From Mount Horeb to Honduras: Local volunteers build clean water well for underprivileged community
EL TRIANGULO, Honduras — From Mount Horeb to Honduras, volunteers from local churches made a 2,000 mile trip this June to do something good for people they’ve never met.
“We know that when people see Americans coming, something great is going to happen,” said Nugget Cubas, head driller for Living Water International Honduras.
In less than one week, the group, together with Living Water International, built a well, the lifeline a community needs to live.
People in the town of El Triangulo have water.
“The problem is, it’s not clean water,” said Felicia Forbes, hygiene coordinator for Living Water. “That’s the biggest problem.”
For generations, people in El Triangulo have been drinking water from a reservoir in the mountains. It’s runoff water, sometimes contaminated, and oftentimes leaving people in the village sick.
“Germs are all over. So if they learn to keep their hands clean, it helps them not get sick that much,” said Forbes.
With a new well, the 30 families living in El Triangulo will have access to clean water to drink and clean themselves right in town.
“It hit me how far we’d have to go to get water,” said Beth Wittenwyler, who’s been involved with the mission trips for eight years.
“And then you start thinking, ‘How often do we use water?’ The conveniences we have.”
Many of the Madison-area volunteers on the trip, like Wittenwyler, are on a repeat mission.
“When you see what it’s all about in terms of how they get the water and where they get it, and drinking out of a lake or river, you definitely want to get fresh water,” said Scott Wittenwyler, Beth’s husband.
He didn’t go on this year’s trip, but he’s gone in past years.
“For me, it’s rewarding because you really find out how good you have it,” said S. Wittenwyler. “You see what they got, and that part is just hard to explain.”
The trips remind volunteers how good they have it in America.
“If it was only our staff in Honduras, maybe we wouldn’t see that many people,” said Cubas. “But when they see Americans, they know something good is coming to the community.”
After four days of drilling, digging, and dedicating dozens of hours to making a difference, volunteers finished their labor-intensive project.
“When you see the emotion of the people when they see the water flowing, it’ll change your life, it’ll just change your life,” said Cubas, through tears.
Donning his Badger hat, John Schmitt, volunteer coordinator with Living Water International, lead the dedication ceremony to officially present the new well to the village.
“We may not communicate very well in our English and Spanish, but we’re working on it,” said Schmidt to a circle of volunteers, locals, and children. “But the love that you’ve shown us doesn’t require words. It’s on your face, you share your children with us, and we work alongside you. That’s the way God’s kingdom should be.”
The Americans from Mount Horeb and their new Honduran friends know they may never see each other again.
“But we know we’ll walk together with our Lord,” said Schmidt. “And I’ll know all of your names then.”
News 3 photojournalist Mark Schilling was one of the volunteers who made that Living Water International mission trip. Volunteers from his church and others in the Madison-area are already planning future missions. Next, they’ll head to El Salvador in fall 2019.
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