|Members of a U.S. church team install a water catchment system on a remote Panamanian island. Helping the team was HCJB Global nurse Miriam Gebb and retired HCJB Global missionary Dr. Ron Guderian.|
Since 1980 HCJB Global’s Community Development department has blended local vision and hard work, using both domestic and foreign expertise, to improve the health conditions of remote Ecuadorian communities. In recent years HCJB Global Hands has expanded its clean water outreach to under-served people elsewhere in the world.
Last September Ecuadorian engineers César Cortez and Alfredo León traveled to Cap-Haitien, Haiti. It was Cortez’s second trip in 2011 to build relationships and confidence with communities that have expressed interest in improving their water supply.
Working with a local community, both men gathered information and conducted topographical surveys to design an improved community water supply.
|Ghanaian children in West Africa rejoice over a new village well.|
In Larty, Ghana, a local partner, Theovision, now offers the community clean water from a functioning well, according to Jeremy Maller, an HCJB Global engineer who says at least 1,000 people are benefiting from the well. Describing the well-drilling effort, Sub-Saharan Africa Director Lee Sonius said, “There were a lot of problems with breakdowns, earth caving in, etc. It took months to put it in, but it was finalized.”
The world’s disaster zones demand clean water too, according to Sheila Leech, HCJB Global’s vice president of international healthcare. She said the mission shipped 80 Sawyer water filters to Pakistan following the heavy flooding last year and “they were used by families who were severely affected.”
In early 2010 an Ecuador-based surgical team responded to the needs of victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As team members treated the injured at the Baptist Haiti Mission Hospital outside Port-au-Prince, British water engineer Martin Harrison set up a Water Missions International filtration plant to purify water from a nearby fishpond for use at the hospital compound.
|Martin Harrison shows the water filtration unit used to purify fishpond water after Haiti’s January 2010 quake. This was critical to keeping a hospital functional.|
“The filter was essential to keeping the hospital functional,” Harrison explained. “We came within one hour of having a non-functional hospital because water was running out!”
Just as the Vozandes Community Development team’s efforts emphasize community involvement and empowerment in Ecuador, so too Cortez and León are seeking to guide a Haitian effort instead of eclipsing it with foreign intervention.
“A key element is relationships,” said Cortez. “Everything is based on relationships—not only with God, but with churches, with leaders and with the people in these communities. So the best way to pray for us is to ask for God’s help in these relationships.”