Written By: Paola Montalvo
In July 2017, the Amigos for Christ Community Leadership Team had the exciting opportunity to meet with the community of El Pedregal to have the first discussion about the possibility of a clean water project. For weeks before the meeting, the Leadership Team had been in contact with Community Advocate, Teodoro, to plan for the water system, offer support and expertise, and learn more about the people of El Pedregal. Amigos for Christ engineers had begun working in the community, completing topographical studies and designing the potable water system. When the day of the meeting arrived, it was time to include the most important elements of the project: the willpower and determination of the the community.
“This is not our project,” Baca said during the meeting, as he paced back and forth, his loafers kicking up dust. “This is your project, and this is your community. We at Amigos are here to walk alongside you as you work toward a better future for your families.” Over the course of the meeting, the Leadership Team engaged over 120 community members as they discussed Amigos for Christ’s mission, the engineers’ findings, and the community’s responsibilities as owners of the project.
As the meeting drew to a close, Luis stepped forward and said, “We know it isn’t easy to have faith. We know it seems impossible to save the money, do the work, and have clean, accessible water. But I promise you this: we too are operating on faith. None of us has what it takes to finish this clean water system on our own. It’s only through hard work and the grace of God that we will be able to do this, juntos. So are you in?”
There was a short, processing silence, until one elderly woman raised her chin with a twinkle of hope in her eyes. “Let’s get to work,” she announced, and her neighbors immediately smiled in agreement.