In September 2019, during the install week of Galte’s system in Ecuador, Agua Viva had the opportunity to visit the school of San Gerardo. This school was brought to our attention by the Director of the Water Laboratory of San Gerardo’s parent city government.
It’s a community that’s literally close to Mario Ahkras’s home, about 10 minutes by bus from his hometown. This helped us work closely with the School during the preparations of the water room.
After testing the water samples that were shipped out to the United States, San Gerardo was blessed with the chance to receive their own water purification system. A system was installed in April 2021, even as the international travel restrictions (resulting from the pandemic) were peaking.
This was Mario’s first time leading an install, and he anticipated challenges during the installation week. As it turned out, the biggest challenge would in fact be the sheer patience required to get the equipment through customs.
The Water System suitcases wound up being delayed almost two months because of a clerical error made by customs. In short, this added only a handful of extra steps during clearance, but each and every step required more time and approvals!! Unfortunately, every step added several days and even weeks of waiting. And, to add salt to the wound, Agua Viva had to pay a fine. Ouch!
But, it was all SO worthwhile, when we inaugurated the San Gerardo Wate, joined by the political leaders of the community and state, who helped us all along the way. The actual week of the installation went very smoothly because of how well prepared everything was in the crate. And we just had ONE leak….or, maybe two!
Agua Viva was honored to share our vision for water with a group of 5th grade students at Harmony Elementary School in Overland Park who entered the Battle of the Brains Contest. During our discussion and presentation students asked Agua Viva what problems are encountered when installing purification systems in developing countries. After exploring several options, they decided to focus their research on the problem of transporting water from the purification site to a home, school, or kiosk. When a 5 gallon bottle of water weighs 40 pounds, and many communities do not have motorized vehicles to deliver water, the students brainstormed ways to carry heavy bottles of water.
The design prototype they created is a cart that can be pulled by a child, and best of all can be disassembled and packed into a suitcase. The Harmony kids thought of everything!!
Agua Viva plans to use their prototype to build a cart to take to Ecuador in April. Way to go 5th graders. We are so thankful you chose Agua Viva for your project!!