When I have the opportunity to travel to the field, I get excited about seeing new installations and meeting with people who will receive safe water for the first time in their community.
On my most recent trip, I was caught up in the anticipation as we set up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the inauguration of one of our newest projects with Food for the Hungry located in a community known as Tamarindo in the Dominican Republic. The new project was made possible by a community member who generously donated some land where a building could be constructed to house the water treatment equipment. As children prepared their Christmas performance as part of the celebration, the people were smiling and waiting with anticipation. They could hardly wait to see how the equipment worked and to fill up their new 5-gallon bottles of filtered water. I felt especially blessed to be a part of this celebration.
During this same trip to the Dominican Republic I had an opportunity to visit a project that has been in operation since the end of 2004. The water store is located at La Hermosa Assembly of God church in Cotui. I was simply amazed by what I saw and learned from Marcus, the administrator of the water store. Marcus explained that in addition to serving over 40,000 gallons of water per month, the church also donates water to the fire department, the police department, a hospital, and to the very poor.
Marcus showed me a document with data that compared other water stores in the city of Cotui and how much each charged for a 5-gallon bottle, the delivery, for bottles at local kiosks at corner stores, and for smaller bottles. This was part of his market analysis and he talked about his plan to promote sales at the La Hermosa water store where their prices are lower as they want to make water more affordable. He reported that they have had independent testing performed by doctors. Those doctors testified that the store has the highest quality water in the city.
After the tour of the water distribution room and the water production room, Marcus then showed us the classroom where a dozen computers sat. Until recently, deaf children from the community came there to receive computer instruction and had engaged in other forms of learning. Unfortunately, the special needs teacher who worked there had moved to Santo Domingo– too far away to commute daily to continue his instruction.
I met Marcus’ dad, the pastor of the church. He and Marcus talked about their plans and purposes for growing the operation. They shared their desire to re-open the deaf school and hire a new special education teacher to once again serve the deaf children in the community.
From a small neighborhood like that of Tamarindo to a project in a larger city like that of Cotui, we see God’s hand in blessing people with safe water and the love of Jesus Christ. We see great hope and potential in Tamarindo and we see the fruit and long-term impact of La Hermosa in Cotui. We work together with partners new and old on the ground, and with sponsors like you to see this come to be. As we begin 2017, we wanted to share this story of new hope and sustained blessing.