Lots of work still remains to be done. The remaining piping (an additional couple of miles) is being installed. Work on a large spring box and filtration system is now underway, with men from the village carrying hundreds of 100-pound bags of cement on their backs up the mountain. Most importantly, ADICAY is conducting several weeks’ worth of training with the community on how to run a utility and how to maintain it. Some of this training is the nuts-and-bolts of how to repair pipes and spigots, and some of it is simply how to collect user fees and track finances. All of the challenges, all of the hurdles, and all of the headaches present for running a utility for a city in the United States are present here too. As are the rewards and benefits and community development.
As is often the case, the “story” here isn’t what engineers are doing, or what ADICAY is doing, or even what the villagers in Setzimaaj are doing. The story here is what God is doing. On the day before the construction team left in March, I was having a conversation with the project superintendent for ADICAY. We were standing up on top of the tank overlooking the village, and I asked him, because I was curious of the perspective of a Christian Mayan, “Do you believe in miracles?” It’s a question that has been on my mind a lot recently, but I wanted to know his response.
There is a distinct difference in worldviews between the indigenous culture found in the rural Guatemalan mountains and the suburban culture found in many parts of the United States, and this difference is one of the more challenging aspects of the work we do, and it’s also one of the more beautiful aspects of the work we do. And while I thought I knew the answer to my “Do you believe in miracles” question, the way the affirmative reply was given caught me off guard. Instead of saying “yes”, he thought for a moment and then waved his hand back and forth in front of him, pointing at the village below and said “you mean miracles like this???”. And I looked down, from that water tank above the village, and saw the following things:
There were 50 villagers digging a trench on the east side of the villages, preparing to install new water piping;
There was a team of Lipscomb Engineering students carrying a bundle of about 20 pieces of pipe to be installed;
There were 40 villagers waiting in line to be seen by a dental team in the community;
There were 50 villagers waiting in line to be seen by a medical team in the community;
There were school children in their new uniforms who had just finished the school day playing soccer in the field in front of the school -all within a hundred feet of a new waterline that was going to serve the school kitchen and latrine;
There were villagers watching drinking water come out of the new water service line that had just been installed at their house.
So I simply replied to him – yes, miracles like this. I believe in miracles like this.