Clean water on tap

19 Jan, 2018 :: Barranquilla, Colombia

A rural community without regular access to clean water has received water purifiers from Logos Hope.

The 21,000 residents of Santa Lucia, two hours’ drive away from Barranquilla, were hit by a devastating flood seven years ago. The river burst its banks and water came as high as the overhead electricity cables. Farms lost everything as crops were destroyed, animals died and water sources became contaminated.  

A church has been reaching out to the community by helping to meet practical needs. Logos Hope sent a team of volunteers to add to the church’s efforts by supplying water filters, testing people’s eyesight and giving out free reading glasses.

“People gave up,” said Rigoberto Ramirez, the pastor of Christian Community Growing with Love Church. “Santa Lucia is one of the most impoverished places. People suffer from malnutrition and poor health, there’s violence… Some older people’s hearts are hard; they have become selfish and are not united – but we are working with the youth to teach a different mindset, so they won’t rely on handouts. We hope to generate employment for them in the longer term,” he explained.

“I cleaned their 500 and 250-litre tanks for collecting water,” said Pascal Geiselmann (Switzerland) “And we arranged it to use as a water purification station. You could tell that some people were sceptical about getting something for free, but as we explained how to use the water filters, they were happy.”

The ship’s crew gave out 160 filters, for use with tanks in six strategic areas. Responsible people were instructed in how to clean and maintain the filters and will oversee their neighbours as they bring containers to fill on a daily basis, to take water for drinking and cooking.

Logos Hope has given resources they need and we have had commitments that they will be distributed responsibly,” said Pastor Ramirez. “We hope this will be something that teaches the community how to live together, helping one another.”

The area is still prone to flooding, which the volunteers witnessed in a heavy rain storm. A sewer channel runs down the centre of the main street, which becomes a muddy river when it rains. The team took shelter in the church to test more than 200 people’s eyesight; distributing reading glasses as well as UV-protective sunglasses to those who work outdoors. So many people came that they couldn’t all be seen in one afternoon. “They were so happy to be able to read clearly with their new glasses!” smiled Pascal.

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Barranquilla, Colombia

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