Earlier this year, Bryan and I brought home our adopted son from Ghana. We were thrilled to welcome “E” into our lives and home. We’re both committed to helping others get access to safe water, but having a son who lacked safe water his whole life quickly gave us a deeper passion for the importance of the work of organizations like Water Missions International. Bryan wanted to share about how having a son has changed his perspective on the need for safe water.

I will never forget the moment I met my son. It was amazing. He is such a brave and beautiful child.

Fathers Day

Bryan and his son E enjoying a carousel ride

One morning, there was a very large thunderstorm raining down loudly on our home. E came into our room and as we sat together he began to talk about his life. He shared that when it would rain hard when he was in Ghana, they would stop the day’s activities to all go and get buckets. They would fill those buckets with the rain water and bathe using that water. There was no ability to wash on a regular basis. There was just no water to do so.

Upon first arriving in our home, my wife was making him some MILO, similar to hot cocoa. It was very hot, so she took his mug and walked over to the sink to add some cold water to cool it down. With a panicked look on his face, E yelled, “Bad water!” He didn’t trust any water from a tap.

This was the first moment that we had any inclination that he understood the difference between good and bad water. Unfortunately, he believed that if water was clear that it was good water, and from his medical results we know that he had a lot of “bad water” before we were brought together.

Bryan and E

Bryan and E on his first day of school in the United States

I won’t forget the first time I noticed his distended belly, sick from a lifetime of malnutrition and illness. Even now, months after being home together, we continue to be at war with giardia and other waterborne illness from the water he drank while in his native country of Ghana. I’ll also never forget how he told us for the first time, just last week, “My belly no more hurt!” with a wide smile on his face, showing the medical regimen is finally starting to help him.

I count myself as truly blessed. Blessed that we have incredible doctors and resources at our disposal to help our son. Blessed that as a father I am able to provide care for him to be restored to health, and comfort when he is sick. Access to safe water is not something we worry about. I am blessed that I can celebrate my first father’s day with the joyful laughter of our son echoing through our home, as his body continues to grow stronger each day.

I invite you to join Water Missions International this Father’s Day so that men around the world will no longer have to fear that their children will die from contaminated water. So that families can have sanitation that protects them from illness, and critical health and hygiene training can impact generations to come with life-saving knowledge.

Donate Now Button | Water Missions International

Earlier this year, Water Missions International strategic partner In Touch Ministries traveled to our Haiti country program to visit our safe water solutions and learn about how we work with communities to bring safe water to those who thirst. While they were there, the In Touch team captured the following footage and crafted it into a video that tells the story of how George and Molly Greene were called to serve others.

Over the years, our staff members around the world have dealt with many threats to their physical well being. Every day they travel miles through jungles and over washed out roads to communities in remote areas; they deal with threats from local gangs or terrorists, and they are exposed to life threatening diseases like Malaria and Cholera. But since December, a new threat has emerged for residents of the Caribbean.

Haiti Safe Water

Our staff in Haiti frequently work in communities where Cholera is an issue, so they are no stranger to the threat of illness.

A virus is spreading rapidly, leaving victims to suffer severe headaches, a burning fever, and so much pain in their joints they can barely walk or use their hands. Currently, 13 members of Water Missions International’s staff in Haiti have come down with this virus, known as Chikungunya. The Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. While it’s more common in Africa and Asia, the virus has been spreading rapidly through the Caribbean over the last few months. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent infection from the virus. Although it is typically not life-threatening, at least 14 deaths in the Caribbean have been linked to Chikungunya.

We ask for your prayers for our sick staff members in Haiti as they rest and recover, allowing their bodies to fight this painful illness. We are grateful to them for their dedication to transforming lives through safe water — in spite of the risks they face to their own health and welfare.

As school children across the United States of America celebrate the end of the school year and the promise of summer, the students of Kitale School in Kenya celebrate being free of waterborne illness. The dreams of children in Africa aren’t that different from the dreams of students where we live – they want to grow up and be pilots, teachers or great leaders. But because of access to safe water, these dreams might one day become a reality.

