Trip Includes Collaboration with Public Health Students from Calvin University

We are thrilled to have Sr. Larraine back in the office after spending more than 3 weeks, from April 30 to May 24, in Honduras with our country team and with students from a Calvin University public health class and their professors.

Larraine first traveled to Honduras in 2003 with a Methodist medical brigade and enjoys wonderful connections with many people and organizations there. She likens the experience of traveling to Honduras as best described by the Spanish word, “encuentro,” meaning “encounter.” Larraine shared that the Honduran people value the experience of making a pilgrimage and seeing the daily realities of other people while gaining a profoundly personal experience affecting one’s own perspective. For Water With Blessings, that means that our holy place is the place of poor people and “meeting Jesus among the poor” as Sister Larraine describes.

Honduras is currently classified as a Level 3 country for elevated levels of COVID-19 infections. Sr. Larraine is pleased to report that our entire team in Honduras is maintaining their Water Women training activities and community outreach as they are fully vaccinated and boosted. Even during the height of the pandemic, when the country team experienced down time of nearly 5 months, Water With Blessings continued to provide stipends to them for food and values their steadfast service.

Student Experiences: Our friends and mission partners at Sawyer Products recommended that a class of Calvin University students and their three professors go on the trip to Honduras to observe Sr. Larraine and the country team in providing best practices for implementing household, point-of-use filtering technology using the Sawyer PointONE filter. The students and faculty traveled from their campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan and arrived in Honduras a few days after Larraine on May 28. Calvin University is a Reformed Christian Church with deep Dutch influences.

The students learned that more than 40% of the Honduran people live in poverty and they experienced the same challenges of navigating daily life while experiencing water shortages, electricity outages and inconsistent internet service. The Calvin students focused their studies on water safety and water access in Honduras.

Students quickly learned that Hondurans often rely on bottled water and nearly every household has a cistern or tank to store water since water from municipal water systems may only be available one day per week in poor neighborhoods. Even clean water in hospitals is not guaranteed and these facilities may have wells in addition to having pipes and taps connecting to a municipal water treatment center.

The Calvin students met with our Honduran team, led by Denis, and the first group of Water Women with 14 years of experience filtering water and training other women. Some of the Calvin students speak Spanish and shared small craft projects with children that attended training sessions with their mothers. In addition to observing and supporting the training sessions for Water Women, the students visited municipal and hospital water treatment systems and discovered just how unreliable and typically unsafe public water sources can be as they travel from a treatment center to a household tap.

Sister Larraine’s expertise in safe water practices and fluency in Spanish were highlighted when she appeared on a Catholic TV program managed by the local Archdiocese to talk about Water With Blessings and Water Women. The local Catholic newspaper also interviewed Larraine and Denis for a news story.

Larraine plans to return to Honduras in Fall 2022 and encourages supporters and advocates to contact her if they would like to travel with her for a 10-day trip. She promises that making a pilgrimage to Honduras “will change something in you.”

Future Target for Water Women Training: Future plans in Honduras include providing filters and training in a new and very remote area called La Moskitia Department. Regarded as the “Amazon jungle” of Honduras, there are no roads into this department. The Platano River helps create a big watershed and it is known as a very biodiverse region. It is home to Moskitia Indians in Puerto Lampira. With a population of 102,000, people typically live in houses built on stilts. Daily life in this remote region includes little access to healthcare so providing opportunities for people to have safe water is a fundamental need to support better health and development for children and their families.

Our goal is to equip 7,200 Water Women over five years in La Moskitia. For Year One of this new project in Honduras, we will work to gain philanthropic support of $142,000 for equipping 1,800 new Water Women and to cover costs for training and travel. People traveling in this region rely on motorized canoes to navigate these wet and often swampy areas. You can help support this mission with your gift of support today.

