Thursday, August 2, 2012

Getting our filter on--Implementing water filters!

Thanks to our amazing friends and family back home, we were able to raise enough money to implement 29 water filters in the Namatala slum.  Over 2,000 people will now have access to clean water.  It's incredible.  I had the opportunity to go teach a community about the importance of sanitation and ask if they'd be interested in receiving a water filter.

They were buying their water from one of two different water spouts in the slum that contains dirty water and is owned by a man in the slum.  So they're paying money for water that's not even clean.  In order to clean in, they'd either have to buy tablets to put in it or buy charcoal to heat up the water so that it all of the goods that make them sick.  When I was teaching this group, they said the tablets and charcoal are expensive so they don't usually treat their water.  For those keeping tabs:  Expensive purification methods=dirty water=the people get sick.  

I told them we'd be willing to help them obtain clean water if they were interested.  (Obvious yes.)  The only thing we ask from them is that each family in the neighborhood contribute approximately 500 shillings (approx less than 25 cents) or whatever they can to pay for the water drum.  Some people paid more than 500 shillings, some people paid 2,000.  We take whatever they can contribute and we pay for the difference for the water drum.  The reason we have them pay a little for the drum is so they feel some sense of ownership over it.  They'll feel a responsibility to take care of it.  Also, no one else in the slum can take it from them because it's not a hand out from the white people, they own it.

The cool thing about the water filters is you can put ANY water in and it will get filtered.  They can get water from a dirty stream, rain water, etc.  Once I explained that they don't even have to boil the water before they put it through the filter, they started clapping, smiling and thanking me.  Stella got a huge grin on her face and thanked me over and over again.  Can you imagine having to make the decision of whether or not you pay for the materials to treat your water or to buy food?  They now don't have to spend any money on treating their water.  I can't believe that I get to push my cup against a lever on my fridge at home and crystal clear water comes out.  The people here are always sick because the water is so filthy and too expensive to clean.  It was a cool experience being able to bring them something that I absolutely took for granted that they ooze with gratitude for the opportunity to have clean water.  Amazing.

I went with my friend Shadrach from Child of Hope and we brought the water drum and water filter, showed them how to put it together and clean it.  This is Elizabeth and her darling son Silas.  Elizabeth is one of the women that's in the beading group.  She's darling.  She lives in the neighborhood that's getting a filter.  Here's a pic of her practicing putting the filter on.

Here's Shadrach.  He filled up a cup of the filtered water and had them all taste it.  Elizabeth drank it and started clapping with a big grin on her face.  My mind was blown.  She was so happy and filled with gratitude for being able to sick water that wouldn't get her or her family sick.  All of the women there that we were teaching were so grateful and attentive in learning how to take care of the water filter.

Here's the whole crew from the second lesson.  Shadrach, Elizabeth, my own self, Stella...I don't know who red shirted lady is, but Florence is in green.  I'll be making a follow-up visit to see how it's working and see if they have any questions on how to use it or keep it clean.

Another moment that they all started clapping was when they learned that the filter lasts for 10 years.  If they take care of it and clean it, they'll have clean water for 10 years.  I love the people in Namatala.  They're amazing and so inspiring to me.  They were so thankful for the opportunity to have clean water.  I'm glad I was able to be there, meet them and play a small role in bringing them something that will greatly benefit their lives.  I love my life.  I'm so happy to be here...even if it's just 3 more weeks.  Eek!


  1. the things we take for granted. holy smokes.

  2. What an amazing blessing. Thank you so much for helping be a part of this. Even though it is just a couple of pictures this warms my heart.I feel for those sweet mama's who don't have to worry any more about their babies getting sick. What a heart wrenching choice to have to make. I love you so much and I'm so thankful for all that we have. We are truly very blessed. Soak up every minute with these amazing people but know that you are loved here too.

  3. Oh I'm so glad you posted pictures of the water filters and the sweet people you taught. I feel so grateful to even be a teensy part of your experience there and to be able to help those darling people. I can't imagine what it would be like to not be able to keep my little babies healthy and fed. Enjoy your last three weeks and know that we are missing you so much!