Monday, July 15, 2019

Clean Water for the World / CIS / University of Toledo engineering students Water Purifier Installation Report

Location: Fe y Alegría School, La Chacra, San Salvador 
Installation Date: March 5, 2019 
Report written by Cameron Clark, Brethren Volunteer Service / CIS volunteer
This Saturday I visited the Fe y Alegría Catholic School in the community of La Chacra, San Salvador with a delegation from the University of Toledo. The delegation was made up of engineering students who have helped design some of the water filters that the CIS water program together with Clean Water for the World provides, so they came to help install their own design at an underprivileged school in this poor community on the outskirts of the city.

We arrived at the school at 9 in the morning and were met by the school principal. We met with him in a conference room and talked about the history of the school and the community’s needs over coffee and snacks. He was very grateful for the delegation’s and the CIS’ support for what he described as a “marginalized community”.

He told us that the school’s enrollment has fallen from a peak of around 1000 students due to violence. The school is currently responsible for the health and safety of 432 students, and they have recently been struggling with a typhoid outbreak because of a clean water shortage in the community. The school also struggles to meet other needs of the community. They are blessed by cooperation with a sisterhood of nuns who run an after school program for numerous students whose parents work late hours.

After all our questions were answered, we toured some of the facilities and examined an existing filter that serves the grade school students before relocating to the kindergarten, a separate facility where we were to install a new water purifier. We found that the kindergarten already had a filter installed, similar in function but different in design from the ones CIS and Clean Water for the World install. The principal explained that this filter often broke down and the company that installed it didn’t often venture into the community for repairs because of safety concerns.

Luis and the delegation got to work replacing the old filter with a more reliable model.

After a few hours’ work, we celebrated a job well

After the installation, the principal brought us to the public water source. Families who don’t have water in their homes get water from a public reservoir fed by a pipeline from a stream up the hill. Like most water in the country, the spring is contaminated, and worse yet, the flow of water has decreased rapidly in the last decade due to climate change, and it can no longer meet the community’s needs on its own.

Finally, we returned to the grade school, where we were all treated to lunch and had a chance to hang out with the students. Some even came to practice their English.

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