Seeing With a Fresh Pair of Eyes

Today, Andrew writes about his team's work providing clean water to the villages of Banteay Meanchey province in Cambodia and also shows photos of the installation process of biosand filters. Enjoy! - Whitney

This week we had the privilege of hosting a team of students from Greenpoint College, Australia.  I always enjoy having visitors, but this week gave me a fresh look at the people we are helping through the eyes of those who have never seen it before. It also gave me some time to test out our new camera. The following pictures are from visits to a couple of the projects I manage: Water for Kids and Water for Families - BioSand Filter.

On Friday, we took them to visit the Water for Kids project at one of the primary schools where we provided clean water supply, water filters, and toilets in 2013. It's amazing seeing the difference from what the school was like last year to now. Before this year, the students typically would scoop out water from a dirty pond to drink when they were thirsty. As a result, they were often getting sick and missing school. They also had no toilets to use at the school, making the area smelly and unsanitary.

Thanks to the team and our supporters, 460 students at this school now have a toilet to use and are enjoying clean, safe water. Their health is better now they are able to attend school more often. The principal told me, "The number of students here has increased by 25% because more and more parents want their children to go to a school that will improve their health and not make them sick."

Cambodian children at a school where Samaritan's Purse works
Some of the students finishing their class for the day

Cambodian children at a school where Samaritan's Purse works
Custom made water bottles that say "Water is Life" along with John 4:14 

Cambodian children at a school where Samaritan's Purse works
Another student with the new water system in the background

Saturday, we took the team to a village where our Water for Families project is installing water filters for households that also are struggling to obtain clean water. The team had a blast learning the more technical process of setting up a new filter and seeing the results. For those who don't know, a BioSand Filter (BSF) is a low cost means of water treatment. The BSF is easy to produce with locally available materials - concrete, sand and PVC pipe. For more technical info on the BSF see the following link.
http://www.cawst.org/en/resources/biosand-filter.

When installing the BSF it is important that our staff check that the sand is properly compacted, cleaned and disinfected prior to use. SP field staff go to house of every beneficiary to train them how to set up, use and maintain the BSF. Since this is a new technology for most people, proper usage is critical to its ability to treat water. To ensure people are satisfied with the filter staff also continue to follow up with each household at least 4 times and up to one year after it is installed.

Villagers in Cambodia where Samaritan's Purse works
Children in the village thirsty for clean water

Feeling the weight of collecting a 20 liter bucket full of dirty water from a contaminated well - a process this family knows very well as it is their only source of water in the dry season.

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
Compacting the sand in the filter

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
Rinsing the new sand with well water

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
Disinfecting the outlet pipe

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
Out starts to come clear water


Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia


Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
Switching out the old bucket for a clean water storage bottle

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
Checking the flow rate (600ml/min or less is recommended for best results)

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
SP staff interviewing the beneficiary 

Samaritan's Purse - biosand filter installation - Cambodia
The joy of clean water!


-Andrew