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What It Means to Be a Neighbor

Lifestyle & Opinion

By Darren L. Dowdy

Edited by Cynthia Swisher

Water is one of the most basic necessities for any living creature. The human body is made up of 65% water. In first world countries like the United States, water is filtered and purified and clean water has become standard. In third world countries that not the case, with 1.1 billion people living without clean water.

Jayne Dowdy went on a mission trip to Honduras with her church, St. Andrews Presbyterian, and spent a week working in the village of El Mico. Mrs. Dowdy said, “I was at the school, talking to the teacher, and a little boy walked up to us drinking a container full of dirty water.”

Drinking filthy water has caused many waterborne illnesses in the village. According to a report given from Honduras Outreach Incorporated, 52.9% of the people in El Mico suffered from cases of diarrhea in 2014.

The year before the report, the mission group brought 5 water filters to give to the church and school. Mrs. Dowdy decided that there was more to be done, however, so in 2014, she raised enough money to deliver 110 water filters to the village of El Mico.

A year later, the same mission team went back to the village of El Mico to see what impact the water filters had made. The results showed that the percentage of those suffering from diarrhea had dropped from 52.9% to to 6.77%.

The water filter used was a Sawyer Point ZeroTWO™ Bucket Purifier. It can purify up to 170 gallons of water per day and lasts for a lifetime. The company that makes these filters offers a lifetime warranty on the product in case of any manufacturing defects. This is unlikely due to the fact that every water filter is tested 3 times at 3 different testing locations before distribution.

When Mrs. Dowdy was asked what inspired her to participate in this outreach, she said it was “A modern day ‘feeding of the 5000’ story”, with the water filters being like the 5 loaves of bread Jesus used to feed the crowd of 5000 people who came to hear his sermon. Her plan is to spread the benefits of these water filters to every family in the more than 200 villages in the Agalta Valley.

In addition to providing clean water for the people of El Mico, here are other benefits that come from the use of these filters. The buckets used for the filters are purchased in Honduras, which helps boost the economy. With less people sick, the villagers can work in the fields and grow more crops, boosting agricultural production. Mrs. Dowdy’s generosity reminds us that “Everybody in the world is your neighbor, from the houses next door to neighboring cities and even neighboring countries.” People should help their neighbors in any way they can.

Header image by Socodevi (flickr creative commons license)

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