RIVER HEBERT Local resident Pam Harrison was part of a 13-person Rotary team that recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to work with Haitian families who are seeking a new life working in the sugar cane plantations. The purpose was to install bio-sand water filtration systems in their family homes. This system was invented and designed by a Canadian, Dr. David Manz, an agricultural engineer in Calgary, Alta.
Every day began with a trip to a local hospital in La Ramana, where a truck was loaded with the bio-sand water filters and all the support materials, then the team would drive several hours to the batey. A batey is the name given to the community where the families live and is owned by the sugar cane company.
There are over 400 bateys and the team worked in five. There was a small school, several small homes and a water tap in the centre of the batey. Every day the women come to the tap with white five-gallon buckets and carry the water home, two buckets equals 10 gallons and they make seven or eight trips per day. This water is used to cook the family meal, wash their clothes, clean their little one-room homes and bath. They live in extreme poverty but make every effort to be clean. The team had no way to know if the water was safe but it was a big concern to many. The bio-sand water filtration systems will secure safe water and they are easy to maintain.
(For the full story, see the March 5 issue of The Citizen)