Los Amates, El Salvador
An amazing week. There are no other words to describe the experience of drilling a water well for the people of Los Amates. The people who live in this cluster of homes along a short stretch of an unpaved road near the Pacific Ocean have longed for a clean water source for quite some time. I must confess that more than once this week it looked doubtful that the people of Los Amates would have their well anytime soon.
This has been the week of unexpected challenges and setbacks. Just about the time it looked like we were making progress something would happen to shut us down. We felt like the itsy bits spider in the popular kids song: “The itsy bits spider climbed up the water-spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out.” But, the song continues, “Out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy bits spider climbed up the spout again.”
This morning we completed the water well for the people of Los Amates. For the first time this week the sun was shining bright with hardly a cloud in the sky. When we bolted on the cover to the pump and started to work the handle, we could hear water gurgling up the pipe. Within a few seconds a gush of cool, clean water spilled onto the concrete pad to the delight of everyone present. That single moment made the long days and late nights of working in the rain and humidity worth it all.
I’m very proud of our team for sticking it out and working such long hours to make the dream of a water well in Los Amates a reality. I like Newt Gingrich’s definition of perseverance: — “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” Our guys persevered. After working themselves to the point of exhaustion in the heat and humidity of the day, they continued working several more hours into the night without complaining.
All the while that our team was working, the community was watching. They noticed the joyful attitude of our team members and our determination to keep going. This morning when we dedicated the water well, Gustavo Frank spoke on behalf of our team and reminded the people that the well was a gift from God. Two of the community leaders told the people how happy they were that we had not given up when things had gotten tough. One older man said, “We don’t have any money to give you for sticking it out and giving us the gift of this water well. But I am asking God to bless you for what you have done to bless us.”
I am grateful for our hard-working team. I am also grateful for Geremias (lead driller) and Gerardo (assistant driller), the Agua Viva staffers who guided our work this week. These guys are amazing. We were privileged to share a great adventure this week in serving the people of Los Amates. We will return home on Saturday to all of the conveniences we enjoy and take for granted, especially the access we have to a seemingly unlimited supply of water. May the sound and sight of the water in our homes prompt us to pray for those who are still longing and waiting for a cup of clean water.