Guatemala Well Drilling: Our 2021 Trip

Last year, we shared about Tacoma Pump & Drilling’s ongoing mission to support rural communities in Guatemala. For the past several years, our owner, Jon, and other members of the crew have donated their time, skills, and equipment to drill wells and provide clean water to areas of Guatemala where the need is prevalent. Our team partners with Water for Life, a non-profit organization that serves that region of the world. 

This year, the crew invested in a month-long tour to help provide as much clean water to the area as possible. Despite the sweltering heat and humidity, this year’s trip was marked by some incredible accomplishments among the communities. We’re excited to tell you all about it!

Men drilling a well

Dreams Coming True in 2021

For years, we’ve worked alongside local craftsmen and skilled laborers to teach the art of drilling wells. Not only have we passed on our knowledge, but also some of the equipment necessary to drill in Guatemala. 

A long-standing dream of ours has been to train enough locals to build a standalone crew. This crew would then be able to continue the work of bringing fresh water to rural villages, even when we’re back in the States. 

This year, that dream finally became a reality. Not only do we have one, but two Guatemalan crews who are drilling on their own. One crew is using a rotary driller (led by our good friend Edgar Lopez) and the other is trained on the cable tool driller (led by our friend David Lazarro).

We have definitely come a long way since our first trip to Guatemala to provide clean water for an orphanage and school. While we were once the fieldworkers, going from village to village to dig the wells, we have—over time—become the mentors to these incredible local craftsmen.

Edgar and David will work as employees of Water for Life for as long as the program can support them on staff. Donations for the work they do in Guatemala are always appreciated at Water for Life.

Three men in a car

From Workers to Mentors

Our team is so accustomed to getting out into the field and drilling wells that the transition has been interesting. As one of our team members writes, “It has been a challenge for our American contingent to switch gears from being the drillers to becoming teachers.” 

The language barrier can make the process more difficult than it might otherwise be. However, she continues, “We are all grateful that the Guatemalan crews are patient and gracious with our clumsy attempts to communicate in their language and very grateful that basic hand signs seem to suffice at times. At others, when their eyes go wide and it’s obvious they are trying not to burst into laughter (and sometimes, rightly, they do!) at our antics, it’s pretty hilarious!”

The team has come to see, however, how much the training of their local friends can impact these communities for years to come. Our knowledge and skills become exponentially more significant as we pass them on to those around us.

A large group of people sitting around an outside table sharing a meal

The Challenges of Well Drilling in Guatemala

This season, in particular, the crews have experienced a greater number of voids, not a surprising struggle since the land is dotted with many caves.

Edgar and our owner, Jon, collaborated on two back-to-back wells this season that took a whole lot of mud, water, cement, time, and determination. Eventually, they did complete two water-bearing wells for the villagers. The entire reason we are in Guatemala!

Another challenge we often face is the need to repair or rebuild the well pumps. This is especially common in areas where the pumps are widely used among a large population of villagers. 

In order to navigate this, we are working with the team at Life Pumps to install their new design of hand pump. This could allow the wells to function for longer periods without needing repairs—ensuring people always have access to clean water.

Bringing Change One Well at a Time

If there is one thing our crew—both in Guatemala and here at home—learn from this experience, it is how much change we can bring even just as individuals. 

Where the Guatemalan infrastructure is unable to provide clean water, how many lives are changed every time we drill a new well, pass on our knowledge, and share our resources with others? There are many hundreds of villagers who still would be traveling miles for clean water if it weren’t for the Water for Life team, those who willingly partner with them, and the Guatemalan crews who are eager to learn drilling skills.

We, as individuals, have the power to make a huge difference in the world around us. Whether through clean water, a helping hand, a kind word, or simple donation—change is possible. 

Thank you to all of you who have supported our international drilling projects over the years, as well as those who continually choose us as your local drilling provider in the PNW. We love every opportunity we have to bring change both here at home and abroad. We are so proud to partner with so many to bring clean water, quality wells, and much-needed drilling support to communities everywhere.

Leave Well Drilling to the Professionals

Too many things can go wrong if you decide to drill your own well. It is important to protect groundwater sources. The best way to do that is by hiring a professional.

Tacoma Pump & Drilling is ready to help with all your water well needs.

Contact us today to get started!