Sunday, August 14, 2011
Instructions from a master teacher
When we finished our week of clinics in San Rafael Cedros last February, we gave 80 Sawyer Point One water filters to the community, in care of Iris Alas. Last week Iris invited me to a meeting at which she was handing over about 15 of the filters to women who had completed the necessary steps - they'd come to a first meeting where they had learned about the importance of clean water, and about how much it would save the family in medical costs, someone in the family had been tested for parasites and bacteria at the local health center, and they were ready to spend $5 or $10 (depending on means) to defray the cost of the buckets, which the municipality had purchased.
We met at Iris' house, and for the next hour I had the pleasure of watching a master teacher at work. First, Iris went over the details: starting the treatment for parasites once everyone in the family is using the clean water; using the clean water to wash hands and food; keeping the bucket of clean water covered and off the floor; sending the kids to school with bottles of clean water; making refrescos with clean water; backwashing the filter regularly to keep it clean. That's Iris at right in the top photo, and also in that photo, because I couldn't resist, is the family cat, occupying, like every good cat, the exact center of the space. Everyone, I'm here to tell you, carefully walked around the cat, who took this as her due.
Then three CIS volunteers showed how to put the filter and buckets together, and we watched the tap water flow into the bottom bucket, and then each of the women handed over her family member's lab test and the money, and each received two buckets and the filter kit.
It was a joy to see this being done so carefully because, as Iris says, otherwise the filters wouldn't be well used, or they might be sold or be forgotten. These women had to go through some work and pay some money to get their filters, and because of that they're much likelier to use them for the health of their families - and Iris and the local youth who get scholarships from CIS will be checking up in six months.