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Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America

by Agua Pura Para El Pueblo
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Give Clean Water to 1000 Families in Latin America
Taking a water sample from a drinking water puddle
Taking a water sample from a drinking water puddle



Agua Pura partners with organizations to support our work throughout Latin America.  In Haiti, one of our partners is Haiti Compost Business (HCB), founded by one of our students, Hovard G. who studied water and sanitation in the US.  He and teams of young volunteers do water testing and water purification projects in poor communities throughout Haiti helping them to have clean water and sanitation. Agua Pura supports them in their work. Hovard recently started a new project in an especially hard hit community in North East Haiti.  Here is the report he sent telling us about it.

“Haiti’s lack of access to quality sanitation and water has hit most families all over the country. The government does not have a strong plan nor strategies to face those issues that affect millions of people. People who live in rural areas are the most vulnerable because access to the almost basic things are nonexistent.
Haiti is one of the most vulnerable countries in the Caribbean with communities that still face water and sanitation issues. Gradually, things are getting more complicated with lack of water in many regions. Climate change is a big part of that issue. According to the World Bank, between 1990 and 2015, the share of the population with access to potable water decreased from 62% to 52%. Sanitation is also a critical issue; over the same period, access to enhanced sanitation installations only increased by 1% among the poorest in the rural areas. Among the urban poor, it actually declined by 3%.
“Meillac is a poor community in the North East fo Haiti. In this area, the families face a serious lack of water. Sometimes a truck brings water that they can buy to use. For those who cannot afford to buy a bucket of water for 20 HTG are forced to  get their water from polluted sources. A leader in the community explained that there were two wells with manual pumps. The water from the ground is salty. The pumps could not last because the salt from the water caused the pump line to decay faster.”
Meillac is one of the newest communities that we have begun working with. That area confronts serious problems with the lack of access to water. Despite the pandemic covid-19, the HCB team went there and got some samples of different water sources. After analyzing those samples, we quickly made arrangements to bring our support to those people who are in need.”


Hovard and his team organized workshops in the community with the families. They showed the results of their water testing and talked with them about what they should do to keep their families safe.  Families have different preferences so the team offered them different options including AquaTabs (chlorine tablets), chlorine (bleach) and the use of Water Purification Indicators (WAPIs) and trained them in safe use. Hovard and his team also made a commitment to return frequently and continue helping them have safe drinking water.  They also plan to help with covid-19 precautions including hand washing supplies and masks.
Agua Pura, and you- our donors, stand behind Hovard and his volunteers. Together with you we are providing financial support and materials for his work in Meillac and other projects in Haiti. As we have often said, we are all volunteers and 100% of all donated funds goes to support our programs  throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  We appreciate every dollar you have donated and hope that you will continue to support our work. Can you consider making a modest monthly recurring donation?, it would help us lot with future programs.
Thank you,
Tom Carter

If you want you can write me directly at tom@aguapuraparaelpueblo.org

talking with community members
talking with community members

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Hand washing with Peace Corps/Agua Pura volunteers
Hand washing with Peace Corps/Agua Pura volunteers

About a year ago, we were invited to come to the Dominican Republic (DR) by Marlennis, one of our former students from an Environmental Technology college program here in the US.  She had been doing volunteer work in the border region between the DR and Haiti.  The border is somewhat open with many poor Haitians who live in informal settlements and camps on the DR side of the border.  The area lacks electricity, clean water, and sanitation.  Marlennis asked if we could come and provide water testing and distribute WAPIs (water pasteurization indicators).

Our trip was planned for the week after New Year’s, when it was still a school holiday so Marlennis was free to help.  We had planned to visit Haiti as well, but that part of the trip was cancelled due to a US State Department travel ban. One of our long-time volunteers Jim, who has worked with us in Honduras, volunteered to come along. The two of us met up with Hovard and Jerome, two of our Haitian volunteers.

Marlennis recruited 6 Peace Corps volunteers who were also off from their teaching jobs for the holidays.  Their assignment didn’t really include water testing, but they wanted to participate and assist because of the importance of health and sanitation for their schools.  I trained Marlennis and the other volunteers in water testing, use of WAPI’s (water pasteurization indicators), and hand washing.

