Agua Viva is preparing to construct possibly our most challenging installations. These will take place in Kenya and Tanzania, Africa. The construction work and education will be led and performed by a team of In-Country partners. Mbaja Wagomen and Kashindi Charles from Mwanza, Tanzania, will lead the Health & Hygiene Education. Selemani Shabani, from Bunju-A, Tanzania, will lead the installation of the water purification system. Benard Ondiek, at Benard’s Vision Orphanage, has completed preparations of the water room which will house the system in Wacharra.
The equipment was shipped from Kansas City in a container to Chicago, then by rail to Nova Scotia, then by boat to Dubai and then to the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Woo Hoo 🎉! What a trip!
Recently, Agua Viva purchased 60 beautiful water dispensers for each African installation site. The children were ecstatic to see the bright clean containers and they are looking forward to purified drinking water that will fill them up soon!
The newly completed water room at Wacharra, Kenya, that will soon house the water purification system. They are planning to paint “Agua Viva” on the big white wall in Luo, which is the native language in that area. It translates to “Pi Ngima”. How cool is that?
Agua Viva has new friend named Wily Zapeta! That is what Agua Viva is made of… friendships. Wily has helped Agua Viva sign yet another Covenant this year at Lluvia de Gracias. This church is about 30 minutes away from Quetzaltengo, Guatemala, and they were so excited to hear that they had been selected for an installation THIS YEAR!! Pastor Cesar Amton explained how difficult it is to find purified drinking water, and it is too expensive for the local people to purchase bottled water at the local tienda.
They have already begun Water Room preparations, and two of our FEARLESS volunteers, yet to be selected, will fly the suitcases to Guatemala, CoVid and all! Agua Viva is very pleased to have such wonderful friends and the need is so great in this area for purified drinking water.
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!
The Assembly of God Feeding Center in Guapinol, Honduras is a quant fishing village not far for the Pacific Coast. In communities like this, they work hard and their health is paramount to survival. Having a good source of purified drinking water enables the community to be more productive and keeps the children in school.
This very poor community has never had access to purified drinking water. Our new Operating Partners were excited to get started bottling water and distributing water to the surrounding community.
We are now happy to report that the AOGFC is reporting a high water production. After a short time of operations, Pastor Ilmo called requesting more bottler caps and seals. That represents 1,200 bottles in only 3 months. Agua Viva is so pleased that we can do this much good in their community.
In the next couple of weeks, Rigo Rigoberto will performing two additional Site Investigations in the southern part of Honduras; not very far from Guapinol.
In an area called Kapkemich, Kenya, there is a Catholic Girls School called St. Anne’s School for Girls.
Kapkemich, a rural community in western Kenya, is located near the equator where much of the population lives in poverty surviving on subsistence farming. The weather is mild with temperatures ranging from mid-50s to mid-90s F with two rainy seasons. There is minimal or no electricity in homes. Running water is not available and many obtain water from potentially polluted sources. Job opportunities have long been bleak in the area and this lack of work has had great social impact. Alcoholism and drug addiction are major concerns. Education beyond the 8th grade is not funded fully by the government; families are expected to pay part of the cost which many cannot afford. In such cases, families choose to educate their sons rather than their daughters.
Friends of St. Anne’s Girls’ School Fund-Kenya (FOSA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit was established in 2010 to support equal education opportunities in Kapkemich, Kenya and the surrounding area with the primary focus on educating young women. The FOSA board of directors in collaboration with our management team in Kapkemich recognized that the area was medically under-served. Thanks to a generous, designated donation in 2016, FOSA funded construction of a clinic building. The clinic applied for and received community-based organization (CBO) status from the Kenyan government in March 2017. The clinic opened in July 2017 and provides care 24/7. The Virginia Wright Health Clinic Fund (VWHC Fund) was designated a 501(c)(3) in the United States in May 2019 and supports the clinic’s mission.
With the help of our new friends in the United States (Ruth Schukman-Dakotas and Abby Clem-Beeman), Agua Viva has had the privilege of executing a Covenant, signed and sealed by Father Anthony Kiplagat, to provide Purified Drinking Water to this community. Our In-Country Coordinator, Mbaja Wagome Minene, made the 12 hour trip from Mwanza, Tanzania, to Kapkemich, Kenya, and met with Ms. Lydia Kageha, Public Health Outreach Coordinator, and discussed “possibilities and dreams”.
