Rosa and her daughter take charge of their filter!
The Biosand Water Filter Project has been able to restart work! We have been trying to work each Saturday since September. It is still difficult, because the hours that we can be out and about are still curtailed. We have been installing filters, primarily, becuase we already had some prepared.
One wonderful thing is that everyone who was part of the team came back. None of them had had huge problems with COVID, or with their families. They came, all of them, and they have been working every Saturday except this past Saturday, which was the day of the presidential election in Bolivia. Here is a story of a recent Saturday.
Traveling together to Vilaqui as a team
On Saturday October 3rd the team, Diego, Angela, Daniel, Alejandra and I, went to install the biosand filter in a village called Vilaqui, which is a small village near the Andes mountains. Although we had a limited time to work during the day because of the COVID-19 quarantine in our city, my team felt confident to cope with the time in order to make available clean and safe water for members of a family in Vilaqui.
Early in morning at the work site, the team gathered to sift the sand into its three sizes, and to make the lid and diffuser of the biosand filter. All of the team put their heart into preparing and assembling the biosand filter, as we accomplished our various tasks that morning. The ambiance was really nice, because each worker helped with getting all materials prepared for the installation. At noon, the team had a light lunch because we had to travel by bus to Vilaqui. With the favor of God, at around 1:00 pm, all of us were sitting on the bus for a new adventure: meeting members of a new family in Vilaqui, having a visit with them, and installing the biosand filter there.
Whenever we are installing a biosand filter, the family members gather to ask several questions regarding the biosand filter. Rosa, who is the mother of the family, came to talk to us happily, and she asked, ¨How does it work?¨ ¨What do we have to do to take care of it?¨ Rosa´s daughter and her two sons were near us all the time, too, so that showed us how much they were interested in adopting the biosand filter into their care and into their home. Each member of the group gave a response to their questions. Some of us had to give the answers in two languages, Spanish and Aymara, in order to make sure everyone in the family understood the information and instructions about the biosand filter clearly.
From the time we arrived at this family's home until we said goodbye, we had a good time. We laughed along with them because of the cows they had in the backyard. To the team, it was surprising to see these cows in a place where there was not really water in the river near the town. Even so, they shared some homemade cheese with us. When we left Vilaqui, we felt full of joy and gratitude for life and for the people we had met there. We felt as if the biosand filter project family had grown.
Our team has had this kind of experience, full of good memories, at each family’s home where we have installed a biosand filter since early September, after the 24-hour lockdown of March-May, and strict the quarantine and curfews that followed.
Cover photo: Rosa and her daughter take possession of their new biosand filter.
Photo 2: Team leader Diego checks the different grades of sand before loading the family's new filter.
Photo 3: The team--Daniel, Diego, Angela and Alejandra--get the water flowing.
Daniel prepares to load the grades of filter sand
The team complete installation. Water is flowing!