From Greg, a parent from Connecticut: Water! All we have to do is turn on the tap! You think it’s important and can understand intellectually that it’s a must for good health.
I was fortunate to have gone to Ecuador for two years in a row where we helped the Ongota tribe that live near the Amazon rain forest. They swam, fished, washed, and yes…their outhouses emptied into the same water source that they used for cooking and drinking. We visited in 2010 just after a terrible flood devastated the village. We helped as much as we could to repair some of the damage to homes but our mission to supply water filtration devices was all the more important under the circumstances.
We learned that the children averaged 4 bouts of diarrhea per month and often times families couldn’t afford to go to see a doctor so they did the best they could and hoped that the issue resolved itself over time. The children were small, often listless and tired looking albeit with some of the biggest smiles you’ve seen. We showed the mothers how to use the water filters and eventually we went on our way to other projects and learning experiences.
Upon arrival in the second year to the same village we were all asking ourselves if we were just experiencing “wishful thinking”!? had these been the same children? ….and was it clean water that done what we were seeing? The children were visibly brighter eyed, had clearly put on weight and were, of course, still smiling. We quickly learned that the incidents of diarrhea had been reduced from the average of 4 per month to approximately once every other month. We clearly SAW the difference! The kids were learning more in school because they were “in school” and not home sick and they were there with energy and enthusiasm vs. the strength sapping condition they were living in for years before. Water…..you can think it’s important but when you see the difference it makes in the faces of children you’ve known before…it’s AMAZING!