It takes a lot of time, work, planning, organization, patience and prayer to get our filters into the family homes.
The entire process takes 4-7 months and begins in Belmont, Michigan where the filter parts are produced at a plant. This usually takes a few weeks, excluding any unforeseen malfunctions or technical errors. Other parts like tubing, the spigot, and sand are ordered from other vendors and everything is sent to Knoxville. Here, our experienced assembly team puts all the parts together, measures and bags the sand, and packages the filters to be shipped on a pallet. In each shipping container we can fit 1,080 filters.
In the meantime, our team is collaborating with our transportation company to settle on details like pick-up date, price, legal documentation, and coordinating with our in-country team to pick up the filters at the port.
Filters going to Guatemala only take a a few weeks (max) to arrive at the port, while filters going to Uganda can take 4-6 weeks. Once they are in country, it’s a waiting game. We hope to get through customs quickly, but you never know what is going to happen.
After teams get their hands on the filters they immediately go to a warehouse (In Uganda, TivaWater owns the warehouse. In Guatemala, we use the Vine International warehouse). These are the distribution points for filters.
Next, communities and families in need of filters are identified and then filters are loaded onto a truck and taken to the area for distribution. Sometimes the distribution is home to home and other times there is a group training. It all depends on the specific project. Every family is trained on how to use and maintain the filter and the importance of drinking clean water.
And that, in a nutshell, is how we go from start to finish!
This past summer, TivaWater delivered filters to a small community in Guatemala known as El Esfuerzo. Our TivaWater manager, Diego, heard that the government has never been to the community and has no desire to help them. Therefore, he decided to begin visiting them and learn about their needs. Unfortunately, what he encountered during his time there was harrowing.
El Esfuerzo does not have power, safe water to drink, healthcare, schools, all the homes are in really bad condition, and most children are malnourished.
This community is located in the jungle, making it a very treacherous trip. The road is horrible and there is no way to walk by yourself- you must go in a group.
People of this community had never seen any kind of filter before because they are so far removed from society. They were all incredibly thankful to receive filters. Although we know this is barely scratching the surface to the myriad of problems this community faces, we hope this will bring some health and healing to families through clean water and the love of Christ.
We wanted to share this particular story for a few reasons: to expose the dire living conditions people experience in Guatemala, our dedication to serving the most vulnerable, and the ways that your dollars are truly helping the marginalized. Thank you for your continued support.
Ok, so maybe we are a little bias on this one. But hey, can you blame us? Besides, this is the perfect gift for the person who has it all or would rather use 100% of their Christmas to help others in need. $100 provides a family with a TivaWater filter- giving them clean water for over 5 years! Donate a filter in someone's honor and we will send you a donation card, photo and bio of the family for you to gift to your loved one. Ready to send a filter? Click here!
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Bukasa, Kampala, Uganda: Last week, TivaWater distributed 220 filters to families in Bukasa, a community located outside of Kampala. About 3,000 families live in Bukasaand 80% of them are of Rwandanese origin. Most are from the Hutu Tribe, a group that originally escaped the Rwandan war by going to the Congo in 1994 and then reunited in various refugee camps in Uganda. Those that stayed have rebuilt their lives in Bukasa.
Some still reside in the refugee camps, which has been “an enriching and tough experience” as expressed by one of the residents. There is still a language barrier (cannot speak the language of Uganda: Lugandan), so many residents do odd jobs, however, others have been able to start their own small businesses.
About 80% of the residents get their water from the tap, but it is not safe to drink and must be boiled. The rest collect their water from an open well. It is expensive to boil water and oftentimes families cannot afford to buy the coal necessary to boil every time. This leaves many of them, especially children, sick with various waterborne illnesses. The community of Bukasa was incredibly grateful for the TivaWater filters. We did not have enough filters for every family this time around, but they all pleaded we bring more. We will continue to support this community as we raise support.
Water source: Simu river
For three years, some residents of Kimuli have enjoyed drinking water from TivaWater filters. They express their love for how good their water tastes now. The village health center reports families with TivaWater filters in their homes are much healthier than families without one.
Here are two stories of families impacted by TivaWater filters:
Michael and Peter
"This water is very sweet!" Michael and his son Peter (right) use their TivaWater filter for everything: cooking, cleaning, washing, and drinking. Before they had their filter, they drank water straight from the river, which made them very sick and cause them to miss work and school. Now, they are much healthier and are able to lead better, more productive lives. Peter just finished school and aspires to earn his college degree. He plays soccer and during our visit was very curious to learn how the filter actually purifies the water.
Above: Micheal (left) and Peter speak with Jake, our International Business Manager, about the effectiveness of their filter. Below: We partner with ChildFund in Uganda to provide filters to families. Michael and Peter received their filter through ChildFund. As you can see, it is decorated- the family takes great pride in their filter.
Jacqulyn noticed a big difference in her family's health once they started using their TivaWater filter and now they use it for everything. They also love how the water tastes! Jacqulyn shared that she has only ever washed her baby in TivaWater water. She says her whole family is healthy now because of TivaWater.
