Before I begin, let me first clear something up. I'm sorry to report that there will be no stop over in Winterpeg. As tempting as your beer offers are, I just couldn't convince the airline to take a detour between Seattle and Vancouver. Now, if you were to include a beer for the pilot, we might be able to arrange something. Alternately, we could hitchhike to Alberta or Saskatchewan if you'd be willing to meet us halfway.
I spent this week working on filter installation. On Monday, Chad and I traveled to a city called Panobo to deliver a filter to a man named Edwin that Matt introduced us to. Panobo is a small city that's about an hour outside of Davao. In Edwin's community there are about 1000 families, none of whom have access to clean water. At this point, everybody pays to have their drinking water delivered to them. A quick survey of the area tells me that many of these families cannot easily afford such a luxury, but are left with no choice. We hope to work with Edwin to help him set up a small business in Panobo so that he can supply these families with a water filter. Imagine the financial burden that could be lifted if a family could buy one water filter and never have to worry about paying for water again.
Monday's installation went okay, but it took longer than I had hoped. Without getting too technical, the flow rate was much too slow, which meant the sand was too dirty. I know that sounds weird, but after spending some time on the site cleaning the sand, we were able to get a better flow rate. End of the day, I think the filter will work out just fine for them. I told them they could start to drink the water at the beginning of February. At that point I realized that I put a lot of faith in these filters. It could really mess with their health if it doesn't work the way it's supposed to. At the end of the day, I just have to trust the people who designed the filter, and the fact that this technology is in use all over the world. I also have to trust that the Lord enabled us to build it properly and install it correctly.
On Thursday we were able to deliver our second filter, this time in New Carmen. This installation went a lot smoother than the first. The flow rate was perfect right away. We delivered it to a man named Manolo and his family. Manolo is one of the community leaders at New Carmen, so he was a natural choice for the first filter. My hope is that every home in New Carmen will have a filter by the end of the year. The water they have been drinking is borderline acceptable; many children complain of diarrhea. Sometimes that water source runs dry, forcing them to drink water that is significantly worse. We can fix that!
Getting to New Carmen is lots of fun. We get to throw the truck into four wheel drive and do a bit of off-roading. Joe was kind enough to supply us with some straps to keep the filter in place on the bumpy road.
Chad has been a great help with the installations and such. He and I are really looking forward to a very productive 2008. We have more contacts than we can handle right now, and each week we meet more people who practically beg us for filters in their area. Last night I sat with Joe and studied a map of Mindanao. It's a big island, but I think with some careful planning and a lot of hard work we could make a difference in a lot of lives.
Joe has been a big help too. He and I spent time together this week reorganizing all of our tools and such. We have turned his backyard into a pretty nice little workshop. We now have all the tools sitting on a shelf or hanging on the wall. The canopy we build last month is a big blessing too, making it much easier to work in the hot sun and making it possible to work while it's raining. I bought a dolly this week too, which makes moving the filters a much easier chore. It also serves as a fun toy for children to play with while we install a filter in their home.
Gotta go now. Chad and I are delivering another filter this afternoon. I leave you with a few pictures of Chad and I doing the installation at New Carmen. I've also included a couple of photos of our backyard workshop.