We offered the same program two days in a row at local school.  The first day, there were approximately 20 families, but twice that many came the next day when they heard about the project.  Presenters showed pictures of the contaminated water in their community and we distributed WAPIs.  We heated some local water and pasteurized it to demonstrate that the WAPIs were effective in eliminating harmful bacteria.  A Sawyer filter was donated to the school and the teacher learned how to maintain it. We also demonstrated how they could make a handwash station from a 2 liter soda bottle. The wash station we made for hand washing, next to the latrine, was a big hit!

 The project was shorter than was originally planned due to difficult transportation and long travel times.  The community was only accessible using high clearance vehicles and took several hours to get there.  Although there wasn’t electricity, there was an elementary school for conducting our presentations.  Because most of the audience was Haitian, very few people spoke Spanish. Fortunately, we had invited Creole speakers Hovard and Jerome to help translate our presentations both linguistically and culturally.

 The volunteers seemed to really enjoy the program and several decided to make a presentation to the entire Peace Corps staff in the DR.  It is probable that we will get requests from volunteers for help with sanitation needs in their schools. Also, a professor of sociology at a large University in Santo Domingo, who has been studying the region for a number of years, was very interested in our project. He invited us to make a presentation to his students at the university on the Monday morning before our flight back home.  It’s possible he will be interested in some future joint-projects with us.

We are proud of how many community members and volunteers were able to learn more about water and sanitation in the DR in just a week. See the Agua Pura webpage for more stories! We appreciate the on-going support for this work for clean water from you, our donors! Thank You! 

 

PS: The last photo includes Marlennis and Peace Corps vounteers from Dominican Republic, as well as volunteers from Agua Pura from Haiti, and Tom and Jim from USA in the back.

Brushing Teeth with clean water!
Brushing Teeth with clean water!
Training Volunteers, Peace Corps and Agua Pura
Training Volunteers, Peace Corps and Agua Pura

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Learning about composting and organic gardening
Learning about composting and organic gardening

Wherever we go, no matter what the economic or political conditions, we meet people who are optimistic about the future and enthusiastic to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbors.  This is the ongoing story of one such person whom you have supported with your generous donations.

I first met Hovard when he was a student of mine in an Environmental Technology college program here in the US.  He was Haitian and had won a two year scholarship through USAID to study things like recycling, composting and organic gardening. I got to teach him and the other students about issues of water and sanitation. He was eager and bright and focused on things that he could do when he returned home, as an entrepreneur and also to help his country.


When he returned to Haiti he immediately started Haiti Compost Business to promote recycling and composting, things very seldom done there. He formed teams of young people throughout Haiti to test the drinking water for contamination and help communities learn how to make it safe. Several years ago Hovard invited Agua Pura to come to Haiti to help him with his programs of clean water and sanitation. Since then your donations have supported his work by providing money and testing and purification materials for him and his teams. Over the last few years Hovard with your help has had a number of successful projects affecting numerous communities and hundreds of families.

Now, new political and economic unrest is increasing in Haiti, and has made it difficult and potentially dangerous to  work and travel.  Gasoline is in short supply and there are road blocks and robberies.  For their own safety Agua Pura has asked Hovard to suspend his teams work until the situation improves.


 Also however there is a developing refugee crisis on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic where families have been trapped. Unrest, prejudice and political issues between the two countries have left  people from both countries stuck, homeless and in bad conditions. The situation is  desperate but we are trying to work on a plan to reach the families and bring water purification supplies in early January. We won’t endanger the teams but Hovard will try to join us if he can safely.


We are proud of Hovard and proud of the work we have done together, and this new challenge. Our resources are already stretched but we feel it is our duty to help if we can.  Your past support has helped us continue our programs in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and elsewhere, and to help Hovard with his important projects as well.  Thank you so much for that support!  I hope in this Giving Season you will choose to continue supporting us and Hovard and the work we are doing to bring safe drinking water to families throughout Latin America.

Sincerely, Tom Carter

p.s. If you have a suggestion or comment or you want to reach me, my email address is:

tom@aguapuraparaelpueblo.org

Enthusiastic volunteer teams
Enthusiastic volunteer teams
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Children in Articulo 27
Children in Articulo 27

Community “Articulo 27” is  small, new village in the mountains of Southern Mexico.  About 30 families live on what was once a cattle ranch. They try to do some farming but the soil is poor. Often the men have to go elsewhere to find work leaving the families behind.  Unfortunately, their water supply is badly contaminated due to years of neglect and cattle trampling the springs, and the children are often sick.

