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.


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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.


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