Trip of a Lifetime: Memories from El Salvador

February 22, 2013

Life Changing. Powerful. Convicting. Impactful. These words were used by Triumph team members to describe the “trip of a lifetime” to El Salvador.

On February 3rd, our 12-person team left for El Salvador with Living Water International to build a water well and to teach hygiene classes to the village of El Castaño.

Every team member left thankful for the opportunity to work for a company that desires to help others, to partner with an organization like Living Water International that empowers communities by building water wells, and most of all, to have the opportunity to connect with the people of El Castaño.

Team Member Thoughts

Aaron Graft
“This trip was a great opportunity to serve others, build unity among Triumph team members and educate ourselves on the water crisis that plagues the developing world. I can’t think of a better use of resources in furtherance of Triumph’s overall goal of “delivering value” to those around us.

This generally applies to our investors, customers and team members. In this instance, however, it was a different type of value we were able to deliver, and it was very rewarding to be part of it.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Sandy Austin
“This trip was a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. The bond that was formed with the other team members, kids and the community was more than I could ever imagine. One thing I took away from the trip was how simple life can be. The things we stress and worry about are minuet compared to what the people in El Salvador deal with on a daily basis.

I am so grateful for Triumph giving us the opportunity to give clean water to this community. It may be a small impact in some people’s eyes, but when you see the difference it makes in person, it takes on a whole new meaning.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Chris Benson
“After spending almost a week with the community and the children at the school, it was hard to leave. The impact we had on the community (in bringing clean water to the village) and the impact they had on us was powerful. I will always remember pulling into the school for the first time and being greeted by the school children holding signs they had made welcoming us and thanking us for bringing clean water to their school.

I will also never forget the hugs we all received as we left and how emotional it was to realize the relationships we had made and the impact that we had in such a short period of time.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Travis Cole
“It was both convicting and encouraging to see the joy on the faces of the people in the El Castaño community, even prior to giving them the gift of clean water. As we observed their dirt-floor houses, crude water sources and arduous agrarian life styles, our USA-centric view tells us they are trapped in poverty and to be pitied.

The reality is our friends aren’t exposed to the levels of consumerism and materialism that we see in the US. They are perfectly happy and content with having their basic needs provided for and having little beyond that.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Tom Shaw
“My favorite moment: On the day of the well dedication, an older woman from the village approached me with an interpreter at her side. She was very deliberate and appeared to be somewhat anxious. She said, ‘I want to thank you and your people for the well that you built for us. This well will allow me to get drinking water and I will no longer have to ask my neighbors for water.

This is good for my family and for all of us. Thank you for what you have done for us.’ Gratifying.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Jason Mullican
“One of my favorite sayings is, ‘It’s all gift.’ For me, this captures the essence of the trip. From bonding with colleagues, to singing with The Piwy and Kike Band, to hearing Carlos’s testimony, to Delores’s world-class cooking, to laughing and playing with school children, what a blessing! But the greatest gift of all had to be fellowshipping with the people of Castaño.

I was deeply moved by the spirit of their hearts. Their presence alone was a blessing and gift to all of us. And, hopefully, in some small way, we were a blessing to them too.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Ashley Bynum
“The trip to El Salvador is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am proud to be part of a company that provides this kind of opportunity to its employees, and more so, a company that finds it important to help others.

The experience of connecting and sharing love with people and offering them something greatly needed, provided me with feelings of strength, gratitude and blessing that I will never forget.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Maria Grimland
“We are all aware that some people do not have access to clean drinking water, but did you know that it’s estimated to be 780 million people around the world and that an estimated 2.5 billion people or roughly 40% of the world’s population are without access to safe sanitation facilities?

The days we spent building a well in the small community of El Castaño has changed me forever!”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Amanda McCutcheon
“Before the trip, I was concerned about being able to connect with the community since I didn’t speak their language. On our last day in El Castaño, I was resting my feet when a little girl came and sat next to me. My limited Spanish allowed me to learn her name was Susanna. Unable to communicate more, she smiled at me, held my hand and sat there silently. She didn’t want to talk or play. She just wanted to be next to me.

I believe we showed the community our love and God’s love by dedicating our time and attention to them. And in that moment with Susanna, I realized the language of love is universal.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Kelly Scott
“The lesson I learned was that of contentment in any situation – I could not put my worldly spin on their way of thinking – and I am so glad their lives touched mine. I know that I was receiving so much more than I could ever give – but there was one small thing we could contribute to make their lives easier – fresh water!

As we signed our names inside the top of the well, I felt part of something bigger and knew that Triumph and Living Water would always be held in conjunction with a basic human need that was met for the people in the village of El Canstaño.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team

Debbie Smith
“It was very apparent the desperate need for clean water when we looked at the conditions of the village. A tremendous sadness came over me until I realized that I was surrounded by an abundance of joy. The community and school were filled with joy and excitement. Our team along with the LWI team began our experience together to dig a well and demonstrate proper hygiene practices.

I formed friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime and experienced faith rejuvenation. I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to serve others in El Salvador alongside each member of the Triumph team.”

El Salvador Triumph Living Water Completed Well Team