Planting the Seed: Day One in El Salvador

April 19, 2016

Four hours and 1,400 miles later, a group of Triumph team members landed in El Salvador Sunday with the mission of establishing the gift of clean water to those in need. Partnering with Living Water International, they will spend an entire week in the community of Santiago Nonualco — a village where their only source of water is contaminated from pesticides sprayed from airplanes — building a well to provide clean water, educating the villagers and children, and humbly serving the less fortunate.

So, why water? Everything begins with water. It’s the foundation for all other levels of development. That means – safe water can transform the health of one million adults and children, improve sanitation and hygiene for 2.4 billion people, increase school attendance by limiting sickness and remove the single heaviest burden from the lives of the poorest people in our world — finding clean water.

Triumph team gathers for a picture before departing from the airport. From left to right - Allison Ford from Living Water, Linley Pisano, Travis Cole, Elaine Bates, Ray Workman, Christine Berend, Carrie Martin, Beth Ham, Blaine Waugh, Deanna Carlson, Jacob Clark, Tracy Hammer, Jan Bellah

Waking up bright and early Monday morning, the team traveled to Santiago Nonualco, excited to meet the villagers and the children. However, they were caught off guard by the excitement from the welcome party the children had waiting for them!

School Children Welcome Team
Each child holds up a letter spelling “Welcome, God bless you”.
As if one welcome party wasn’t enough, there was a second one waiting!

As the team arrived, all the children swarmed in and gave everyone BIG hugs and handmade gifts containing candy and tissue paper flowers. It was a moment of pure bliss for every member of Triumph. After introducing themselves, a few school teachers provided a tour of the school while the others were making homemade tortillas, rice, avocado, and bean soup for the team.

Beautiful murals painted outside one of the classrooms in the school.
One of the teachers preparing homemade tortillas.

Once the tour was complete, the team played frisbee and football (soccer) with the morning school children, since they only attend school for half-a-day. Afterward, the teachers served lunch to the Triumph team members before they began working on the well.

Jacob playing football with the school children.
Getting muddy working the drill machine.
Mud seeping out of the ground.
The first drilling team to create the foundation for the well. From left to right - Blaine Waugh, Travis Cole, Enrique from Living Water, Jacob Clark, Ray Workman, Elaine Bates, Linley Pisano.
Location of well – behind the school.
The children loved getting their pictures taken by Carrie and her polaroid camera.

After an exhausting day, the drilling team finished their first day at 21 meters, almost half way to their goal. The team could not have asked for a better start and look forward to continue bonding with the villagers, students, and each other throughout the rest of the trip.