The call came from one of our friends in Guatemala, Bob Sutton, a member of Pueblo Partisans, a non governmental community development group, saying that the pump at Tanhoc had stopped producing water. The people were out of water and had to go back to the old way; drinking the contaminated river water that was their only other source or hauling clean water for several miles. They asked us if we could come and help or send someone. This was in mid September of last fall.
This was one of the things we have been concerned about since the beginning. How would we service the pumps and wells that we installed? The villages were dependant upon this clean water and we felt responsible for continuing to make it available. After several days’ discussion between board members, it was decided to send Gary Bartholomew down to fix this pump and make arrangements to train and contract with someone there to take care of these needs in the future.
Gary left in early October and arrived on about the 14th. After pulling the pump from the well at Tanhoc, he discovered that the leathers were worn completely out. Evidently the high percentage of suspended solids in the water, combined with the high usage of the well (this well serves over 200 people) had resulted in excessive wear on the pump cylinder down in the well. Rather than rebuild the cylinder, Gary replaced it with another new unit and the people of Tanhoc were drinking clean water and happy again.
Gary went on to service a couple of more pumps in other villages. During his time there, he trained some workers of our friend, Tom Troger, who operates a drilling and well service company in Guatemala, to replace our pumps and service the wells in the villages when we are not there. We also learned that we must establish a regular service program to monitor the pumps to make sure that the supply of clean water is maintained.
During his time there Gary made contact with Dr. Mendez who is in charge of the ministry of health in the Poptun area. Dr. Mendez said he had wondered why some of the villages weren’t having the occurrences of stomach problems and infant deaths, until he learned that we were working there. Then he no longer wondered why the health of some of the people was so improved. He is very happy to have the help of our drillers and is very happy that the people in his area benefit so much from what we do.
Please come and help us. It will change your life as you change others.