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 main highway. This was an advantage because there would be no dusty dirt roads.
The property owner put us up in a cute little motel in downtown San Benito. On February 28th when Erica and I arrived on the drill site Dave and the ranch owner, Lili Orellana, met us. Dave had gotten the well down to about 125 feet. He had also done most of the hard work getting the hole sealed to over 40 feet and 6 inch casing down to 96 feet.
After 5 days of hard and soft limestone drilling we reached 265 feet in depth. Most of the water was trickling in between 100 and 150 feet. We test pumped it and got about 2 gpm for 4 hours with 80 feet of drawdown. The static water level was near 86 feet. Not knowing if there was any water deeper and not having much more good cable on the drum we decided to call it good. The last day on site we installed a 4 inch slotted PVC liner to help hold the hole open. Lili had a 7500-gallon reservoir sitting on a hill waiting for the well to pump water. I received an email from Lili recently and she and the well are doing fine in Guatemala.
Lili made sure we were provided with a good freshly prepared lunch every day. As we ate together we began to learn her story. Her husband had died several years ago and she has been raising her 3 children herself. They had owned a construction company, which she managed after his death for several years, but she recently sold most of the equipment and the business. On her ranch she is striving to produce agricultural jobs for several families by raising cattle and a chicken and egg production facility, very small by our standards but not so in Guatemala.
Lili has a beautiful smile and a loving heart, which you pick up on the first time you meet her. She will open the well and give water to local people with a need. She also has a 3000-gallon tank truck left over from her contracting days and they are hauling water to remote villages with it. Lili has been successful in Guatemala due to her honesty, kindness and, as she will tell you, her faith in God.