Dwight’s colleague, Ricardo Mayol (IM Regional Consultant based in Guatemala) invited him to support a project, Water for All, which is strengthening communities to protect their water sources. Dwight’s part is to introduce rainwater harvesting, installing model systems in four countries, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico, so that people can gain more ownership of their own water systems.
In Guatemala, the activities of a foreign mining company contaminated the entire watershed. Springs throughout the area are now contaminated with arsenic and cadmium. Landowners surrounding the communities are cutting trees, depleting underground water systems.
The people in the communities organized a non-violent resistance for the past two years, blocking roads to the mine’s trucks. The community is organized into what they call “La Resistencia.”
They maintain several posts beside main roads and if any known or unknown trucks with mining supplies try to enter the area, they stop them. These volunteers keep a 24/7 vigil. Although mining is now suspended, the damage lingers.
We decided the best place to introduce rainwater harvesting will be in a local school in one mountain community, Volcancitos. It will be accessible, a place to learn and replicate the system in their own homes.
This project, Water for All, is supported by the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. Over three years
, we plan to install model rainwater harvesting systems, in this and other communities in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico, along with training in how to adapt the systems to local needs and resources.
In ancient Israel, the good life, Shalom, was often represented in the Bible as when every home could “eat from your own vine and your own fig tree and drink water from your own cistern.” (Isa. 36:16) Cisterns were for collecting rainwater.
But the Bible also refers to “broken cisterns.” (Jer. 2:13) That’s when we forget God, the “fountain of living water,” and neglect or damage our capacity to conserve and live by God’s bounty, being good stewards of all God provides, including the rainwater.
So, for us, rainwater harvesting as part of the mission of the good news of the Kingdom of God is first of all, worship, and then love of neighbor, and equipping the saints for service.