Cooking with Myra: Water, water everywhere but some don't have a drop to drink

Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:25 a.m.

By Myra Starkey

Last year, I attended a Christian rock concert at a local church. The band was raising money for this organization that drills water wells in impoverished countries.

A movie was shown midway through the concert. In it there was a picture of a poor farmer in a barren field. Behind him, women and children carried jugs of water to their village.

The narrator told a story of how many villagers live without clean water close to their home.

They showed a river where cattle were wading in the water presumably doing things that animals do in the river, if you know what I mean. On the bank of the river, small children and their mothers filled plastic jugs for their drinking water.

A week later, I went to a convention in Austin for nonprofit organizations. I sat in a meeting and listened to a couple talk about their success in drilling water wells in Africa and the fulfillment they found in bringing clean water to villages.

I was intrigued that these two presentations presented themselves in my life in a matter of two weeks.

I began to research water missions and decided to make a donation to Living Water International. The following Sunday, I sat in Coastal Oaks Church in Rockport and picked up a bulletin to read. The church was asking for volunteers to go to Guatemala to drill water wells with the very same Living Water International group.

I turned to Taylor and said, "This is a sign from God," and signed up.

The months passed, and as I prepared and looked forward to the trip, I thought Oct. 22 would never come.

As you are reading this, I hope I am ankle-deep in mud because our group has drilled a successful well and found clean water for some village in the mountainous jungles of Guatemala. I will be on a week-long trip in that Central American country with the group from Rockport and my friend from Victoria, Janet.

I had hoped to personally drill the well, even though I have no idea how to operate a drilling rig, but they told me that the harder work would be the job of the experienced and stronger men.

Our team will meet two native missionaries who are employed with Living Water International and transport and run the equipment. We will assist with the drilling over a four-day period, taking shifts until we hit water. Of course, there is no guarantee that we will be successful.

The females on the team will teach the village women and children how to use the new well, in addition to basic hygiene practices.

When I read the teaching guide for the volunteers, it all seemed so simple. That is because we take water for granted. We turn on our faucets and out pours clean water to drink, or to wash, or to brush our teeth, or to just waste. We take long showers or deep hot baths or just flush it away. We drink water out of our garden hoses as we irrigate our broad, green lawns or ornamental gardens.

In these countries, there are no faucets, and the water is reserved for drinking and cooking. Hand washing, brushing teeth, or bathing are foreign concepts, which we can introduce if the water well is a success.

Unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene cause almost 90 percent of all diseases in the world. It is estimated that these conditions lead to the deaths of almost 5,000 children under age of 5 every day.

Living Water International was founded by a group in Houston in 1990. They had traveled to Kenya and saw a desperate need for clean drinking water. They returned and started a nonprofit organization that would train and equip Kenyan drillers. They began drilling the following year.

Living Water International now has drilling operations is 25 countries, training local people to serve their own communities.

Please pray that we find water and transform the small community in Guatemala, and that we return home safely to those we love. I will also be eating traditional Guatemalan foods and look forward to sharing my adventure with you when I return next week.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail



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