Mis­sion team brings clean wa­ter to Costa Ri­can vil­lage

Record Observer - - News -

KENT IS­LAND — A team from Kent Is­land United Methodist Church re­turned from ru­ral Costa Rica midJuly af­ter spend­ing a week dig­ging trenches and glu­ing PVC pipe in or­der to turn on wa­ter at the homes of the res­i­dents of a tiny re­mote vil­lage near the Nicaraguan border.

“The hard­est part was just get­ting to the vil­lage each day,” said team mem­ber Michael Phillips. “The roads were in bad con­di­tion due to the rainy sea­son.”

Every day the team en­coun­tered washed out roads and bridges, stranded trucks block­ing the road and lots of mud, trav­el­ing two to three hours one way to reach the re­mote vil­lages need­ing clean wa­ter. Some­how the team per­se­vered and over­came ob­sta­cles to make it there each day.

Team mem­ber Tyler Kin­top, 15, of Gra­sonville ob­served, “We were de­ter­mined. There were so many things thrown in our way on a daily ba­sis and we still got it done!”

The mis­sion team con­sisted of 14 lo­cal high school stu­dents and 11 adults.

Ear­lier this year Kent Is­land United Methodist Church col­lected money to in­stall two deep-wa­ter wells in the re­mote vil­lages in north­ern Costa Rica. Work­ing through a non-profit called Agua Viva Serves they were able to have wells in­stalled in Fe­bru­ary to bring wa­ter to this vil­lage for the first time.

Though this ef­fort pro­vided clean wa­ter to the vil­lages for the first time, wa­ter still had to be car­ried by bucket from the well, Phillips said.

When the team from KIUMC went in July they dug trenches and in­stalled more than 1,500 feet of pipe to the 12 homes and makeshift church in the vil­lage.

The small homes were made of reused wood and rusty tin roofs and most held large multi-gen­er­a­tional fam­i­lies, Phillips said.

Many of the vil­lagers there work mainly work in the lo­cal pineapple fields and teak forests, he added.

“Be­sides in­stalling wa­ter spig­ots to homes, we also did pro­grams for the chil­dren of the vil­lage, played soc­cer and took Po­laroid pho­tos of fam­i­lies since they had never had pic­tures taken be­fore,” Phillips said.

He said the stu­dents were a lit­tle more ap­pre­cia­tive of their clean show­ers when they got home.

Team mem­ber Alexan­dra Wilder, 18, and re­cent grad­u­ate of Kent Is­land High School, said, “They (the vil­lagers) went from bathing in bar­rels full of dirty wa­ter to hav­ing ac­cess to clean wa­ter. That is some­thing that will change their lives en­tirely. To see their smiles on their faces is some­thing that I will never for­get.”

The chil­dren of this vil­lage have re­port­edly been fre­quently ill, Phillips said, not­ing the re­mote­ness and lack of trans­porta­tion pro­hibits proper med­i­cal at­ten­tion. The team hopes that the clean wa­ter will mean health­ier fam­i­lies.

“See­ing them use the wa­ter at their dis­posal gave me hap­pi­ness be­cause I know I con­trib­uted to their happy and healthy lives,” said Wilder.

Even though the team was only in the coun­try for one week, and spent much of their time mak­ing their way trav­el­ing the dif­fi­cult roads, their trip still ac­com­plished a lot.

“The first day we brought over a dozen shov­els to the vil­lage and started dig­ging. The vil­lagers were shy at first, but when we re­turned the sec­ond day the whole vil­lage was out dig­ging with vigor. It was truly touch­ing,” Phillips said.

The team was also touched by the re­la­tion­ships formed, and af­fected by the spirit of the com­mu­nity, he added.

When the trip was near­ing com­plet­ing, Wilder told Phillips, “The hard­est part was leav­ing the kids that I built a re­la­tion­ship with at the vil­lage.”

Tyler said he didn’t think at first the vil­lagers re­al­ized what a dif­fer­ence clean wa­ter was go­ing to make for them be­cause they were used to do­ing with­out for so long.

“I’m go­ing to re­mem­ber how much fun that they [the vil­lagers] could have. I ad­mire how much they ap­pre­ci­ated what lit­tle they had. We com­plain about stuff that they would dream to have,” Tyler said.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

Kent Is­land Mis­sion Team with vil­lagers in Costa Rica.

From left, Will Moulden, Breezy Skeens, Mi­randa Kin­no­man and Kevin Kin­top work to­gether to con­nect PVC pipe to run clean wa­ter to a Costa Ri­can vil­lage.

Team mem­bers in Costa Rica travel miles of muddy roads to reach their des­ti­na­tion. From back left, Michael Phillips, Pre­ston Wilder, Sut­ter Phillips, Alexan­dra Wilder, Kevin Kin­top, Jackon Cran­ford, Tyler Kin­top, Beau Wilder and Brad Bazzell.

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