Safe water access has made a noticeable difference for these children. “Last quarter no student was diagnosed with typhoid or an amoeba,” one teacher told us happily. “This is a tremendous change since we used to have more than 15 cases in a term.” Continue Reading…

Hach Walk For Water

Lauren Jernigan —  May 29, 2014 — 1 Comment

Walk Participants

On Saturday, May 8th, over 200 participants and volunteers gathered at Hach Company’s Loveland location for the first annual Walk for Water in support of Water Missions International. Local Loveland High School Cheerleaders kicked off the walk with an original cheer while a marimba band played festive music, serenading the walkers who collectively raised over $12,000 to help fund a safe water community development project. Continue Reading…

“When George and Molly Greene founded Water Missions International—a strategic partner of In Touch Ministries—they had one goal in mind: to save lives, both physically and spiritually.” –Cameron Lawrence, In Touch Magazine

Water Missions International’s strategic partner In Touch Ministries included a feature story on our founders George and Molly Greene in their most recent edition of In Touch Magazine. George and Molly’s story is right at the heart of who we are as an organization: their calling is our calling, their work our work.

Safe Water Distribution In Haiti

George Greene distributing safe water in Haiti.

Continue Reading…

“Good afternoon, my name is Edinaldo. I live in the community of Quinito. We are grateful for the LWTS system, and we also say thank you to our community for helping to build the LWTS enclosure. Thank you so much!”

 “Hello, my name is Nadia and I live in Quinito. We are happy and cheerful for the LWTS system because it will benefit many people and help eradicate gastrointestinal diseases, especially in the children. This is a great gift! The children and the community are happy for this great help that comes to prevent many diseases. The children are happy and you can see them filling their water bottles with safe water for the first time.”

Quinito, Honduras

Now the children in Quinito can fill up their water bottles with safe water.

Water Missions International engineers and technicians hear words like this often on the day a community celebrates their new safe water solution. When a new system is installed, hope blooms in a community. People can finally see the chance for a better life.

But we also know that all hope needs continued encouragement to grow. While education and training are a crucial phase to every project, our staff will continue to go back to each community to do periodic follow ups, checking on the progress of the community and ensuring that safe water continues to flow. These visits ensure that the community’s needs are met. They give us the opportunity to continue to work with a community on sanitation projects and to expand the safe water solution if there’s a new need.

Since a safe water solution was installed in Quinito, Honduras, our staff have traveled back to the community three times. They’ve checked the water quality and given advice to the safe water committee on how to further engage the community. As our relationship with the community continues, our goal is to be there to encourage them every step of the way.

At Water Missions International, we want to guarantee every safe water project is sustainable. Each safe water system shouldn’t just be a temporary fix, but a long-term solution, which is why each one is designed to last approximately thirty years. Of course, as an organization made up of so many engineers, we know that sometimes equipment breaks down.

Safe Water Systems

Operators check the safe water system in a Ugandan community project.

Our staff can’t personally check each project every day, so we frequently use one of two kinds of remote monitoring equipment to make sure our systems are supplying much-needed safe water. The first type of monitoring works by using a text message based reporting system. The system operator sends a text message with the amount of chlorine and the water meter reading to a special telephone number. The data automatically gets entered into an information database that tracks all of the information and presents it in a graph. Continue Reading…

A group of children sit outside of their school, giggling as they flip through a stack of laminated flashcards. They aren’t studying for class though, but the cards they study are part of an important lesson. The cards show pictures of unhealthy habits—unsafe latrines, contaminated water sources, and open defecation—that can transmit disease and parasites to make each child ill.

Heath and Hygiene Cards

Children in Coyoles Aldea, Honduras work together on a WASH promotion activity.

Research proves that good hygiene and health practices have the power to dramatically reduce illness, which is why Water Missions International staff hold health and hygiene workshops. Studies show that handwashing is, in it’s own way, a vaccine; properly washing hands with soap can cut cases of diarrheal disease in half.

Water Missions International community development staff will hold a class in each community to train WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) promoters. These community members learn proper health and hygiene practices. After completing the workshop, they go out into the community, often door to door, and share what they’ve learned with their neighbors.

WASH Promoters At Work

WASH Promoters encourage their friends and neighbors to adopt new health and hygiene behaviors.

When community members encourage each other to change their habits and adopt new behaviors, the new practices are more likely to become ingrained habits. Our hope is that, over time, these learned behaviors will be passed down through generations. As communities come together and encourage each other, lifestyle change begins.

In some countries, we’ll work with communities who have what could be described as improved water. They may already have water piped to their homes or have an inadequate treatment system. Water Missions International works with the community to ensure that these improved water sources become safe water sources.

Improved Water

These children used to rely on unsafe water from the community’s piped water system.

In El Progreso, Mexico, community members got their water from a piped system, but the water was far from safe. The water was contaminated at its source, bringing disease to the community. “It causes diarrhea, headaches, and typhoid,” one community member explained. Continue Reading…