Here are a few images from our recent trip to Warnes, Bolivia to continue testing our new “Village Drill”. We are drilling a well for a new church plant and after school program in a community just outside the city of Warnes.
After a few false starts and modifications in the machine shop, Agua Yaku has successfully drilled our first well with our new “village drill.” Thank you to wholives.org for the plans and to First Baptist Church of Benbrook for the generous donation to get this new drilling rig off the ground. This is the first drilling rig of this type in South America! It is a manual rotary rig with a motorized mud pump to help circulate the drilling fluid. It is a much simpler design than our previous method and should greatly speed up and simplify our drilling program. We drilled a test well at the Stansberry Children’s home here in Santa Cruz. We were able to drill a 20 meter well in just a couple of hours! This well will be used for irrigation in the home’s garden and to water their livestock.
The entire rig fits nicely in a trailer we pull behind our project truck. We are anxious to get it out in to the communities where it will be such a benefit to the families who so desperately need clean water here in Bolivia. Let us know soon if you would like to bring a volunteer team down to help us drill wells this year. Our calendar is filling up!
The rains seem to be diminishing and the flood waters are finally beginning to recede. Now comes the time for clean-up. As you can see in the photo, mud is everywhere. There is more than a meter of sediment in some houses. Health officials are seeing a rise in water-borne diseases as many families are returning to their homes but they still do not have any clean water to drink. Now would be a perfect time for each family to have their own Sawyer water filter. We still have three days left in our Razoo campaign to raise donations for 1000 Sawyer filters for the flood victims of eastern Bolivia. We have raised over $55,000 so far, enough to provide almost 700 filters. Thank you everyone who has contributed so far to campaign. Please help us meet our goal in our final push on Razoo, but even after the Razoo campaign ends, you can still donate through the regular channels on the EFCCM and the EFCA web sites.
Today is World Water Day and I totally missed it. Check out this great post by, Jessica Janoski, a friend and supporter of Agua Yaku here in Bolivia. She makes some great points using shocking statistics about water use and water needs around the world.
Help us celebrate and support World Water Day by donating $80 to Agua Yaku so a family can have clean water tomorrow!
MAR 22, 2014
Its midday and safe to say that between your morning rituals of showering and coffee guzzling and the food preparation going into lunch, you’ve already consumed more than what 768 million people will struggle to access throughout the entire day – clean water.
By nightfall, as an average American you will have consumed more than 450 liters, or 118 gallons of water, in the home alone.
Today is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative designed to both remind the world each year about our inadequate global water supply and to celebrate the achievements made in water security and sanitation.
And while there is much to be celebrated as statistics represent decreases in water-related deaths, the numbers concerning the crisis are still staggering. In comparison to U.S. daily consumption of 118 gallons of water (as mentioned above), those in developing countries can barely find five.
On top of it, those five gallons are barely drinkable, swimming with bacteria and diseases that cause staggering death rates just from trying to stay hydrated and clean. (add fact here). 1 child dies every 21 seconds from a water-related disease.
Here’s what you need to know:
- 768 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s 1 in 9 of us.
- The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. (World Health Organization, WHO)
- In developing countries, about 80 per cent of illnesses can be linked to poor water conditions that led to a lack of proper sanitation. (United Nations)
- Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five, more than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. Diarrhea is most commonly caused by improper hygiene. (water.org)
- More people have a mobile phone than access to a toilet.
- 12% lack access to water, 54% lack access to sanitation and safe, drinkable water, 50.6% live below poverty line.
- In Bolivia nearly one out of every ten children will die before the age of five. Most of those deaths are related to illnesses that come from a lack of clean drinking water. (Jim Schultz, founder of the Democracy Center in Bolivia, FLOW.)
- Almost five million Bolivians lack access to sewage systems and fecal waste disposal. (Refresh Bolivia)
- Diarrhea causes 36% of deaths in children under 5 in Bolivia. Studies show that provision of potable water and sanitation facilities can reduce deaths from diarrhea by 65% and overall childhood mortality by 55%.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE AID TO THE WORLD WATER CRISIS
This organization empowers communities to maintain their own clean water sources by providing impoverished rural families access to water filters and the training needed to allow Bolivians to tap into any water source and drink clean, purified water for years. These filters are needed more than ever as 60,000 Bolivians suffering recent floods have lost their homes, crops, livestock, and livelihoods.
Photo courtesy Agua Yaku
Donate a filter or contribute to fundraising efforts here.