This community was a perfect match. Serving a large number of women with emphasis on Health and Hygiene, and in a very large community with NO access to purified drinking water, Agua Viva will provide a golden opportunity for improved health and a new potential source of income for these wonderful women!
This project has been only a dream for five years. At the conclusion of our water installation at Tanzania, our team of professionals left for Wacharra, Kenya, to install a new Water Purification System at Benard’s Vision Orphanage, School, and Medical Center. After a few hiccups at the border and several hundred dollars lighter, our team arrived in Wacharra, Kenya, and began the installation.
It was a great blessing to have four local widows join our Education Team. It is a struggle for widows in Kenya. Few women can find paying jobs, so if they are widowed, it is very difficult for them to buy food, water, shelter, and the basic necessities of life. Agua Viva is providing a great opportunity for these women to sell water and sustain themselves and their families, as well as the community.
Our team had a few challenges, but they were able to have the system up and operating by Saturday, just in time for a huge celebration. “The water tastes SOOOO good!”, said Pastor Ondiek. The next day, Pastor Onkeik was off to Nairobi to begin the process of getting a permit from Kenya to sell water, and to sustain the operation.
Pastor Ondiek told me yesterday, that the Wacharra Orphanage is also providing purified drinking water to the Ahero site also!! Now, Agua Viva is serving TWO orphanages in Kenya!! A real live testament to the great opportunity for clean drinking water in Kenya.
At the Nyasaka Free Methodist Church, in Mwanza, Tanzania, our friends completed the last step of a lengthy project, which began before CoVid 19. First step started in May of 2019, and included digging their existing well 30 feet deeper, from 40 feet deep to 70 feet. Second step was a full-blown installation of a multi-stage sand filter. The last and final step, completed July 31, 2021, was a full LWftW Standard Board and, of course, a huge Celebration with the local officials, the community, and our new Church friends.
We are so proud of our new friends in Africa. The Agua Viva water committee at Nyasaka has taken charge of strategies to distribute and sell water. They are so awesome: Yusuph Emmanuel Sabato, Kashindi Charles, Seth Mlenda, Pastor Yessee Mlongecha, and Pastor Joshua Miyumo. With this great leadership, our hope is that the Agua Viva System will provide purified drinking water for years to come!
Over the summer, Agua Viva supported a local non-profit, Green Works in Kansas City, by bringing our water filtration demo board to their ECO Career Camp. In the post-camp survey, the water filtration board was a unanimous top favorite hands-on activity!
Led by one of our own Agua Viva International members, Desiree Smith, the educational camp focused on exploring green careers related to Water Quality and Climate Resiliency. For one full week, 14 middle schoolers made invaluable connections and dove deep into climate conversations, while exploring and recognizing their own passions and interests, and how they can be a part of the solution.
The students traveled to the Missouri River to learn where KC gets our drinking water, performed their own water testing, and got to see behind the scenes at KC Water’s Sante Fe Pump Site. Other field trips included seeing energy efficiency in action at Metropolitan Energy Center, the solar fields at Evergy’s mixed source energy plant, water catchment at a local community garden, and many many more insightful and inspiring guest speakers.
Transporting the filtration board is no small feat and this was made possible with the help of the dedicated, big-hearted volunteers, Daryl Taylor and Jerry Johnson. The opportunity to see water filtration in action was key in helping these concepts really sink in for students. Being able to take pressure and flow readings, actually holding valves and different piping components, while sprinkling in water conversations made for a fun, impactful activity. For example, after identifying the size of our 1” pipe on the board, the students stretched a tape measure 10 feet across the room to represent the size of one of the city water pipes that they had learned about the day before at the KC Water Pump Site.
A BIG THANK YOU to Agua Viva for helping instill the importance of water quality and how water connects us all!
Many thanks to all of our friends and supporters who came together to make such a wonderful Celebration to benefit Agua Viva International on Thursday, November 21, 2019. This was truly a “night to remember”. Your commitment and dedication will help thousands of orphans, widows, and children have pure clean ozonated drinking water for the first time in their life.
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!!