Several years ago, many of the Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network (AHMEN) teams began to consider expanding their work to include some type of community development to help with sustainability after the various teams go back to their homes. AHMEN is an Advance Special of the North Alabama Conference.
Contaminated water is the number one killer of children worldwide, killing one child every 15 seconds. Mary Guffey, an AHMEN team leader, researched and produced a booklet called “Worms and Germs” in English and Spanish to use as a teaching device.
As AHMEN explored various options to help with the problem supplying clean water, they learned about Sister Lariaine of the organization Water with Blessings. Through her program, three Honduran employees trained in Sawyer Water Filters have in turn trained local women. This three-year relationship has produced positive results and AHMEN hopes to extend the productive relationship.
Michael Franklin, AHMEN’s Río de Agua Viva team leader, wrote the following article for the Water with Blessings newsletter.
"Raistá is a village in La Moskitia, Honduras that sits along a series of barrier islands. Miskito Indians call this remote jungle paradise home. Unfortunately, like most of Honduras, there is very little in the way of clean water or sanitation here.
"Several years ago when our AHMEN medical teams began working in La Moskitia we tested the local water supply and found 100% to be contaminated by E. coli, indicative of fecal contamination. To address this problem, AHMEN partnered with Water With Blessings.
"During our recent mission, Water With Blessings curriculum was taught to about 30 Water Women each day over 3 days. The new Water Women were educated on how to use the filters, how to share their water, and then each Water Woman was 'bonded' to her filter.
"It is truly a fascinating process to watch as Water With Blessings transforms an entire community, within a morning, based on a simple, life-saving technique. The clean water culture they build during this process is why we partner with them.
"To our best estimate, between 2,500 and 3,000 people have been equipped with the tools and training to eliminate dirty water as a health problem in La Moskitia. The news of the training and the filters has spread and many women in the community are asking when we will be back with more.
This is the third time our team has worked with Water With Blessings, and we look forward to our relationship continuing to grow into the future."