Chad Meis (seated, right) and his Guatamalan host family
In Summer 2010, I took my engineering skills to Guatemala, working with Students International in Magdalena Milpas Altas, a farming town located 6,800 feet up a steep mountainside.
Assigned to the “Appropriate Technology” site, I worked on water-filtering systems – and helped lay a cement floor in a new community center, install dry-wall, and design and implement the electrical-wiring layout.
I also assisted SI’s outreach to El Gorrión (pop. 300), where refugees from Hurricane Mitch were relocated after their village was destroyed.
I would walk around El Gorrión checking up on the families that have water filters. The filters are basically plastic containers filled with different layers of gravel/sand and have a pipe coming out the bottom. I actually built one of these exact filters at SPU in my Hydro-Systems class, so it was really cool to be able to use what I learned in that class.
It was awesome to see what effective missionary work looks like firsthand, and how we are able to give both a life-saving filter and spiritual encouragement to each family. (In El Gorrión there is currently no running water, and the only source of water is either from rain-gutters or from the water-truck that comes once a week. And even these water sources are not safe to drink, although most people have no other option.)
—Chad Meis '10