Water for People
This Colorado based, international nonprofit has operations in 10 countries, including Bolivia, and improves access to water with drilling projects, sanitation infrastructures and other water systems. Much of their work is completed through volunteer work in the field as part of their World Water Corps program and other various project sponsorships.
Find out how you can get involved or donate to the cause here.
People Water (Drop4Drop), Charity:Water, and Water.org also target the global water crisis by providing eco-friendly, non-leaking water bottles, well drilling, long-lasting sanitation services, family sponsorships and more. Check out their work and see how you can support those in need.
And it doesn’t end with donations! Be mindful of the water you consume letting minimal amounts of this precious resource go to waste. Educate yourself and others by spreading the word of this epidemic and know the facts. Seek out videos and documentaries (such as Flow and Water Wars), and seek out the voices of the affected.
Cheers to water and its healing power!
Last week Paulo and I (Danny) returned to Beni with 80 more Sawyer filters. After driving to Trinidad, we flew in a small plane to San Borja, a town of 42,000 that has been cut off from the rest of Bolivia by the flooding. The Maniqui River, overflowed its banks and threatened to flood the town. It receded more quickly than the Mamore River near Trinidad, but still left hundreds of Tsimane communities devastated. We heard stories of how quickly the river rose and came into the communities. People told me they only had time to grab their children and seek refuge in the rafters of their wooden homes. Unlike the homes on the Mamore River, the Tsimane houses are made from poles, with bamboo walls and grass roofs. They are not raised up on stilts. All of their clothes, cooking utensils, and possessions were washed away. All of their crops were destroyed. When we visited two communities last week we met so many families who had nothing but the clothes on their backs. So even though the water has receded in Trinidad, the families are starting over from scratch. All of their hand-dug wells have been fouled by the flood waters and the only water they have to drink is gathered from muddy brown Maniqui River.
It is hard to know how even begin to help these families. We went along on our visit to Puerto Codo and Natividad with Juan and Wendy, a local pastor and his wife, and Candido, the president of the Gran Consejo of the Tsimane communities. Candido is the voice for 130 Tsimane communities located on the remote rivers of Beni, Cochabamba, and La Paz, almost all of which have been affected by the flooding. Juan, Wendy, and Candido all have a real desire to meet the extreme needs of these many communities. We brought food, clothes, and water filters to these two communities. Really, just a drop in the bucket, considering the great need that we see all around us. It is always exciting to see how excited the people get when they see muddy water transformed into clean drinking water with the Sawyer filter. In the photo gallery below you can see the joy on the faces of these people as they drink the clear filtered water.
We have decided to provide one filter for each school and church in San Borja, about 20 in total, that will serve the urban population, and we will provide one filter for each of the 130 Tsimane communities. I wish we could give a filter to each family, but that just beyond our capabilities right now. Juan and Wendy will be training teachers and community leaders in how to use the filters and they will be taking them back to their remote communities, some of them more than one week away by river travel. In the coming months we hope to be able to provide filters for individual families as well.
As you can see from the aerial photos, the flooding in and around the city of Trinidad continues. Many communities have been under water for two months now. So many people are praying for the beginning of the dry season so the rivers will have a chance to drain, but as of now it continues to rain. So many other communities and town in Eastern Bolivia and Brazil are also flooding. I read yesterday that 22,000 families in Brazil have been affected by the flooding.
Thank you so much for you continued support of our efforts to be Christ’s “hands and feet” during this crisis. Please continue to pray and give.
We send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to our campaign to provide Sawyer water filters to the thousands of victims of the flooding in eastern Bolivia in 2014. So many of you have partnered with us in this effort of love, but we are still about $32,000 short of our goal of raising $80,000 and providing filters to 1000 needy families. The donations have flattened out this last week. If you haven’t already contributed, please consider doing so this week. If you donate through Razoo.com, we get an immediate notice of the donation, but if you donate through the EFCA or the EFCCM, please let us know so we can count it in our total.
The rains have slackened a bit and the flood waters are dropping, but hundreds of communities along the rivers are still underwater. We left our colleague, David, alone in Trinidad for the last week. He spent five days on a river boat with Samaritan’s Purse and First Baptist Santa Cruz delivering food, medicine and 116 water filters to desperate families in 8 isolated communities. We have now distributed about 320 filters to families and communities. David is returning to Santa Cruz today for a little well earned R&R (he said he is covered in mosquito bites). As the water begins to recede, several airstrips are now usable. Today, Danny and Paulo are returning to Trinidad with a plan of flying into several remote communities that desperately need clean water. Keep our ministry and our safety in your prayers.