In July, Agua Pura was asked to come to Articulo 27 to help them to have safe drinking water. When we got there the first thing we did was to test the water for bacterial contamination. Our assays are very accurate but simple to use and we teach the community members how to do the testing themselves.

In the photo there are two circular plates that have a special growth media that detects E. coli and other bacteria in water.  E. coli bacteria are always an indicator of contamination, where E. coli is present other disease causing organisms may also be there. In the circle on the left are red and blue spots and white gas bubbles.  The red spots are normal bacteria found in the air and water. The many blue spots are colonies of E. coli bacteria, showing that their drinking water was highly contaminated and dangerous.

After we tested the water and saw the contamination we had a meeting with the community in their church and showed them the results.  We also gave a presentation about how bacteria cause disease and how they can be eliminated. There are many ways that water can be made safe to drink, including boiling, filtering and the use of disinfectants like chlorine. A method we advocate is Pasteurization, heating the water high enough to kill the bacteria but not boiling. A Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) is a small reusable thermometer that shows when the water is pasteurized and safe to drink.

In the photo, the right hand circle shows the same contaminated water after pasteurization using a WAPI as an indicator.  It is completely clear, showing that all the bacteria have been killed. The families could see that pasteurization made their water safe to drink. All the families received a WAPI and training in how to use it. Since they saw the contamination themselves they agreed that they had to always pasteurize their water before drinking it.

Once water is purified it has to be protected against recontamination by storing it in a safe, clean container like the one in the picture. We showed how these safe storage containers can be easily made or purchased.
Finally, simple hand washing after using the latrine or before handling food can also help stop disease.  We showed easy ways that people can have a place to wash their hands near their latrine or in their cooking areas.

What we did in the community of Articulo 27 was similar to our programs in many communities throughout Latin America. We work directly with the  families to offer them simple solutions to protect their health. What we do is inexpensive but life saving, and it is the continued support of donors like you that make it possible for us to continue.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!
Please, if you want more information or we can help you in some way, please contact me directly.

Tom Carter

Bacteria growing on plates
Bacteria growing on plates
Families learning about safe water
Families learning about safe water
Demonstrating how the WAPI works
Demonstrating how the WAPI works
Safe Water Storage
Safe Water Storage
Hand Washing Station
Hand Washing Station
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Beautiful green Chiapas
Beautiful green Chiapas

Greetings from Mexico City!
Our team of volunteers is in the city preparing for upcoming projects here and in Chiapas State in Southern Mexico. The next few weeks are going to be busy and productive as we continue programs we have worked on before.
On Saturday, June 15, we are attending a celebration of a nice new set of latrines for a school and community center we have supported for many years.  The new latrines for the boys and girls will be clean and secure and have running water for them to wash their hands.  The community members came together to build the latrines and will be celebrating with us.

It was your financial and moral support over the years that made the completion of this project possible.

On Sunday we are going to have a reunion for some of our Mexican friends who have helped us. Over the past 10 years we have had many volunteers us with our projects, they are proud to help their communities and their countries. They are young adults who have come from many different parts of the country to participate. They help with the teaching and translating  and often speak special dialects and languages.  Because of their training, after we return home they continue the programs benefiting their communities. It should be a pleasant afternoon.

Then on next morning we leave for Chiapas for two weeks of programs working with partner organizations.  We have visited there before and will be following up on previous projects.  We will  visit small communities and show how to test the water for contamination and how to make it safe. Families will learn simple ways to keep their children healthy.  We also work with local schools to make sure they have safe water and sanitation for their students.  On your map of Southern Mexico we will first be in San Cristobal de las Casas, then in Ocosingo in the mountains and finally spending several days in Palenque near the famous Mayan ruins. It’s a fascinating and culturally rich part of Mexico and we always enjoy the friendly greetings we receive.

With luck and internet connections I will try to give you an update from Chiapas while we are there.
Again, as always, your contributions are what has kept us going. 

As we say:  Agua Pura Para El Pueblo, una familia a la vez. 
Tom

Learning about their drinking water
Learning about their drinking water
Our Volunteers
Our Volunteers
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Agua Pura Para El Pueblo

Location: Happy Valley, Oregon - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Ulises Silva
Communications coordinator
Happy Valley, Oregon United States
$51,292 raised of $52,000 goal
 
1,189 donations
$708 to go
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