In late September two roommates from Southern California, Shane and Andy, visited El Salvador to surf and do some good along the way. Inspired by the Waves For Water initiative, they decided to bring water filtration systems to the region, where water scarcity and quality are of huge concern. Click through for the whole story and for more information on Waves For Water, click here.
Since El Salvador isn’t a “hot spot” for the Clean Water Couriers program, an effort was made to find an organization that might have some relevant experience with the water issues, and their solutions, within El Salvador. ENLACE, a native non-profit organization, was a perfect fit. The organization has been working to improve water conditions, along with facilitating many other sustainable projects in the country, since 1993. ENLACE was contacted with the idea of delivering water filters to communities that would benefit from them. The communities could then determine if the filters were beneficial, and if so, could work to develop a sustainable plan to implement them on a larger scale. The partnership was a resounding success.
The trip exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. We originally thought it might be difficult to coordinate an effective and meaningful solution within El Salvador since it wasn’t a country officially partnered with Waves for Water. This experience taught us how easy it is for an ordinary person to connect with, and help, communities in need if they have the will to do it. The spread of modern communication has drastically shrunk the world we live in, which makes the do-it-yourself model promoted by Waves for Water so powerful.
After the few days spent working within the country, five portable water filters were delivered to a rural Santa Ana region community. The filters are set up in communal areas so their effectiveness and reception can be monitored.
Growing up in affluent Southern California culture, young people often lose sight of other very important and yet basic world issues. Clean and safe water is one of the most fundamentally important issues we might easily forget about. It’s a true culture shock, and a sad idea, that people are struggling with health issues resulting from the dirty water found in El Salvador. Being a surfer and traveler, it was very rewarding to surf but also to help out a local community while we were there. A special thanks to the Waves for Water organization, Fritz and the entire ENLACE crew, Ken and the Agua Viva workers, Dickie Fernandez, and the beautiful country of El Salvador.