Certificates are handed out.
Little cups are handed out, clean water is passed around to fill the cups, the water is blessed by pastors, and everyone finally drinks of it for the first time.
Faces light up.
Children are running around in delight.
“It’s an emotional time. It’s a moving event,” said William Milam, Dominican Republic network coordinator for Living Waters of the World at a recent breakfast session of Bradley Sunrise Rotary.
LWW’s mission since the mid-1990s has been to train, equip, link and support mission teams to share the gift of clean water with communities in need. Villages or communities, such as medical centers or churches of between 200 and 500 people, can be served with LWW’s program of microfiltration water systems. These systems can usually produce between 300 to 400 gallons — in 5-gallon bottles — of clean water.
But progress has been “two steps forward and one back,” he said. “Sustainability is key ... there is a huge need for clean water in places such as Haiti, for example.”
Before the earthquake a few years ago, Haiti had a dozen water filtration systems across the country, Milam said. After the earthquake more than two years ago, these systems were cut in half. Now, all 12 are back up and running.
“It’s amazing, considering the destruction,” Milam said.
Many people in developing countries aren’t as acutely aware as more advanced countries of the importance of clean water to health. And even when the water looks clean, it often isn’t.
When Mark Rodgers, the current Sunrise Rotary president, took the reins, one of his goals was to provide clean water to 1,000 people a day who didn’t have it.
This is part of the reason why the local Sunrise Rotary club currently is in the midst of a clean water well project in Morazan, Honduras.
Several members of the Sunrise Rotary have already signed up for the clean water training course — titled Clean Water U — with LWW in May in Oxford, Miss., headquarters for LWW.
The program is made up of three parts:
n PART 101/Partnership development, team leadership, field survey and water testing. This first phase teaches how to administer and organize a program.
- PART 102/Health, hygiene and spiritual education. Hands-on education is usually taught to matriarchs and grandmothers, as well as young mothers, in developing countries, teaching the importance of clean water and hygiene and how these help a person stay healthy.
- PART 103/Water system installation, operation and maintenance. This phase teaches how to physically put these water filtration systems approved by the World Health Organization together.
One clean water project usually takes at least three trips to the intended location — an initial planning trip, an installation trip, and a follow-up trip.
“Some systems have now been in continuous production for a decade,” Milam said.
Internal networks, such as villages, churches and medical centers in each country, however, are vital to this success.
“Let’s make it happen,” Rodgers said.
For more information, contact Milam at Living Waters of the World at 865-216-6307 or its offices at 615-261-4008. The website is: www.livingwatersfortheworld.org.
In other business:
- Cheryl Dunson, sergeant-of-arms with the Sunrise Rotary, and Ron Sellers, a founding member of the Sunrise Rotary, both became Paul Harris Fellows again at the Thursday meeting. Dunson dedicated this, her eighth Fellow, to her mother, Barbara Green. This is Sellers’ third Fellow.
- P.J. Slowiak, local photographer and videographer of Phillip Slowiak Photography, became the latest member of the Sunrise Rotary Thursday. Slowiak was sponsored into the club by father and son members, Keith and David Munford.