Folks in the Santa Clara community have been drinking contaminated water for many years, in the same manner as many, many other communities in this country. Those days should be coming to an end this year through the efforts of Samaritan’s Purse and worldwide supporters of their clean water program.
Monday we met with Brad Phillips, National Director-Honduras, of Samaritan’s Purse of Canada. Final arrangements were made for a meeting in Santa Clara on Thursday, when Misael Baquedan will bring a six-member team to the community to begin discussions.
The team will describe how BioSand filters will be made by the community members and installed in each home at very low cost (i.e., 40 Lempiras, or about $2.12 per family) to provide pure drinking water. Subsequent meetings through the next few months will be arranged with organized groups within the community to teach the importance of combining pure water with hygiene practices and sanitation to attain the full benefits–reduction of gastrointestinal problems from contamination by human and animal waste, worms, and other harmful things sometimes found in the water.
Earlier communications with Samaritan’s Purse pointed to a March-April beginning of the work. But a different community already engaged in a similar program recently requested additional filters, so the timetable for beginning the physical work in Santa Clara can’t begin before July. The revised schedule was a disappointment, but the potential improvement is worth waiting for after all these years.
The actual physical work will begin (in July?) when a team brings twelve filter molds to the community and trains the people there on how to fabricate the filter housings of concrete, how to set up the filters for operation with rocks, gravel, and graded sand, and how to maintain them to assure continuing good water supply. Perhaps our July mission team will be able to participate in this phase of the work, working side by side with the community members.
Following installation of filters in about 100 homes throughout the community, Samaritan’s Purse will provide follow-up meetings at one, three, six, and twelve months to assure that the filters are continuing to perform as intended, and that families are well able to do the necessary maintenance of filter bed quality.
As a result of the contacts our translators made with Samaritan’s Purse on behalf of Santa Clara, a neighboring community of Las Minitas will also be included in the program. That will add about 90 families to the group who will one day have pure water and–we hope–healthy kids.
This is just one more example of how we are trying to not only cure medical problems, but to avoid them in the first place. The approach also will encourage community self-help and cooperation as a way out of bad situations.