GMC team helps provide clean water in Guatemala
December 7, 2022 · Community
“For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.” - Marcus Samuelsson
In September 2022, eight GMC employees traveled to Guatemala to take our “building communities” mission international. GMC team members included Tyler Morgan, Stephanie Finley, Logan Dickinson, Jason Harper, Jessica McKee, Hannah Ribelin, Ryan Philmon and Abby Basinger. The team partnered with Asociación Pozos Agua Viva (ASOCAVIVA), an organization led by Jaime Torres that provides safe drinking water to remote areas in Guatemala. ASOCAVIVA drills water wells and works to improve the lifestyle and health of the communities they work in through their health and hygiene program.
This year, the team worked in a remote village in the eastern region of Guatemala. Rainy season lasts from May until October in Guatemala, so the team was faced with several challenges not only drilling the well itself, but also getting to the village. Because of the immense amounts of rain, the concrete bridge connecting to the village had been washed away, and the river had flooded the area. With the rain not letting up any time soon, the only option was to cross through the river itself.
Luckily for the GMC team, the members of the village were ready to help. Men, women and children from the community would greet the team each morning on the other side of the wooden foot bridge they’d built by hand and help carry supplies across to keep them dry, while others guided the team through the sometimes chest-deep water.
Despite the setbacks, the team was able to finish the well, providing the village with access to clean water for many years to come. Not only did they complete the drilling project, but they also built meaningful connections with the people in Guatemala and had experiences that will stay with them all for a lifetime.
Below are some thoughts from the team about their experiences:
“Traveling to Guatemala and working with Asocaviva is one of the most humbling and meaningful things I have done in my life. You hear about the struggles of developing countries but it is hard to comprehend until you see it in person. This experience has not only given me even more appreciation for the work that GMC does and the role it plays in helping communities grow, but also in understanding what is truly important in life and how easy it is to lose sight of that.” – Tyler Morgan
“The fellowship and love we experienced on this trip made it one that I will never forget. The Asocaviva team continues to change lives, and I am so thankful to have been part of such an impactful mission.” – Hannah Ribelin
“This was one of my favorite weeks ever. Spending time with teammates. Working with and learning from Jaime. Bringing clean water to an entire community. Such a blessing to be a part of and so much of what I think the GMC team is about.” – Logan Dickinson
“I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to help such a hardworking and gracious community, however what I did not expect and what was the most rewarding part of the whole experience, is how we all connected with the children and adults in the village in such a short amount of time. They helped us across the river and shared what little they had – it was a truly humbling and rewarding experience that I will never forget.” – Ryan Philmon
“We are incredibly blessed to have leadership that cares, is prayerful for us as employees and exemplifies service with their hands and hearts. I’m thankful to have traveled with a great group of leaders, comedians and people focused, on others. The Guatemala mission is all about serving others, but ironically, I walked away feeling blessed with a renewed sense of hope, love for one another and a zest to continually serve.” – Jason Harper
“I’m not quite sure that “life changing” is the right thing to say because chances are, life will be the same when you return to the office and work is still there when you get back. However, you may not be the same and the relationships with your coworkers won’t be the same, all in a good way. So it’s not ‘life changing,’ but it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything and would love to have again.” – Jessica McKee
“Being able to go on these service trips to Guatemala has been such a blessing to me. To be able to provide safe, clean drinking water to people who do not have access to it is, to me, what GMC is all about – we are truly ‘building communities,’ and I am so thankful that I get to be a part of a company that lives by example.
One of my biggest takeaways from this year’s trip was seeing our young engineers, fresh out of college, using their hands to provide the very thing they decided to make their careers. The villagers – girls, boys, men and women – got to see young women out there doing the hard, dirty work of drilling, and that made my heart so very happy. To show them that engineering work is for both men and women, that there is nothing holding my female team members back. In my eyes, that is something that will not only stay with those kids and adults alike, but will shape them. That is invaluable.” – Stephanie Finley
“We faced some obstacles on this trip, but because of them, we got to experience the joy of breaking through barriers. We worked hard, but we laughed even harder, and the relationships we built through this experience are something I will always treasure. I’m extremely grateful to work for a company that not only supports, but encourages us to get outside our comfort zone and to serve others. I’d go back tomorrow if I could!” – Abby Basinger
GMC is so grateful for our partnership with Jaime and his team and the work they’re doing throughout Guatemala. We look forward to many more trips in the future!
View more from their service trip here.