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 water source was a two-hour trip carrying about 20 gallons. The folks there had tried to hand dig a well, and they were at 25 feet in the dense limestone before they quit.
The well we had drilled was approximately 385 feet deep with the static water level at 181 feet. The formations drilled were mostly limestone with some siltstone and sandstone at the bottom. The well was test bailed at 4 gpm. We had planned a solar pump there because there is no grid power and the static level was too deep for a hand pump, but we had not been successful because the pump had seized up after just a couple of days of use and it took more than a month to get a replacement into the country.
When we arrived on site I noted that Pat Clark and the pump crew had done a great job of installing the reservoir, solar panels and electrical connections, all we had to do is place the pump in the well and turn on the switch.
Amazingly, the pump took right off and was pumping 1 to 2 ½ gallons per minute depending on the sun’s position behind the clouds. It took a little over two hours to fill the 300-gallon reservoir. I was happy to see that the water was clear and it tasted very good considering all the calcium carbonate down the hole.
On Sunday March 17 I attended my first well dedication. Wow! What an event! We were the first to arrive (Erica Hansen, Rod Bartholomew, Samir Salazar and myself). It was about 9:30 am and no one else was there. If it hadn’t been for some of the decorations in place we probably would just head back home (we misunderstood the start time). Eventually people started showing up and at 11:00 am it got under way. This ceremony consisted of about 15 speeches including both political and thankfulness for the new source of water. This was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and finally a friendly water fight (instigated by Sergio Diaz, Mayor of San Luis), which felt very refreshing in the 90-degree temperatures. Following the activities at the well site we all drove down to the village school where they had set up a banquet for us, there were more people in attendance here, probably well over 100 folks. The food was great and plenty of it. If you eat with Guatemalan’s they won’t let you go away hungry, even if they have to go without. Thank you to all the donors who made this effort possible.