Three and a half years ago, a grassroots migrant outreach committee was formed at the parishes of St. Ambrose in Bristol and St. Peter in Vergennes as an outcome of the Diocesan Synod. A group of migrant workers brought forth a serious need in their hometown of San Jose Monteverde, Mexico: no clean water resulting in high infant mortality and chronic gastrointestinal illness.

Then-pastor Father Yvon Royer partnered with Scott Gaines, a Vergennes Rotarian, and Healing Waters International to address this need. Healing Waters International works with the world’s most vulnerable populations to establish, own, and operate community-wide safe water systems.

Walter Nunemaker, chief engineer for the project, presented the completed solar-powered water system on May 22 at St. Peter’s. He described the arduous tasks required to accomplish something that had never been done before, citing the commitment and massive effort of the local men and women to manually haul all the equipment up steep mountain terrain at 11,000 feet above sea level. They encountered many obstacles, including a landslide just days before installation of the solar panels and theft of pumps and equipment, resulting in many months of delay and rising costs.

With faith and perseverance, San Jose Monteverde has achieved its goal, resulting in a marked improvement in the health of the community as well as providing a sense of achievement, self-worth, and hope that anything is possible in faith.

—Patty Lewis