Friday, July 24, 2015

Nicaragua 2015 - Day 6 - Unexpected Challenges

Every morning our team has been meeting together to read through Philippians. Fittingly, today's passage (Phil. 2:12-18) was a good preparation for the day ahead. Verse 14 was a great reminder of our required attitudes in serving and being lights in the world. 

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing,”

We expected the day to be a muddy one with heavy storms early in the morning, but the rain mostly kept away after breakfast. It was then a 2-hour drive back to the site where we installed the Chlorinator yesterday. We thought it would be quick drop-in to check that the system was running and some hygiene lessons for the community taught by Omar. 

Of course it didn't turn out that way--a few of the obstacles that popped up:

- We checked the Chlorinator and it was still not producing chlorine to help clean the water. 
- Even if it was working, we realized that we forgot to bring the test kits to check the chlorine levels. 
- After looking at the tanks, we determined that the water that was being collected from the river was still too silty to drink. Even with the purification, the community probably wouldn't drink it. 

After some consultation with the community leaders, it was decided that we'd move the Chlorinator close to an old hand-dug well that was mainly being used for the cattle. The water there was pretty clear and with purification, it could be used by everyone. Having to disassemble the system, move the tanks and lava blocks, and reassemble it back together again could have been potentially discouraging, but everyone took it in stride, even with more obstacles ahead. 

We were able to get everything put back together and finally got the system working to create chlorine. However we also realized that having the community getting buckets from the well below by hand would just not be feasible in the long-term. Having to fill up 2 450 liter tanks regularly would be unfair to expect from the community. Ironically the solution was to reinstall an old rope pump that we had been replacing in other well repairs. Unfortunately, we didn't have all the materials needed to set it up--planks and power tools--so we'll have to return for a 3rd day to finish the job. 

Most of our other jobs have gone relatively smoothly, so this has been our biggest challenge so far for the trip. Sometimes it's easy to focus on doing as much as possible during our short time here, but this has been a good lesson on how our timing is not usually the same as God's timing. Through this extra work, we've had to learn patience, how to adapt to change and to pay attention to even the smallest details. It's even given us an opportunity to use our ingenuity and try something completely new. Ultimately, God wants us to do our work well so that the community can get clean water for a long time instead of rushing to finish an incomplete job. 

Anyway, we're looking forward to seeing it through tomorrow. We'll keep you posted!


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