Save Water | Give Life Nicaragua Trip February 2015
Nothing builds camaraderie among strangers like laboring together for an important cause. Traveling to a third-world country to drill a clean water well is the way Weathermatic turns business partners into lifelong friends. These trips are a part of Weathermatic’s social business model called Save Water | Give Life, whereby we dedicate a portion of profits from our water saving technology to provide clean, safe water to those in need.
For many members of the Save Water | Give Life teams, it is their first time traveling outside of the United States. Most of them only know the hosts but not each other. “Going into a third-world country for the first time, everyone is a little nervous, a little tense,” Weathermatic National Sales Manager and trip host Parry Webb explains. “Once conversations start, everyone is sharing expectations and business experiences. They get to know each other and everyone is more relaxed.”
Although “comfort” is hardly the focus of the trip, the Living Water International compound is a welcoming place to relax after each hard day of work, and the host family cooks delicious meals for the team. Living Water International’s local team provides a home, security, and translation for the travelers, and they all work side-by-side with village residents to drill the well.
The most recent Save Water | Give Life trip traveled to Nicaragua in February, returning home on Valentine’s Day. Before SW|GL provided a well for this community, their nearest source of clean water was over a mile away, each direction. Residents often chose to draw from a contaminated water source that was close by, rather than make the long journey every day.
Despite meticulous planning, complications are a regular occurrence when drilling water wells. On this trip, the team had drilled down 25 feet when they hit water – not a good thing, in this case. The water was a shallow aquifer with lots of silt, so it was safe but not clean enough to drink. The aquifer made the drill hole keep collapsing and the drill head got stuck a number of times. The team had to work continuously through the night to keep the hole from caving in.
Halfway through the week, they finally drilled deep enough to get clean water. Although the shallow aquifer had made progress slower and work more difficult, it also created an unusual opportunity for bonding with the village children. The well had to be flushed until the water coming out of it was clean, so for the first time in their lives, the community had water to “waste”. In 87 degrees and 70% humidity, someone tossed a helmet full of water and launched a water fight that got the whole team and most of the local kids involved. Experiences like this will be etched into the memories of every team member.
At the end of the week, the village hosted a ceremony to dedicate the well. The residents commit to providing maintenance and protection for their new well so that it will serve their families for many generations. Webb notes that the ceremony was the hardest part of the trip. “All the kids gave high fives and the women gave hugs. It’s really tough to say goodbye because you’ve been getting to know the families for four days.” After the ceremony, the community pulled out all of their best dishes and served the team hot soup. Webb adds, “It’s very humbling to have the last supper served by the community. That’s a pretty emotional day. It’s hard to stand and be honored like that, but the team will remember it for a long time as the culmination of their week in Nicaragua.” Team member Julio Jimenez, from Jimenez Design Group, was moved by the gratitude the residents showed for their well. “I have seen what a small act of kindness can do for the spirit of people in need. This small village had spent many years praying for clean water, and…their appreciation could only be measured by the countless praises and the kind smiles heard and seen by so many people in the community.”
You can watch the recap videos from our previous trips here and keep an eye out soon for a special video from this trip, featuring footage from a GoPro camera at the drill site!