The hot sun beating down onto my face. Sweat dripping down my back. The ground beneath my feet shakes and trembles. As I push down the lever, harder and harder, I feel the drill go deeper and deeper into the ground. It’s been an hour and we have only gone down one inch, we have hit bluestone. I stand there praying. Praying that we will be able to break through this hard rock. I see the need. This village is so thirsty. Never in my life had I ever felt so grateful.
This past August, I was sent on a mission. A mission to bring clean drinking water to a village in dire need. I went with a team of six others from my church in NJ, partnering with the organization, Living Water International. We were sent to drill a well in Central America for the village of Santa Juana.
Right before I left for my trip, someone had commented on one of my posts saying, “So excited! 60 kids are waiting for your team in Nicaragua.” Seeing that comment gave me the chills. I realized in that moment, that it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about these people. They have been waiting for this moment for years. I felt overwhelmed with emotions, knowing that I was one of these people they were waiting for.
Visiting the village for the first time, I was anxious, nervous, and excited. I didn’t know what to expect, who I would meet, how it would be. Walking through the village and seeing the people and how they lived, how little they had and how happy they were, was inspiring.
During the week our team not only drilled for clean water, but we also taught hygiene lessons to the mothers and children in the village. We needed to make sure that the town understood how to keep themselves clean and prevent the spread of germs, especially if we were able to provide them with a clean drinking source. It seems so simple, but so many didn’t even know how or when to properly wash their hands.
The village of Santa Juana was so thirsty and the only source of water that they had was contaminated. There were three hand-dug wells in the town, which were almost completely dry. This water was dirty and was mainly used to wash or for the animals. Not once during the week did I see anyone drinking anything. And there I was in the hot, humid 100-degree weather, drinking my cold, clean water that we bought earlier that day.
Our team worked until the very last day of our trip, giving it everything that we had. The ground where we were drilling was full of a very hard rock called bluestone. It was almost impossible to drill through and took up a lot of drill time, just waiting. We were told we needed to drill to 200 feet in order to reach clean water. At 160 feet on Thursday, we were wondering if we would make it.
We got news from Living Water that we could attempt to put the casing on the pipes and see if we had hit water. It wouldn’t be until the next day when we hook up the air compressor, that we would see if we had been successful. We spent the night praying. We asked God to work a miracle in the lives of His people.
The day had come, the moment of truth. Did we do it? Could there be clean water for this village? The whole town gathered at the drill site, in their ‘Sunday’s best’, for this life changing moment. I will never forget the look on their faces, waiting in anticipation and the sounds of the claps and shouts when it happened. Water poured out from the end of the pipe. So much, it actually exploded EVERYWHERE! It was a moment I will never forget.
Being back home in NJ now, I can only feel completely humbled and blessed. It wasn’t until this trip that I really was able to appreciate all that we have here in America. Something as simple as clean water; something so vital and necessary to life, being able to take a warm shower, having access to a bathroom, living in a house with electricity. I am so thankful for the people that I met on my trip, the relationships that were developed and the memories that we shared.
I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.