Lives are being saved and changed because of TivaWater filters. Your contributions matter. Please consider making a gift to help a family in need: www.tivwater.com/give
Families in Ajidak have had their filters for two years. They typically collect their water from a borehole, however, it sometimes breaks for months at a time forcing them to drink the water from their local lake. Both sources are contaminated and dirty, which is why TivaWater filters are vital to the health of a family. Julius has a very large family and they all drink the filtered water. They absolutely love the taste and have noticed a significant improvement in their health since drinking from their TivaWater filter. To show their gratitude, they gifted our team with two chickens, which was an extravagant act of appreciation.
Above: Our team being given two chickens in an extravagant act of appreciation.
Below: Julius and his wife with their filter
Your contributions to TivaWater provide families with access to safe drinking water, which is life-saving and life-changing. You can make a gift here. We encourage you to consider becoming part of our monthly giving team. Those that are committed to supporting TivaWater are truly the lifeblood of this organization. Take a look at different giving options.
Water source: local borehole
Some families of Atekwa have been using their TivaWater filters for a year and a half and love that the water now tastes good. The water source is not only dirty and rife with typhoid, but emits an unpleasant odor. Those without a TivaWater filter commonly filter their water using a cloth and pot- a method that causes many to become ill.
Charles' big family, including their baby, only drink water from their TivaWater filter. Since receiving their TivaWater filter, Charles reports that his entire family has become healthy. They no longer come down with typhoid, giardia, and other waterborne disease. Not only does their filter remove all the dangerous bacteria, it removes the bad smell and taste. Charles and his family are incredibly grateful for their filter and want everyone in their community to receive one.
"I want every family in my community to have a TivaWater filter."
Stella is married and has one child. Their family of three collect water from the local borehole and use their filter water for everything. Before receiving a TivaWater filter, they drank their water straight from the borehole after running it through a cloth. Because cloth cannot purify water, they often came down with typhoid- forcing them to spend precious resources on medication. Now, with their improved health they are living happier, health lives, and saving money.
Central Baptist Church of Johnson City sent a team of 42 to Rincon De Pacaya in Guatemala this past June. They did amazing work by meeting many needs of the community. The team delivered 50 TivaWater filters in the village homes. During these home visits, doctors and nurses came along to treat the families for parasites, which gave everyone the opportunity to start with a clean gastro system utilizing clean water. The team was careful to take the time to train each family on proper usage and maintenance to ensure the longevity of effectiveness of the filters. Their in-country contacts will do follow-up visits to ensure that they are working properly and have the chance to answer any questions.
In addition to filter deliveries, they set up medical and dental clinics and saw an average of 250 patients each day, did daily Bible School and meals for 160 children, built beds for 25 homes, passed out 500 Luci lights in areas without electricity, and distributed over 500 pounds of food and loved on children.
Jim Harlan, Guatemala Missions Director, says: “Thanks to TivaWater for making this needed ministry possible. We look forward to placing filters again in 2018.”
We hope you are encouraged to go out and use your passions, talents, and giftings to be "on mission for the world."
Make a difference in the lives of others on World Water Day 2017!
Let us know what you decide to do tomorrow by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and we will send you a free TivaWater sticker for participating!
If people have wells then why do they need a TivaWater filter?
Good question. Many people think wells and in-home filters are an either/or option for families. If they have access to a well, they don’t need a filter, and if they have a filter, they don’t need wells. However, this isn’t true…. let us explain.
Above: children and woman collect water for their families from a well.
Wells are important because they give people access to water and it is typically safe to drink. Further, more wells mean that people have less distance to walk to collect their water (this saves time, money and increases safety of the people collecting water). But this doesn’t solve the whole problem. Even if people drink water from wells, they have a big risk of still getting sick.
In many developing nations, water is collected in jerrycans. Many times, the jerrycan is dirty and contains dangerous bacteria- so even if the water goes in clean to begin with- it ends up getting recontaminated. Another huge risk is that water is often stored in open containers in the home. This is a major risk factor for recontamination because people use cups and dip their cup/hand down into the open water. Hands are very dirty and when they dip a cup into the water, it’s contaminated all over again. In fact, it is estimated that happens 50% of the time.
Above: girl carrying water home in her jerrycan.
Below: storage pot for water
Unfortunately, wells can also become contaminated over time. This isn’t only a risk for “open wells”, but closed ones as well. Researchers aren’t totally sure exactly why this happens, but their best guess is because people congregate around the wells, so do livestock and other animals, and eventually, somehow, bacteria makes its way down into the well.
To make sure water is safe to drink, water needs to be cleaned and safely stored in the home, at the point of use. (source: The World Health Organization).
As you can see, it is important to have both access to water in addition to a method that cleans water in the home, which is kept in a safe (closed) storage container.
And that is exactly what the TivaWater filter does- cleans the water at home and keeps it safe in the container!