Marcos and I sent two full days on the Mamore River with a consortium of churches and with Samaritan’s Purse delivering food and Sawyer water filters to 50 families in five communities. The flood waters have completely covered all land within thousands of square miles. Many people have of course chosen to leave their communities until the water level drops. Quite a few families, with no place to go, have decided to stay in their homes until the water level recedes. Every family we visited on this trip has been living on top of planks or tables for more than a month now. The more fortunate have a second story, or a raised floor where the can at least get out of the water. The water depth in the communities is anywhere from two feet to six feet deep. In one community we visited, La Fortuna, 13 families are all living together in the school. The only land I saw for two days was a mound of sand, called a “loma” about an acre in size were half a dozen families were camped with their livestock. Everyone who has stayed in their homes moves around the community by canoe. They live with their animals in their houses. They have to spend a good bit of time collecting plants for their animals to eat and looking for citrus fruit and bananas for themselves. All of their crops have been lost. During the first afternoon, we called two communities together for a water filter training session. There was no central place to meet so we rendezvoused in a canal in the middle of the forest and did the training in five boats tied together.
Have you seen the movie “Water World”? That is what it feels like along the Mamore River right now. It’s hard to even know how to “relieve” yourself. There is no place to go to be away from others; you are either in a boat or in a house full of people with no bathroom. We arrived in San Antonio at dusk, community where 12 families are waiting out the flood. We would be doing a filter training with the community in the morning, but in the mean time we had to sleep somewhere for the night. I climbed down into the first floor of a storage barn looking for a place to hang my hammock. I walked out onto some planks suspended above the water on tables and barrels and tied my hammock to some rafters. The mosquitos, not bad during the day, came out in swarms after the sun went down. I quickly climbed into my hammock (with a bug net), not wanting to emerge until the sun came back up. We had not eaten lunch or supper on the first day out. There was no place to cook and the families had nothing to offer. I munched on Oreos and apples in my hammock and fell asleep. At 4:30 in the morning a fierce thunderstorm came through. The grass roof over my head did not stop the driving rain. I had to get out of my hammock, put up the rainfly, and make sure my gear and camera were safe from the rain. Balancing on bouncy, rotten boards above the water I finally got my fly up but I was completely soaked. I laid awake shivering in my hammock until the sun came up.
The mosquitos gone, and already being as wet as I could get, I just jumped into the flood waters and took a walk around the community. The water was anywhere from knee deep to thigh deep. David, a ten year old boy in a canoe, accompanied me on my walk. When the water reached my waist I climbed into his canoe to continue our tour. We visited each family, asking them to gather for a meeting so we could train them how to use the Sawyer water filters and so we could distribute the food rations. We ferried a ninety-four year old widower, named Alberto, to the meeting with us because he did not have his own canoe. David said Alberto normally gets around on horseback. I don’t know where his horse was, I didn’t see any horses or cows in the community.
Nine churches in Trinidad combined efforts, collecting food rations for the flood victims. They collected slightly over 1000 kilos of food (rice, sugar, oil, flour, etc). They had enough food to give 20 kilos of food to 50 families. We were also carrying 5o Sawyer filters and buckets. Thankfully, we had just enough rations and filters for all the families we visited in these five small communities. I’m relating all these details to help give you a perspective on the enormity of this disaster. 60,000 families have lost their homes, crops, livestock, and livelihoods. We were able to help these few families with clean water and enough food for a couple of weeks, but what about the other 59,950 families? Okay, I’m being a little dramatic. There are other institutions, NGO’s, churches and governments helping, but it is a huge crisis and most of the relief efforts are small and uncoordinated.
Agua Yaku has raised enough donations to cover the cost of placing 592 Sawyer water filters with flood victims. We have already placed about 130 filters and will be continuing our trips on the rivers. Our immediate goal is to place at least 1000 filters in flooded communities throughout eastern Bolivia, but that is a reasonable goal. I would really love to place 10,000 filters in these communities. 10,000 Sawyer filters would make a huge difference in the survival and health of so many families affected by the flooding in Bolivia. That would really make a difference. If you have already joined us in our effort, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you haven’t joined us in our effort, please consider donating to our campaign on Razoo or through the EFCA or the EFCCM mission organizations. Share this campaign with your friends on Facebook and through email. Let’s get the ball rolling!