Buena Agua’s inaugural trip to Nicaragua kicked off on November 7th as our team of four (Ryan, Sean, Tim and Adam) headed down for a week with the goal of providing the most basic of needs, clean water, to those in need. With us, we had equipment to build 100 water filtrations systems which provide 100,000 gallons of clean water over the course of four years to each of the families. We arrived in the nation’s capital, Managua around 1pm and met up with our local partner, Alfredo.
Our trip started with a two hour ride in the back of Alfredo’s truck from the Airport in Managua to the small village of Cangrejal. Alfredo warned us as we took off through the city, “Watch the bags when we stop at stoplights. People will run up to the truck and try to steal them.” And just like that, our adventure was on.
We made a quick stop in Rivas to pick up some last minute supplies, and grab some snacks before making our way to the village. When we arrived we set up camp at Alfredo’s farm which is right off of Lake Nicaragua. The lake is large enough that it houses an island with two volcanoes on it. The lake is also the predominate, although unclean, source of drinking water in the area. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful campsite.
The next morning we woke up early to prep the buckets for distribution. Each family received a bucket for collecting dirty water, PVC materials and tubing to run the water from the bucket to the filter, the filter itself, and a second bucket for collecting the clean water. Each bucket holds 23 liters of water and can filter one liter every 5 minutes. That provides a family of 6 with enough clean water to last an entire day without having to refill the bucket.
Alfredo had identified our recipients prior to our arrival and had organized three distribution meetings in three villages over the course of the next two days. The communities we visited did not even have addresses, let alone water filtration systems. Instead, the families gather their water from rivers and lakes in the surrounding area. At these meetings we would show the filter in action, demonstrate how to build the system, and most importantly, explain the benefit of the filters. To demonstrate just how effective the filter is we would grab a big ball of mud and mix it into the dirty water to turn the water jet black. It was a pretty powerful moment when the families saw crystal clear water come out the other end.
From trucks to boats to ox carts, we made our way all over the place. It may not have always been the most comfortable but it certainly made for a great adventure!
Everything worked out as planned and we were able to give out all 100 filters to families in need. We were able to reach people as young as infants to a woman who was 108 years old. It was amazing to see the gratitude from all the people we talked to and to hear how much this was going to improve their lives.
2015 has been an amazing year and we could not be any happier with our first trip. We would like to thank everyone for their support over the last 6 months. We had an ambitious goal to take our first trip so soon after starting the organization and it was only possible because of your generosity. Having been down once we realize how large the demand for clean water in Nicaragua truly is, and we plan on doing everything in our power to alleviate that need. Plans for the next trip are already in the works and we are very excited for what the future holds. From the 2015 team- THANK YOU!