Agua Yaku made a short trip to the Guarani village of Pirirenda, in the dry desert mountains about four hours south of Santa Cruz, to demonstrate how using a Sawyer filter can clean a dirty water source, making it fit for consumption. It was exciting to have Erwin, a Baptist pastor from the nearby town of Gutierrez, join us to give us an introduction into the community and to translate our Spanish presentation into Guarani. Also joining Danny and Jason were North American missionaries David Rossi and Steven Mullins who have been working in this area for several years. Pirirenda is an ideal place to begin our new filter project because the ground water is too deep to effectively drill water wells. We visited one private ranch in the area that had a water well drilled within the last year. They had to drill over 300 feet deep, through a good bit of solid rock before they reached water, and it cost over $12,000. The Guarani families live on less than $500 a year and could never even consider paying for such an expensive well. There are no rivers in the area, they survive by collecting rain water from their roofs and carrying buckets of water from stagnant ponds back to their homes. Pastor Erwin is planning a return trip shortly to present a Sawyer filter to the local school teachers and to encourage community residents to begin using the filters.
It costs Agua Yaku about US$ 80.00 to provide a family with a Sawyer filter bucket system, that will ensure clean water for many years, and the training necessary to improve their family’s health. Sawyer filters are guaranteed to safely filter 1,000,000 gallons of water, but what is so innovative and appropriate for the developing world is that Sawyer filters can easily be back-washed in under a minute and will never require replacement filter cartridges. We are asking families in this community to pay a nominal fee (US$ 7.25) to help cover the cost of the filters. We do not do this to be mean, or even because we are underfunded, but rather so they will become “partners” with us in improving family and community health rather than just “receivers” of charitable donations. We do not want to perpetuate the culture of dependency that has been created from decades of hand-outs and ill-conceived mission project or development projects. Hopefully this required contribution will help them understand the value of the filter and the importance of clean drinking water. We also don’t want this counterpart payment to be so high that it is a hindrance to receiving clean water for the poorest members of the community. There are 42 more rural Guarani communities just in the province of Gutierrez alone. It is our goal to insure that each and every family has access to clean drinking water. It is our prayer that each person in every community will come to know Christ’s love along with drinking boundless glasses of fresh clean water. Meeting “spiritual” and “physical” needs of the less fortunate is what Agua Yaku, and every Christian, is called to do. Join us in this ministry. A gift of US$ 80.00 will give a family clean water, a gift of US$ 1,000.00 allow us to give a family their own water well. How many families do you want to help?