Tiffany Saltis (pictured), Castleton University (Vermont) student and Pure Water for the World intern, traveled with PWW to Honduras in June to help bring families clean drinking water. Following is a story she shared of her experience, originally published on the Castleton Spartan website. (shared with permission)
Written By Tiffany Saltis
September 11, 2018
Pure Water for the World is a local non-profit that specializes in safe water solutions and having a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude. And because of the group, it was this summer that I found myself bouncing around on a bus in Honduras for a week eating street vendor bananas and discussing bio-sand filters.
The story doesn’t begin there, however. For that we will need to go back to the days of spring semester.
Like many students, I was in my catatonic email-scrolling state when my eyes fell upon the subject line “Castleton Internship Opportunities.” Like an animal following an instinctual hunch, I was drawn to the email as if I knew the content inside was vital, even if I couldn’t understand why.
The list was equally impressive and intimidating. I knew I was a good student, but I was skeptical about my intern capabilities. Before I could debate myself for long, I found what I had been hoping for. There, in pretty little letters illuminated by my laptop, was a call for a communications intern for Pure Water for the World.
I scrambled for my phone to call about the position that I believed was meant for me. The manifestation worked because a couple of weeks later I found myself working alongside other members the organization.
Every week, I worked with inspiring people to bring attention to real world problems. I wasn’t just writing articles, I was implementing positive change. I knew that each time one of the videos I produced played on their social media sites, it had the power to put water filters into people’s homes. I know this because I was able to see it when one day the executive director of the charity said it was time for me to experience firsthand what I had been fighting for.
Now this brings me back to the first bus ride in Honduras, when I was surrounded by staff members and volunteers. We were strangers then, but we shared ideals and that was enough to light the fuse for friendship.
The friendships grew day by day. We began by hiking together to homes that needed water filters. The families embraced us and we all knew that no language was needed to express kindness. We saw people with nothing love as if they had everything. We happily built latrines for school children alongside community member through heat and dirt.
Our bones felt heavy, but we felt right.
I knew that any one of us would’ve kept working if allowed. We fumbled over Spanish translations and watched the local children giggle at the bubbles we blew and the toys we presented them with. We watched children learn and we knew that we were saving some of their lives from waterborne illnesses. We laughed and we cried and slowly the metamorphosis happened. By our last bus ride, we had become a family that had impacted the world for better.
To some, an internship may not seem like the ideal cup of tea. To me, an internship is the smiling schoolchildren I met in Honduras. It is the lives I improved by seeking out an opportunity that Castleton University ultimately provided for a student.
It was just through a bit of determination and luck that the student was me. Through this internship I grew from the struggles and worked hard because I was passionate about our message. Before my experience, I thought of an internship as a good resume builder. I also knew the internship would likely be rewarding, but I didn’t predict just how much it would impact my life.
Now, my advice for you is to pause when you receive an email about internships through Castleton because like me, you may never know where the content inside could lead you.
We are grateful for Tiffany and the amazing work she has done for PWW. Thank you, Tiffany, for sharing your time, passion and talents to help bring clean water to children and families in need. You truly are making a difference!