Tonalá, El Salvador

A few days ago, our team arrived in El Salvador to work with our friends at Agua Viva El Salvador to drill a water well for the people of Tonalá, a small village located in the verdant hills just a few miles from the Pacific Coast. El Salvador is just one of the many countries where Living Water International works to drill water wells for those who have little or no access to clean water. Over the past few days we have worked in the heat, in the mud, and in the rain — motivated by the smiles of those anxiously awaiting a reliable source of clean water. I am happy to report that a little after noon today, we finished the well. It was fun to see the people of the community gather for the dedication ceremony as we tightened the final bolt and then pumped the first few gallons of cool water.

As much as I enjoy the drilling process and getting really dirty, my favorite part of the experience is when we dedicate the well and present it to the community. Today was no exception. We had a formal dedication service in which we presented the well to the people and the people, in turn, expressed their gratitude. And today, the gratitude flowed as freely as the water. Both the village leader and the principal of the local school gave speeches while the village folk listened and applauded. The school principal made it a point to say that he was both inspired and encouraged when he saw us working in the rain yesterday. Seeing us work in spite of the weather gave him the assurance that we were determined to finish the well. Both leaders emphasized what this well will mean to their little community.

The only way for those of us who have access to unlimited water on demand to truly understand the depth of gratitude felt by the people of Tonalá would be for us to spend just one day without convenient access to water. Twenty-four hours without convenient access to water would be like an eternity for most of us. Although people who live in places like Tonalá are accustomed to the inconvenience of having to fetch water daily, the new water well in their community will make life much easier as well as lessen the likelihood of people getting sick because of water-related diseases. We have made many new friends in Tonalá. At least for the immediate future, they are likely to remember us when they go to their new water well to fetch their water. But that will fade with time, and that’s ok. We are just happy to know that we have helped to make a difference in the lives of a few hundred people because we gave them the gift of water and the Word.

Preparing a meal is just one of the challenges of having limited access to clean water.

Tightening the bolts on the pump head.

We signed our names on the inside of the pump head cover.

Marie, the only girl on our team, pumped the first gallon of water.

Girls praying at dedication ceremony.

The Tonalá school principal expressed gratitude on behalf of the community.

Kingsland team with the Agua Viva El Salvador staff.

The dedication plaque on Kingsland’s seventh water well in El Salvador.