We want to share with you a reflection from Walter Nonemaker, Director of Field Operations and Lead Engineer, on his last 9 years working with Healing Waters. Walter started his work as the Maintenance and Technology Manager at our field office in Guatemala and then become our Country Operations Manager. He reflects on his experiences working directly with communities and why he is still motivated today to carry out the mission of Healing Waters.
“I remember Monday mornings at 3:30 AM, carrying pumps, filters and tanks through the nocturnal dewy drizzle from the warehouse to the truck, aligning everything like a pyramid, in order to beat the morning traffic of Guatemala City. Our destination- a rural community where we would be spending our whole week.
On the drive, I would imagine the sensation of arriving at the church after spending months planning the project in mind through phone calls and meetings. The community has committed their time and resources and had also built a kiosk for the water store – though they had never seen purification equipment before. Everyone’s eyes popped with excitement as we drove up one early afternoon and started untying and unloading all of the equipment and tools. The community members helped carry everything to the place where it would soon be installed. I still recall working with wrenches, PVC, cement, paint thinner, late into the night. Young men from the church and neighborhood were there to lend a hand, asking questions. So many things going on at once that you couldn´t bring yourself to call it a night. The older women of the community would bring pitcher after pitcher of coffee for us.
I reflect on how much I admire those who we had the privilege of training as operators of the water store. Many could barely read, but somehow they understood wiring diagrams, pumps, good customer service practices, and even threw in a good sense of humor, calling our pipe cutters “the mysterious tool”.
I can recall the tangible static of anticipation and gratitude in the air as an entire community, church, and HWI staff gathered for the inauguration. People were bustling around to gather jugs and bottles, hanging up ribbons, bringing out tamales… and you know that this is no mere social event. It meant a change and new chapter in the life of the community. They now have safe drinking water and life-altering health knowledge. Life after this point would never be the same.
Looking back at these moments, we were encouraged to know that were just at the beginning of making great impacts on many communities in the future. We do what we do with passion, with enjoyment, and with grateful awe at all the experiences and encounters we have along the way. When something is done with true purpose, it always brings excitement and adventure to the heart, and true adventure is always purposeful and uncertain.”
Healing Waters’ mission is and always will be to change and save lives. It feeds and impulses our motivation to keep moving forward. You are not only a part of that mission, but what helps fuel our mission. Without you, this work would not be possible.
Thank you investing in our mission!