Shortly after Thanksgiving 2017 I received a call that our current well was having problems and not keeping up with the demands. We already had a 3rd well site that was inspected and just waiting on funding to begin the construction. The situation was critical and could not wait any longer. Seeing how God provided in the past we stepped out on faith once again to begin this project we knew would cost over $10,000. A plan was formulated and construction began. A 10 day time period was given to have this project fully completed and providing water. Well…pardon the pun, this was not an easy feat. The coordination between the people hand digging the well, and the people constructing the equipment room and water tower around the perimeter of the well, did not start off very good. The well digger ran into problems with the sides collapsing back down into the well, and had to install concrete rings and back fill with sand and gravel around them before any further construction could begin. This put our construction of the tower behind schedule. However, once the area around the well was safe and secure, the contractor for the tower caught up really fast with some help from the community.
Meanwhile, I had my own battle going on with getting the solar panels we needed to power everything. Due to the extreme cost of the solar panels on our first well that were purchased in Guatemala, we decided it was much less expensive to purchase the panels here in the US and take to Guatemala. For the second well we built, DELTA AIRLINES graciously donated the space for us to take these panels on the plane with me earlier this year. Unfortunately, American Airlines did not due to a baggage embargo they em-posed upon themselves. We had 10 solar panels to bring and were only allowed to bring 2 (more on this later). So the MacGyver mentality I have been blessed with began to find a way to make what we had work. We had one solar panel left over from another project, so with the addition of the two I brought would at least give some charge to our 2200 amp hours of battery storage.
I love the challenge of finding parts in Guatemala. There is no Home Depot per say that has it all under one roof. However, I do have one vendor in a little shop that I call my Guatemala Home Depot, that has just about everything I have needed for my plumbing and small electrical projects. But I needed a sheet of plywood which he did not carry. I normally do not go along on supply runs, I just let our team in Guatemala know what I need and they go pick it up and bring back to me so I can continue working. This day I decided to ride along. We walked into a new corner shop I had never been in. There sitting right in front of the counter were two small solar panels for sale. The price tag on the larger was Q995 which is $138 for a 100 watt solar panel. This is incredible I exclaimed! I asked him how many he had in stock? He said this was a new item he “just received”. Now let me just stop here for a moment and brag on God. Tell me, I just so happened to go on this particular supply run, we just so happened to stop at this particular location I had never been before, and they just so happened to have exactly what we needed. This is not a coincidence, but a GODcidence! I asked how much would it cost for ten, and when could he get them. I was given a great price of Q850 or $118 each and they would be here the next day by noon. Through our extraordinary circumstances God had just solved our supply problem, not just for today, but for future solar powered projects as well.
The ten new solar panels arrived on time and we got right to work installing them. As we were working above on the tower, concrete was being poured in the equipment room below and in the new shower area. We had less than 24 hours to pull this project together and make it operational before I had to leave and come back to the US. Because the concrete platform that held the water tank was still fresh, we could not completely fill or it would compromise the entire project. So for testing purposes we filled less than 1/4 of the tank to test all the faucets connected. Because we raised the tank platform by almost an entire meter the water pressure even at this tank level was strong. This being our third build, we have learned a lot from our mistakes with the other wells. We have taken what works and made improvements to make things even more streamlined and efficient. God has given us an incredible water source at this site. The well is only about 9 meters deep from the top. There is less than 2 meters of water below the pump, however, the water supply is incredible. The well digger said he could not go any deeper because he kept getting sucked down in the sand from the massive amount of water that was entering the well. He pumped the well half the day and the water level would not drop below a certain level. When the pump was turned off, the well returned to the top point in just a few minutes time. We are praising God for this incredible vein of water for the families in Los Limones!
With literally a few hours before I had to leave for the airport, final connections were being made. A dusk to dawn light sensor was installed and energy efficient LED lighting was installed on the tower and in the shower area. Providing a beacon of light all night long to the area and all those around.