The grand finale of each trip is our Celebration. A lot goes into this event.
First, before we leave the United States, we have to find a kind hard-working volunteer to prepare the banner. Every single Agua Viva installation has had a banner. For Ecuador 2013, Kortney and Tasha Pettis prepared our banner. It takes some talent and an artistic flare. I do not have this !! This is what our two banners looked like in Ecuador 2013.Every banner we have ever prepared is hanging in our host church or our water room. It is our “signature piece”.
Agua Viva requests that the entire community be invited to our celebrations. We invite the mayor, the local pastors, and rich and poor. We pay for food for the whole community, which costs about $100.00.
During our ceremony, we dedicate the Water System to God’s Kingdom. This is very important. Each of our Educators and each of our Operators receives a gold embossed certificate; and they deserve it!!!
At each site during our celebration, our new friends have been kind enough to provide music. Sometimes it’s a choir and sometimes it’s a “band”. In Guatemala 2013, we had the Colegio Mark marching band. In jipongato last week we a local group of instrumentalists and two choirs !!!
In Gompuene, our volunteers were presented with the traditional tribal ponchos as a symbol of acceptance into the Quichua community as friends, instead of the gringos.
You know what? I love our celebrations. After working all week and making friends, this is the perfect time to embrace and acknowledge that “yes, our water system is nice… but our friendships are more valuable than anything we could ever bring in a suitcase”. We just love these people, and our celebration is the God-given perfect time to tell them so.