October 20, 2017
We started out early, knowing today was going to be a big day for drilling buckets. After we dropped off our two sons at school, we picked up Paulo, a high school student, who has been volunteering a lot of his time to Water Filters for PR. With lots of excitement and anticipation, we headed back to Palmar, Moca. It was a great morning! People were gathered at the watering hole- chit-chatting, filling buckets, and waiting for us! We drilled 30 more buckets! We met a wonderful woman named Doris, and her kind mother who were so happy to give a “testimonio,” or testimonial, regarding their personal hardships with collecting water and why they were so happy to receive a bucket filter. I have included those videos with this blog post.
In the afternoon, we picked up Leo and Felix from school and headed over to the Coast Guard hangar to meet a caravan of Coasties ready to deliver relief supplies to people in the mountains of Utuado. It was an impressive caravan – 19 cars and a huge trailer packed with food and water. We intended to tag along to see if we could make bucket filters. It was an interesting and long drive – 3 hours one way. The scenery was dreary. Once lush mountains were washed with a winter hue. Traces of landslides looked as if a giant went sledding, landed hard on the highway, and made the surrounding earth collapse under heavy impact.
We noticed many people collecting water directly off the highway from manantiales, or springs. We stopped at these springs to ask people if they were interested in a free bucket filter. Surprisingly, our enthusiasm was met with skepticism. I realized at that moment that we were not well represented. We didn’t have anyone from the community with us to tout the importance of our mission; we didn’t have a trusted community member to introduce us. We stood out as strangers offering strange contraptions. This was the first-time people declined our offer for free filters. We drilled only 4 buckets on this weary trip. While we felt somewhat defeated, we were able to reflect on our approach during the long drive home. From now on, we must always have a trusted community member to represent us. It is imperative. Reflection is good – we will do better next time.