Reflections from a Honduras Volunteer: We must constantly “calibrate” ourselves.

Written by PWW Volunteer, Vijay Desai, Principal Consultant at Desai Management Consulting

Vijay Desai in Trojes, Honduras (pictured right)

It’s often difficult to imagine that there are places in the world where clean water is not readily and reliably available. From my upbringing in India, I was familiar with the impacts of water shortage and the effects of living in unsanitary conditions. Upon emigrating to the US, I wanted to learn more about how organizations in the West set out to solve such problems. To get started, I visited the Latin American country of Honduras as a volunteer with Pure Water for the World (PWW).

PWW is a Vermont-based charity whose vision is a world in which all people have safe water, proper sanitation and the knowledge to sustain it for future generations. They have long-standing aid operations in Honduras and Haiti, and deploy low-cost, no-maintenance, small-scale water filtration units for each household.

Our mission while in Honduras was threefold:

a) to install household water filtration equipment;
b) to improve sanitation facilities within the community;
c) to teach people the techniques and value of improved hygiene.

The week-long trip was successful, despite working in one of the most remote, mountainous and impoverished regions of the country. Household water filters were deployed, new sanitation facilities were built, and many people went through sanitation and hygiene education.

The time I spent in and around the local community was the greatest reward of participating, as I met only smiling and welcoming people – despite language barriers and living in the most primitive of conditions. The contrast with people “back home” in the US was striking. At home, in a world filled with positives (wealth and capability), the typical focus is on that small proportion of negatives – what can’t be easily corrected, or the imperfections in an otherwise perfect situation. By contrast, the Hondurans, who have little to nothing, and whose problems are 10x more and 100x greater, live a relatively happy life.

We must all constantly “calibrate” ourselves and our positives and negatives in life, first to realize exactly how fortunate most of us are, and second, to appreciate the needs that others less fortunate have, and how we can help them. Once “calibrated”, giving becomes a moral imperative, because now we know “too much”, and our internal senses of responsibility awaken to encourage us to help better our fellow man.

Ignoring the plight of others less fortunate, when we have so much, is senseless.

Pure Water for the World extends our deepest gratitude to Vijay for his volunteerism and continued support.

To learn more about PWW’s volunteer trips, visit: