6.22.17 – Luncheon Notes
SPOKES Notes written by Roger Morgenstern
Every week, for the last five years, our Club has presented the speaker a certificate stating a bio-sand water filter will be given to a family in Nicaragua so they have clean water for the first time.
Last week, we learned a lot more about the work that goes into those filters thanks to a recent trip to Nicaragua by members Jon Hankins, Chuck Caldwell and their wives.
Actually, our Club’s connection with various types of sand filters goes back to 2009, when we were involved in water projects in Ghana, Africa, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. In Nicaragua, we’ve partnered with Aqua Clara International to help distribute filters with the latest technology, which Chuck joked includes “magic sand” which filters out arsenic. Combined with special mesh filter screens and gravel, the devices provide clean water without the need for electricity and can last for years.
During their April trip to Managua and Chinandega, they helped on assembly of the $200 filters, attended educational sessions for families receiving the filters and got to meet those who have benefitted from Rotary’s involvement and investment.
“When you go there and meet those families, it blows your mind how much good $200 can do,” Jon said.
Since 2009, 510 water filter systems have been distributed, helping 7,500 individuals living healthier and safer lives because of clean water. Any every contribution helps. During this time, $15,620 of our Club funds have leveraged $42,943 in RI District 6290 match and other funds for a nearly $60,000 investment in clean water.
Joining us at the meeting was Aqua Clara Nicaragua Director Mario Benevides, who has been instrumental in getting the filters to where they are needed. “Education is so important. We just don’t get off the bus and give it to them.”
Mario said part of the education is explaining to residents these filters are better than earlier models and can be used for a long time. In his emotional remarks, he thanked our Club and RI for all we’ve done and said the love and passion he and other Nicaraguans have for their country will help them overcome the challenges of their dictator.