We are working hard to meet the great need for clean water throughout Bolivia. Imagine what life would be like if you did not have indoor plumbing and running water in your house. What if you had to spend hours each day walking for miles, carrying buckets of water from a dirty stagnant pond or stream? That life is a daily reality for millions of indigenous Bolivians who live in rural farming communities in the jungles, mountains, and scrub desserts throughout the country.
As we mentioned several months ago, we are expanding our work beyond simply drilling water wells. While we are still working hard to drill all the water wells that we can, we are also promoting and distributing a water filter system that ensures families the water they drink, no matter what the source, is 100% clean and free of disease causing bacteria and pathogens. As you can see from the photo, the Sawyer filter and bucket is a simple solution. The micro-filament filter removes 100% of bacteria and particulates, and if cared for will last for about ten years. The filter is easily back-washed so there is no need for replacement cartridges. This is exciting, brand new technology and I really think the Sawyer filter will play a significant role reducing child mortality and improving the health of billions of people around the world. For $US 80.00 you can provide a family with a bucket and filter system. Each family that receives a filter is trained in the importance of consuming clean water, and maintaining hygiene and sanitation for the long-term health of the family. They are also trained how to care for the filter to ensure its long-term viability. I wish we could quickly go out and give a Sawyer filter to every single family in Bolivia, but that really would be inefficient and irresponsible. In order to insure that families value and understand the importance of using the filter on a daily basis, we ask recipient families to contribute a counterpart payment of $15.00 (about two days wages for rural farm workers). We visit each home where the filters are distributed to make sure that they are set up properly and at least one family member is trained in how to care for the system. This takes a lot of time and leg work. Agua Yaku is the first distributor of Sawyer filters in Bolivia. We now have our first order of 1000 filters in country and are beginning the process of getting as many as we can in the hands of Bolivians who need clean water.
Pray especially that we can find the right staff people who can spend long days and weeks in the rural communities distributing filters and drilling water wells. Unfortunately, we have just lost one of our full time well drillers and all of our short-term interns, so we are in great need of at least two new staff persons—one to focus on drilling, and another to focus on the filter project. Also, if you or someone you know would like to come down and volunteer for three to six months let us know. We promise a unique and challenging experience, perhaps not unlike some of the survival reality shows that are so popular these days!