Americans use between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day. Whether taking a hot shower, flushing the toilet, or pouring a glass of water, most of us use our water and don’t even think about it. Yet there are still places in modern society without access to clean water.
For the last several years, a group of missionaries from Walker County has been traveling to the jungles of Honduras to provide clean water and medical care. The group is affiliated with AHMEN, the Alabama Honduras Medical Education Network. AHMEN is an organization that has sponsored at least a dozen trips to this Central American region. With each trip, the missionaries begin to further understand the needs of the people of Honduras.
Initially, AHMEN’s efforts were focused solely on medical issues, but the group soon realized that many of the medical issues were caused by unclean water. “The trip over the last couple of years has morphed into not only a medical team treating the symptoms and dealing with patients, but also providing water filters,” says Joe Downs, a Jasper accountant who travels to Honduras with AHMEN.
AHMEN has concentrated its work in and around the village of Las Marias, and the missionaries have seen their own set of challenges. Water for the AHMEN team had to be transported in five-gallon jugs, which were bulky and difficult to transport. Eventually, the team discovered that water filters could be dispensed to both the team and the residents of Las Marias.
Historically, residents drew water from pools and rivers, or had pumps to access water. But a simple water test conducted by AHMEN indicated that every single source of water contained coliform bacteria—fecal matter—making the water undrinkable.
After gathering evidence, the team at AHMEN concluded that the installation of water filters was the best option for clean water, and began shopping for filters both adequate and economical. The team found that a .1 micron water filter was capable of sorting the water and removing all of the bacteria and parasites. The cost of the filter is around $50.
In April 2016, when the water filters were distributed, recipients were asked to sign a contract stating that the filter would be used regularly and shared with two other families. The next year, use of the filters improved drastically.
Two years ago, a water filter was placed in a Pech Indian village, a three-hour walk from Las Marias. It was the only source of clean water in the village. But more filters are desperately needed in these areas.
AHMEN will sponsor a booth at this year’s Foothills Festival in Jasper. Members of the AHMEN team, including Joe & Burton Downs and Bruce McFadden, team leader for the Las Marias group, will be asking for a minimum donation of $10 for the filters. The team will also conduct a demonstration on how the filters work.
For every $50 donated, AHMEN is able to place a water filter, which can provide clean water for up to three families, in the hands of mothers in the jungle of Honduras. AHMEN will also provide these mothers the education required to maintain the filters.
Across the world a child dies from the complications of water-borne illness every twenty minutes. Your donation will not only provide water for the residents of Honduras; your donation may just save a life. 78
For more information or to make a donation, please contact AHMEN:
Dr. Tom Camp – General Coordinator – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Bowie – Financial Secretary – e-mail: email@example.com
Burton Downs – Contact Person – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 205-275-0304