When Accompaniment Becomes a Calling
Water is essential to life, and those of us who live in a developed country take clean water for granted. However, our brothers and sisters in many parts of rural Guatemala must collect water from a stream or river, water that is often filled with harmful bacteria and parasites. It must be boiled for twenty minutes or more to use it for drinking and cooking.
The three-year health project for the Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala (ILAG) is two-fold: the purchase of large 1,000-liter storage tanks to collect rain water and an indoor water filter to clean the water for immediate use. These water filtration systems are bought through Guatemalan-based EcoFiltro.
Most of the sixteen villages with ILAG churches have received the water tanks, and people there have expressed deep gratitude for the gift. The tank pictured here is located at a home in the most northern of the 16 villages with ILAG churches, on the border with Mexico, in a community called Maya Itzá. An interesting conversation that I overheard there dealt with the placement of gutters along the edge of the roof, to collect more of the rain water from the many ridges of the metal roof. These details will take time, and sometimes a bit more money, but eventually families will engineer the gutters to allow more water to flow freely into their tanks.
The second part of the project, the clay water filter, will be delivered to all 300 ILAG families this next calendar year if enough funds are raised. The filter fits snugly inside of a five-gallon plastic container that looks very much like a small garbage can. The insert is made of clay, sawdust, and colloidal silver. It filters the bacteria, removes bad tastes and odors, and is CLEAN water. No boiling pot sitting over the wood fire. Less dysentery. Improved health.
Each gift of the tank and the filter costs $250. Consider giving a gift of a water filter for Christmas this year. A gift of $50 covers the cost and delivery of one filter. Gifts can be mailed to: Saint Paul Area Synod, 105 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN 55103. Please note on your check "ILAG Water Project." A gift card will be mailed to you as your receipt.
Chair, Guatemala Task Force