Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – For a week in June, current Pacific Lutheran University softball student-athlete Marissa Miller and recent graduates Jacob Gleichman of baseball and softball's Gracen Malich teamed up with Living Water to serve others by building wells to improve the water supply in Nicaragua.
Living Water is an organization dedicated to cultivating sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Over the past 25 years, they have completed over 18,000 water projects serving roughly five million people. The three were connected to the organization through Dr. Mark Mulder of the school of business.
"The trip was amazing," Gleichman said. "Eye-opening would be a great way to describe it."
"It was an amazing trip to say the least, the community is living with the bare minimum, but never stopped smiling and saying thank you," Miller said. "The highlight of my days there was playing football with the kids when they came home from school and pumping water out of the well on the last day. It was so rewarding."
The trio went to Leon, Nicaragua to help create a well for the people of La Ceiba who had no access to clean water. The three arrived, met the staff and got their living situations established. Once that was done, they got to see the town. After the first day, they started drilling. It took four days to complete the well.
They also taught hygiene classes to the people of La Ceiba. Those lessons consisted of how to wash hands and brush teeth. During drilling downtime, they played games with the children of the city.
"My favorite was playing with the kids and drilling the well," Gleichman said. "I loved the fact that I was able to have a direct impact on the well that was being installed along with making the children feel special. This is something I will never forget."
When Gleichman arrived home from his week in Nicaragua, he had a Big Mac for lunch. He crossed the I-90 floating bridge and was struck by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
"This trip has caused me to not take anything for granted," Gleichman said. "What we see in America as a standard is an absolute luxury for many others in Nicaragua and across the globe."