Written by Tracy Adams, Office & Donor Relations Manager, Pure Water for the World
In October, I had the opportunity to take my first trip to Honduras with Pure Water for the World. During the week-long trip, the group of 18 volunteers installed filters, helped finish construction on latrines, visited a community to host a deworming event, and visited a local hospital.
There were lots of fun times in the back of the truck, taking in the beautiful scenery and laughing about getting bounced around on the rough roads. Every house we went to had an amazing view that would be the envy of most. As one of the PWW board members recently said, “Our work begins where the road ends.”
One of my favorite memories from the trip is the day we installed filters. The group of 18 broke into four smaller groups to head out for the day with the goal of installing 28 filters. We walked, and we hiked, and we staggered to get to our first house (keep in mind that, at the end of the day, each group claimed to have had the toughest hike!). The view at the first home we reached, as already mentioned, was amazing. The home was a family of four and two cute dogs. The water filter installation went smoothly, and we were feeling pretty good for getting it right on our first try and having finally caught our breath from the journey to the house.
Next we did the walk, hike, stagger routine again to get to the next house. As we were installing the filter at the next house, I saw one of the dogs from the previous home. Then I realized the mother and daughter from the first house were there too (pictured right). Turned out the house was her brother’s, so she came to watch his filter get installed.
This was how it went for the whole day. We were like a reality television show with kids, dogs, and sometimes adults following us from one installation to the next. It was wonderful to be a part of such an exciting time for a community. The community had waited several years (due to the need to secure funding sources for the project), and they were excited to see it all moving forward and be on the road to better health, hope and opportunities that come with safe water.
I would be remiss in not giving a nod to the real superstars who are the PWW Honduras team, the local volunteer Community Agents, and the community members, as a whole, because the filter installation is just part of the whole picture.
Before our group of volunteers had come on the scene, the community had already had a baseline done by the PWW team. That is where the PWW team goes out into the community and conducts a needs assessment…testing the water, finding out which houses have proper latrines, and chatting with the families about their wellness.
Then the community members attend four educational training sessions: sanitation, hygiene, menstruation and environmental responsibilities. These sessions must be attended by families prior to filter installation.
Finally, the PWW team delivers the filters, sand and two kinds of gravel (which go in the filter) usually to the local school. The families come to the school and carry the supplies back to their homes. I can tell you I would probably not have safe water if had to bring the 120lb bag of sand back to the first home we visited, since I barely got my body weight there!
These folks are dedicated to making their lives better!