Saturday, September 7, 2013

Changing of the Guard (water guard)- Tiva Water Filters

On Wednesday of this week Manuel, Tomas, Enrique (Quique), Cesar and I (Kemmel) travelled to Xejox and Chuchuca about 2.5 hours from Chichi to change out some water filters for families in the ABC program.  About half of the families needed a replacement filter cartridge so we took advantage to switch the families to a new water filter.  In the past we have been using the HELPS water filter systems which is a ceramic, activated charcoal filter which works great.  We asked the families how they liked the current HELPS filter and the response was an overwhelming "Utz!" which means good or awesome.  We also asked if they have seen a decrease in gastrointestinal problems in the children and the response was the same - "Utz!"

So we are not changing filters due to not working well, but rather for longevity and convenience.  The TIVA water filter has been donated to TSI by some generous donors and has a lifespan of at least 5 years, so we have no revolving cost of changing out the water filter cartridges.  The TIVA water filter is a super-fine sand based water filter system.  Before placing anything in the field we try it ourselves first, so Enrique and the Dunham's have been trying and the results have been positive (or you could say negative as no new GI issues).  The TIVA Filter was Enrique's first filter and his family is more than happy with the outcome.  It is exciting to see him explain how well it works and he is no pushover.  He is a an army veteran who likes things in order and working well!

Manuel giving the first explanation of the filter

During the demonstation

Atentive crowd - 53 families! 53 water filters

Showing people the superfine sand - seeing is believing

More seeing is believing

Tomas answering questions

And the sand is added to the first filter!

Prepping 53 filters

The common stoic look...

Each family turned in the old so we can save for future use.  Many had changed from white to a light tan which is a result of the smoke from the kitchens impregnating the plastic.  Many still use open fires for cooking in this area, so unfortunately it gives us a reality check to understand what their lungs look like and why women have Chronic Pulmonary Disease as the get older and also why pneumonia continues to be the #1 reason for death in the area.

Checking the list to ensure we do not miss anyone..

We had each of the fathers or mothers (if they were able) put their own filters together in groups of 5 families to each of us.  Then many of the men stepped up and helped the rest.  Community in action!

Cesar in action

Local men taking over the job.

We also met with the parents and the ABC children regarding oral hygiene and talked about the importance of following the techniques given by the dentists to ensure long lasting teeth.  Even many of the parents asked when we would come back for dental cleanings as they wanted their name on the list. 

As talking is not enough, we also took action and had each child brush their teeth and then we gave them a couple drops of dye to see how they did.  Many had to go back and brush some more to get rid of food still remaining on the teeth, but overall they did well and some did very well the first time.  Most everyone cam back the second time with clean teeth with no dye, so we used the example to show the parents that it may be a good idea to send the children back to brush a second time at least one time per day.

Unfortunately, no photos of the dental practice - we get involved and forget about it.

All in a all a good day.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

great update ! Good to see such high level of interest and involvement.