Living Waters of the World in Guatemala

Living Waters of the World in Guatemala

Celebrating pure water at Las Canoas School, 2013

Seven hundred fifty million people (approximately one in nine) lack access to safe drinking water worldwide.  Of these, some 842,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation and hand hygiene. But diarrhea is largely preventable, and the deaths of 361,000 children under the age of five could be avoided each year if these risk factors were addressed. Where water is not readily available, people may decide hand washing is not a priority, thereby adding to the likelihood of diarrhea and other diseases.

With children particularly at risk from water-related diseases, access to improved sources of water can result in better health and therefore better school attendance, with longer-term consequences for their lives.

We believe that all people deserve the right to lead healthy, productive lives (Gates Foundation) and in 2009 our church sent its first mission team to Guatemala to explore sites for clean water projects.  The Team, having been trained in methodology, selected two sites, Shalom School and the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in Guatemala.  A team of seven installed the systems in April 2010.  July 2011 saw the second mission team in Las Conchas School, a small community in Zone 21 of Guatemala City, helping to install another water system and training the teachers and women from the community.

Work continues with installations/training in additional locations as well as follow-up visits to existing sites.  For each project, our church signs a covenant between us (the Initiating Partner) and the local site (the Participating Partner) for three years.  The three-year period insures repeat visits to train additional people and provide replaceable parts for the system.  The primary objective of these visits is to insure the SUSTAINABILITY of the system and continued training for proper use of clean drinking water and good sanitation practices.

The friendships and contacts our teams have made over the past years have led to other mission teams from First Presbyterian traveling to Guatemala.  We have established and continue to enhance relationships with the Iglesia Evangelica Nacional Presbiteriana de Guatemala (IENPG), the Presbyterian Church in Guatemala, with the Mission Workers in Guatemala, and especially with one local church in Guatemala City, the Bethel Presbyterian Church.

The door is open, all are invited to participate.  “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and truth.  I John 3:18.