Saturday, April 3, 2010

Don't Children Need Clean Water?

The village mayor pours the first example of community water into Sunil's hands and points out about twenty five little football shaped worms. Startled and astounded by this, my mind reeled with the possible health consequences of wormy water, what else was in the water, and how they could get clean water out of this. Without a doubt these people need effective water filters.

This area northwest of Ganeshpuri is dry, very dry. The earth is parched and cracked with the rectangular patterning of earth that has given up its last bit of moisture. We rode on Sunil’s motorcycle over 4 wheel drive roads and pathways from village to village, the thick layer of powdery earth pulverized by foot, bike, ox cart, and truck spewed out from the tires as we lurched over rocks and branches. Mud and stick, brick and clay tile roof/tin roof houses are scattered over large areas, making distribution of water and other supplies difficult.

The mayor explained to us, while taking cover from the sun under the roof of his front porch, that potable water is a problem during the hot dry months of the year when the wells become polluted with algae and other living organisms fostered by the sunlight, and it is a problem when the monsoon comes and the well s become filled with runoff and surface bacterial and organic contaminants. He explained that adults and children suffer from worms and other invasive organisms that cause stomach pains, diarrhea, physical, emotional, and mental sluggishness and related diseases.

Later we visited one of the three schools in the area, each with about 50 to 60 children. I noticed the lackluster and somewhat vacant expressions on many of their faces.

Having learned a bit about the depressing mental affects of biological invasions of parasites, I could understand what I saw and the need to get these children clean water.

The well at the school was broken. The lifting rod extending down the well was broken. It was a government well and apparently had not been fixed for some time. An estimate of about $30 was given as the cost to repair the well.

It later took us 10 minutes to walk to the well where the water was obtained for the school. So someone, probably the women, had to walk 20 minutes to fetch water, and the container they used was rather small, so that it must have taken many trips to fill the stainless steel water pot from which they all drank. I’m guessing it took more than 10 trips to fill the container.

The children were precious as all children are, and at the prompting of the teacher, they sang a little teaching song for us, and clapped their little hands in unison as they sang. They hadn’t the liveliness of really healthy children. I thought again of “parasite depression.”

We arrived at the village by the river after leaving the school and immediately the dry, dry river bed caught our attention. Remember how depressing dry river beds are? This one was no exception - - large enough to contain lots of rushing water, and not a drop in sight.

But wait - - looking further we noticed first a small pool of water created by digging down into the river bed.

The next noticeable element was the woman washing clothes by scrubbing and pounding water soaked clothes on a rock by the pond. Children were playing in and bathing in the water. The soap and dirt from the clothes oozed back into the water. A charming village sight in many ways and also a health hazard in the making. Inspection of the water itself showed clumps of biological mass floating in the water.

Just downstream, an uncomfortably short distance in terms of the pollution from the wash water pond filtrating into the drinking water, we were lead to the smaller dugout pond where the drinking water was collected. As we approached I heard the plop of at least a dozen some-things whose blurry outlines were disappearing down into the water as we approached the rim. A quick scan of the surface flotsam and the murkiness of the water lead to the following thought. I would get really thirsty and would walk the miles to town to get clean water before I would drink this water.

Reviewing in my mind, this experience of inspecting the water sources for this remote village area, actually not that far from Ganeshpuri, the first experience of the wiggling worms in the water is enough to mobilize a strong desire to help these people. Following the wormy well, visions of the vacant faces of the children at the school whose health is obviously affected by contaminated water, appear in my mind. How about walking 20 minutes, multiple times to carry water to the school because a repair of probably $30 can’t be completed.

Sri Nityananda Education Trust (SNET) can manufacture and distribute water filters that require no fuel, electricity, maintenance or supplies, and work for life times, for $25 each. We need approximately 120 filters to cover every family and school in this area. We look forward to finding those peoples of compassionate heart who will share their resources to provide bio sand water filters for the families of this neglected area.
This woman received her SNET bio sand water filter a year ago. You can tell that she is very happy with it. This is the overwhelming positive response that we hear when we return to survey the recipients' responses to having the filter. Read the recent blog discussing the latest survey:
Please help us to help these people in Lindy Village. Contact

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