help for these children.

The evangelistic meetings led to 22 baptisms. We provided funding for fuel, provided literature, and some equipment for the members of the orphanage church and the ICAP church to continue working where we held meetings.

A big THANK YOU to all of our volunteers; Bob Perry, Dave Rutledge, Bucky Mowrey, Dominic Parmentier, Monte Johnson, Speedy Gonzales, Edgar Dominquez, John Kouns, Ed Pier, Ed Ross, Dennis, Bob Wesner, Alex Nischuck, Dennis Porter, Anna Kriger, Rhonda Beyreis, Dan Fuller, Laura Fuller, Lynette Hayden, Justin Hayden, Blake Hayden, Rebecca Miller, Marcello Martinez, Scott Davis, Bob Horowitz, Mike Conaway, Karen Conaway, Lynn Bartholomew, Kathie Bartholomew, Shane Robins, Donna Robins, Dale Wendt, Norma Wendt, Vic Perger, Cindy Perger, Tim Rasmussen, Annette Rasmussen, Dave Morrill, Aaron Morrill, Gary Bartholomew, and Angie Bartholomew.

This year a significant portion of the funds were provided by three major organizations; Hope for Humanity, Positive Life Radio, and Versacare. We would also like to thank the many individual contributors for their prayers and financial support. Our success depends upon each one that is involved!

What you have done has put a smile on the faces of these children. “Verily I say unto you inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

Update 10-2009

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009


2009 Updates

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

This past January, February, and March, Water for Life International, continued efforts to bring clean water to the villages of rural northeast Guatemala.

Organizational Progress:

Water for Life International has been granted 501(c) (3) status as a tax exempt organization by the IRS. We can now accept donations directly and give tax deduction letters to donors. We have established a bank account in Guatemala, and will retain the services of an attorney to register our corporation there as a foreign non-profit corporation. (more…)