Trust the water

Trust the water

The door in the back of the bus keeps opening as we are driving. I’m sitting closest to the door so it’s naturally me that has to hold the door closed to avoid killing the guy on the bike right behind us.  

We are on our way to a village called Santo Pablo outside of Ormoc City on the island called Leyte in the Philippines.With us we have relief goods, but also a few water filtration systems that was donated to us just the day before. We know that clean water is hard to get and I have seen people chose Coca-Cola over water quite a few times because at least coke isn’t full of bacteria.

As we arrive the entire community has gathered outside to greet us. They have a big sign saying:” Welcome Brothers and Sisters. Thank you for the relief goods!”

People are already lining up for the bags of rice, noodles and sardines. Some of the guys start handing out the bags while others are setting up for the “water show”.

After every family has a bag of food two of our guys starts an illustration of the water filters.

It’s the first time our team does a water filtration illustration, but we know from the people that donated the systems to us, that it is very important to win peoples trust. If we don’t convince people that the filter is capable of cleaning dirty water the system won’t be used and it will go to waste. In other words – we won’t be able to provide clean water for them.

The guys pour tap water into a clear bottle and mix mud and soil into water. Then they show it to all the people standing around. Everyone is looking at the brown mud water. They pour the water into a bucket that is connected to the filtration system and out comes the clearest filtered water. The boys hand the clean filtered water to an old man and ask him to drink it. The crowd is laughing when he shakes his head and makes a nervous face. One of the guys from the team then takes a big sip of the water. Silence… Then another guy from the team drinks from the bottle. He sticks out his thumb and says: “It tastes good!” – still silence.

All of a sudden the old man grabs the bottle out of the hands of my teammate and chucks half of the bottle until someone else in the crown takes it from him to try the water as well. The kids in the crowd starts to cheer and jump and they all want to bottle of clean water. We had won their trust and we know the water filters will be used.

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