Peru 4.0 – We drink the water!

Apparently, I’ve never got far enough in my photo postings to have included any of our water celebrations – what we do when the clean water system is fully installed and operational. Gosh! I need to step up my game a little!!

Here’s our last day in Pucallpa before heading to Lima…


John, showing us the filling station part of the clean water system. The actual system is 3 floors up… then they had to run pipes all the way down the building so people can fill up their large bottles on the ground floor.
We headed upstairs to see what the guys had been building all week. The room is tiny, so a bunch of us stood outside in the narrow hallway and looked in through the window bars.
John and his local right-hand-man from the church where we installed the system.
The installation, maintenance and business parts of the water team…
… with the addition of the teachers, Susan and Jenny. This team worked really hard all week, and we only saw them at meal times. But it’s incredible when we come together at the end to see their work celebrated by the locals, knowing it’s going to have an incredible impact on their everyday life.
This was the first time most of our team had seen the water system, so John took time to explain how everything works. I love seeing how passionate John is about this stuff, knowing he’s part of something bigger than what he does day-to-day in Memphis.

And here she is. Most of her, at least. Starting in the bottom left, the water comes from the city tank, passes to the right through the first filter (drops off the bottom of the photo), moves up the pipe on the right, moves back to the left through two other increasingly fine filters, then passes through an ultra violet light at the end (top left) before being pumped into a clean water tank that feeds down to the filling station on the ground floor. Not a chemical in sight… and everything can be maintained with locally-sourced parts. Blows my mind!!
On the same floor as the installation, there was a dusty, cluttered storage space that had incredible views over the city to the Ucayali River.

Whenever we install one of these systems, we throw a celebration when it’s done. Not only does it honor the locals who have helped with the process and learned how to keep it running well… but it also highlights the importance of the system, and encourages people to see the impact of it as something of great significance. Which it is! Here, we’re all putting our handprints on a banner for the celebration.

And here’s the finished banner!! The words say something along the lines of: “Use clean water! Wash your hands! = Healthy bodies”
Chuck and Michelle, helping fill cups with the clean water.
Here are the words to a song Susan and Jenny taught their team of trainers – those who will teach children and adults in the community what to use the clean water for, and how to keep it clean. The song is sung to the tune of Frère Jacques… which you may or may not be singing now for the rest of the day. You’re welcome!!

“Hurry up and wait” is a phrase that aptly describes life in Peru. Here, we were waiting outside for everyone to be ready for the celebration. Not only was Susan nervous about her role in that for the first time… but we were all a bit emotional. Words can’t describe the feeling of being involved in something like this. And on the last day when a) the job is done and people get to enjoy the results, and b) we’re about to leave town and the people we’ve become friends with, there are feelings of accomplishment, joy and privilege, mixed with exhaustion, sadness and total overwhelmedness (see?? … there’s not even a word for it!!).
Robyn commented that every time we’re in Peru, she comes back home with at least one photo of Peet and John showing some brotherly love. And it’s true. These guys have a rich friendship.
Aaaaaand… the celebration begins!

Finally, people are invited to come and get a cup of clean water.


We drink…
… we live!!
Meanwhile, an elderly man with only one arm wanders in off the street, looking for some help. A reminder that while a handful of us are celebrating, life still goes on with all its struggles. The poverty and suffering here can be overwhelming at times. What we’re doing may be a drop in the ocean, but we’re slowly bringing healthy changes to the community… one clean water system at a time.

Jenny and Susan, sharing what they taught their team…
… and making them sing the song to all of us… brilliant!!
This is everyone who had anything to do with installing the system. (By the way, installing a clean water system is simple compared with taking this group photo!!)
One final prayer.
And then we’re back at Casa Shea for a group photo, lunch and off to the airport. Here’s the team… being silly.
And here’s a nice one… with Tom bringing some level of decorum.
We love our Casa Shea family so much! I grabbed one last photo of Genarro and Zulma…
… and one of Peet and Zulma. I think Peet was telling me to hurry up because everyone was waiting for us on the bus!!


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