Volunteer Designs New Quilted Filter Cover
Peg Hornsby and Friends Create 108 Protective Covers

Peg Hornsby, an art teacher and Water With Blessings volunteer in Indiana, has designed an innovative new filter cover using a quilted pattern. Following a trip to Haiti a decade ago, Peg decided that she wanted to become more involved with an organization making a difference in Haiti and found Water With Blessings. After frustrated attempts to crochet filter covers, she became inspired to design a quilted filter cover instead.

Using one of our filter cover forms, Peg created a quilting pattern using fold-over elastic. Peg and her three friends recently collaborated to quilt 108 filter covers. She is continuing to refine her directions and design for a quilted filter cover. Peg’s friend manages a quilting shop and has agreed to host a future filter cover-crafting event at her store. We will share Peg’s design on our website and directions for assembling mini-kits for quilted filter covers. Thanks, Peg, for your efforts to help Water Women and God’s Thirsty Children.

Sr. Larraine Participates at World Water Summit in Houston
Annual Rotary International Meeting Focuses on Need for Safe Water

Our Executive Director, Sr. Larraine Lauter, participated at the 14 annual World Water Summit on June 3 in Houston, Texas. Participants discussed the role of WASH–Water, Sanitation and Hygiene–in promoting health and stopping the transmission of infectious disease, including polio.

Larraine recently presented to the Rotary E-Club for WASH and members had encouraged Larraine to participate at the World Water Summit. Our mission partner and filter manufacturer, Sawyer Products, exhibited at the World Water Summit as part of the Rotary International meeting. Larraine will share her experiences at the World Water Summit in next week’s e-news. We are eager to secure new partnerships to support the training of 300 new Water Women in Uganda in collaboration with an all-women Rotary Club there.

Call to Action: Are You a Member of a Rotary Club?
Water With Blessings has begun partnering with more Rotary Clubs on partnerships to bring clean water and filter-training to Uganda and train 300 Water Women there. We are working with a Rotary Club in Uganda that is composed entirely of women. Larraine was recently invited to present to the Rotary E-WASH Club that focuses on providing resources and training in countries for WASH—Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. The Rotary members were impressed with our training model and Larraine was invited to join the E-Club and encouraged to attend the World Water Summit, part of the annual Rotary International meeting, in Houston on June 3.

If you are a Rotary member or know a Rotary Club that will consider partnering with Water With Blessings, please e-mail us at info@waterwithblessings.org or call us at 502-749-5492. We have already begun scheduling meetings with area Rotary Clubs and have fielded inquiries from Rotary members across the country, including Santa Cruz, California.

Uganda needs you!

Join us in our newest initiative to bring 300 life-saving water filters to Uganda.

Rotary Clubs around the United States will welcome speakers on the need for clean water in Uganda. Providing access to clean water is a Rotary Club priority. They just need to hear our voices.

Will you lend your voice by offering to speak about our mission at a future Rotary Club meeting? You can also share our mission with friends and family involved with Rotary.

Just contact Sr. Judy at judy@waterwithblessings.org.

Calendar of Events

July 27: VIP Reception at The Jeffersonian for sponsors of the InterTribal Water Gathering to meet Navajo artist, educator, actor and military veteran Roger Willie and view his artwork. Contact us for details and learn how you, your business or nonprofit can become a sponsor. Sponsors may enjoy The Monarchs concert after the VIP reception.

July 27, 7-9 pm: Concert and dance at The Jeffersonian featuring The Monarchs benefitting the InterTribal Water Gathering planned for October 6-9, 2022. Ticket price will include finger foods, cash bar and free parking.

September 16-18: Gaslight Festival in J-town. Water With Blessings will have exhibit space. Please contact us about volunteering.

October 6-9: InterTribal Water Gathering at Veterans Memorial Park in J-town. Contact us to learn about volunteering opportunities. Presented in partnership with the Ohio Valley Native American Veteran Warrior Society and the City of J-town.

Contact us at info@waterwithblessings.org or call us at 502-749-5492 for more details.