A dig to remember: Turning on the tap in Guatemala

Denver Water foreman teams up with church group to drill a clean water well in four days.

January 28, 2015 | By: Jay Adams
Marty Buckstein, water distribution foreman, traveled with a church group to drill a well in the village of Monrovia, Guatemala.
Marty Buckstein, water distribution foreman, traveled with a church group to drill a well in the village of Monrovia, Guatemala.

The group rolled into the small Guatemalan village to a hero’s welcome. Men, women and children cheered as the humanitarian team from the U.S. brought in their knowledge, compassion and a water-drilling rig. The mission: drill a 290-foot well in a week.

Marty Buckstein, a Denver Water foreman who spends his days working on water pipes, took time off from the streets of Denver last fall and traveled to Guatemala with the group from Littleton Bible Chapel.

“The people in the village are very receptive,” Buckstein said. “It’s like a parade when we come in.”

Monrovia is a small village in Guatemala where women and children walk a quarter-mile one way to reach a creek. They fill up large jugs with water and carry them on their heads back to the village. The water is dirty and would be considered undrinkable in the U.S. But in this village, there is no other option.

Drilling a 290-foot deep well required long hours and hard work.
Drilling a 290-foot-deep well required long hours and hard work.

On this trip, a travel issue cut down on the group’s time to drill the well. Instead of five days, they had four. The group got right to work and the villagers jumped in to help. “We give them jobs to do and work hand-in-hand with them, so they are earning it, too,” he said.

Buckstein said the work was demanding, but incredibly rewarding. “You’ll never meet a happier group of people, which really makes it rewarding to help them.”

After four long days, and surrounded by darkness, all eyes were on the well. Buckstein’s group and the villagers watched anxiously as water flowed out of the tap. “It was an emotional moment. There were a lot of tears and hugs,” he said.

The trip was Buckstein’s fifth in eight years and one he hopes to take every year. “I just love the trips,” he said. “Not only is it something that helps people, it’s a self-fulfillment and spiritual thing for me.”

Buckstein said he highly recommends humanitarian trips for everyone. “It’s just such an eye-opener. No amount of money can give you that feeling of helping others. It’s just a good feeling.”

Prayers were answered with a successful new well on the fourth night in the village.
Prayers were answered with a successful new well on the fourth night in the village.

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