How long has WFL been in existence? We started in 2004 by providing water to an orphanage where children were impacted by water borne disease.
Is my gift tax deductible? Yes, a receipt for your taxes will be sent in a timely manner. WFL is a 501 (C) (3)
What kind of wells are provided? We drill until reaching a safe and adequate water supply; usually 100’ to 300’ depth. We then install a hand pump as pictured in our gallery. This integrates very well into the rural village life and is compatible with their needs where no grid power exists.
How is a site selected? We work with municipalities, village leaders, and the government health ministry.
Why not use water filters? We looked at this option; however, filters require maintenance and must be cleaned or replaced by trained staff. When dry season comes, a water source is necessary and the wells keep on giving.
What about solar power? We use solar pumps when the well is too deep for hand pump operation.
How can I help? We have many opportunities in addition to providing a donation. We are unpaid volunteers and operate through the generosity of volunteers. Most volunteers keep returning. Their payment comes:
In the form of gratification of seeing a pump start in a village and the villagers rushing to get safe water,
When a mother says “Thank you for the well you provided last year, this is the first year we’ve lost none of our babies.”
Can I go to Guatemala and help? We rely on volunteers to accomplish our work. If your trade, profession, hobby, or ‘jack-of-all-trades’ can advance the project we’d be delighted to have you. Contact us and we’ll let you know our present needs. The most important quality of a volunteer in a developing country is flexibility. Please contact us by phone 208-907-0010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I get there? Allow 2 days to get to our project. Fly to Guatemala City and spend the night there at a hotel, bed & breakfast, or hostel. There are large hotels such as Barcelo or Howard Johnson that have an airport shuttle and small hostels such as Dos Lunas that have the same. The next morning:
You may wish to fly North to Flores (FRS) on TACA or TAG airline (approx. $240.00 r.t.) and we can meet you in Flores or you may take a 15 passenger commuter bus from Flores to Poptun and we’ll meet you there. Our shop and accommodations are 7 miles from Poptun.
The other option from Guatemala City is to take a bus (approx. $60.00 r.t.) to Poptun and we’ll meet you in Poptun. Cristobal Colon is the new name of the bus line we use but the website and ticket purchase are still listed as Linea Dorada. A taxi can transport you from your hotel to the bus station in Guatemala City and the bus generally leaves 10:00 a.m. and arrives in Poptun at approximately 5:00 p.m.
Where do I stay? Your destination is ICAP (Instituto de Capacitacion Adventista del Peten) a Seventh-day Adventist vocational boarding school and our shop and apartments are on that property. The cafeteria there serves vegetarian meals and we eat there most of the time. We are guests there and from Friday evening sundown to Saturday evening sundown no work is done on our Water for Life projects. You are welcome to worship at the campus church or the Los Pinos orphanage church ½ mile away or visit places of interest in the neighboring area. Some volunteers like to go to the villages where they have worked in the past or visit Tikal, the major Mayan ruins 2 ½ hours North. Sunday keepers, please feel free to take Sunday off also if you wish. While at ICAP, NO SMOKING is allowed and NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES are allowed on the property. Also, DO NOT DRIVE the Water for Life vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.
What do I need to bring? First of all, a passport is necessary. No visa or shots are required at this time to enter Guatemala. If you are dependent upon important medications be sure to keep some with you, not leaving all of them in checked luggage which can get lost for some time. Also, bring something for upset stomach or diarrhea. Carry toilet paper with you at all times as most public restrooms don’t have paper. Clothing: the weather can vary from the cool mid 50’s to the high 90’s. Plan to take layers of clothing, as the buildings are not heated and late evenings and early mornings can be very cool. Take a light rain jacket. A pair of flip flop type sandals are helpful around the apartments. We have a washer and dryer with laundry detergent supplied. Bring your own personal toiletries. Hair dryers and electric razors can be used, as the voltage is the same as in the U.S. Bring your favorite insect repellent and something to help reduce itch after an insect bite.
Money: Banks don’t exchange American currency but cash machines are common where, with your debit card, and a call to your bank previous to going to Guatemala, you can get up to $265.00 exchanged each day. If you can anticipate the amount of cash you’ll need, one of the best ways is to have your local bank get Quetzals for you prior to your trip. Give the bank a month notice to get the Quetzals for you. More stores, hotels, etc. are accepting credit cards as time goes on.
What does WFL provide? We provide beds, sheets, pillows, toilet paper, laundry detergent, towels, and hand soap. If you’re working around the shop the meals are provided at the school cafeteria. If you’re out on a job you may take a lunch or the villagers will generally want to feed you. Most necessities can be purchased in Poptun which is 11 km from our shop and lodging.
Communication back home: Internet is available at ICAP. Cell phones are inexpensive ($ 40.00 for a simple one) and calling the U.S. is very easy. If you don’t need to call often, the project hosts are happy to let you use their phone.
Other attractions: There are many interesting things to see in Guatemala if you can spend a few more days. Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, the National Palace, museums, and the National Market are a few things you may wish to check out.