You and I don't think of this too often... When thirsty, we simply walk over to the tap that is most likely filtered and pour ourselves a cup of water; sip and enjoy. We don't have to worry about tummy troubles from bacteria or death... - Lisa LeBel, Marketing Director Solar Trek, Inc.
Solar Trek, Inc. makes it to Belize! Here's an excerpt on how the project happened and some photos... for a remote village in Belize thanks to the help of Patrick Altier, Solar Trek, Inc. and many other folks!
"Patrick Altier (President of Solar Trek, Inc.) provided incredible consulting support and also donated the solar panels which we took to Belize and installed for the water system. Ann Lacker is the leader of Barefoot Children Ministries. Barefoot is affiliated with the All Saints Catholic Church in St. Peters, Missouri. With others from Barefoot, Ann has made numerous trips to Belize and has made tremendous contributions to the education and well-being of the people of the Toledo district in Belize. Roger, along with Ann, worked on and provided tremendous leadership on the San Lucas water project and helped bring it to completion.
Barefoot supports an area in the far southern part of Belize. The area is very remote. The people are of Mayan descent and live in villages which are accessible only by dirt roads. Barefoot has built most of the schools and churches in the area and also provides teaching and other support. The people are very poor and mostly do subsistence farming of corn, chickens and vegetables.
In San Lucas, the only source of water was the river. The people drank that water without purification, and diarrhea and parasites were common. A goal during our trip to Belize in January was to try to determine a good source for clean water, free of bacteria and parasites, for San Lucas.
There is a Christian organization in Indiana called New Life International, who partners with other organizations to install water purifiers in remote areas around the world. The purifiers chlorinate the water using just a small amount of salt and electric power. I was aware of this organization because it is near my house in Indiana and my wife had taken her pre-school class on field trips to NLI. In any case, we determined that the NLI purifier was a good solution, but it was a little complicated, because we needed to:
Build platforms to hold the water tanks. Roger led a team, working with the villagers, and built the platforms during a subsequent trip in March earlier this year.
Install a pump in the river and pump the water to the purifier, about 100 yards away up the hill.Power it all by solar since there is no other source of electricity in this village.
Patrick, we were fortunate to find you in March earlier this year. With your help, we figured out how to do the pump, the solar, and the supplies that we would need.
We formed a team which traveled to Belize in June of this year. We took supplies from U.S.A. to the extent that we could and had larger supplies delivered from Belize City, which was about 8 hours away by truck to this remote area. We had people in charge of the solar installation, the pump installation, the purifier, and other construction. People from the village were very involved in the work also.
The work was difficult, but we completed the work during the week in June while we were down there. We provided training on system operation to a few in-charge people and held a dedication ceremony with all the villagers on the last day. My understanding is that the system has been working and that they operate it on a regular basis so have clean, purified water available at all times for the first time in their history. However, communications are difficult, and it is not clear how much people drink this water and to what extent they understand why it is important.
The group is going back in January. We have other work to do in other villages, but while we are there we will conduct a 'Waterpalooza' in San Lucas. This will include training on why it is important to drink clean water as well as re-training on how to operate the system. We will also perform maintenance and resolve problems if there are any.
Patrick, we very much appreciate all your support. We couldn't have done it without you! Thank you!" (Paul Brockmann)