Recently our organization, Sowers of the Kingdom, picked up 15 water filters from the US Navy at Santo Domingo harbor in the Dominican Republic. The destination of the water filters was a small community on the Samana peninsula called Palmarito. Like many communities in the DR, clean water is not readily available to the residents. These filters, along with an additional shipment of 40 filters, will make a significant difference to the health of the people who often suffer from skin and parasitic infections caused by unsanitary water. Each filter can provide clean water to eight people per day. We hope to acquire more filters in the future as funds become available. To date, we have provided more than 150 water filters throughout Samana
Three times per year Sowers sends groups of 12 – 20 people on short term mission trips to the DR. It was on the November 2011 trip that we began the water project in Palmarito. Much of planning was done ahead of time by our project manager Bob Cohen. Bob was instrumental in contacting the Navy and Triple Quest, supplier of the filters. Our “man on the ground” in the DR is Luciano Maria. Luciano identified the homes for the filters and attended training on installation and maintenance of the filters in Santo Domingo. The final destination of the filters was 40 in the village of Palmarito and 15 in a small Haitian community near Las Terrenas.
The construction team, led by Bruce Pearson, delivered the water filters to the selected homes. Each filter with the sand and stone weighs about 165 pounds and had to be transported on ATV’s that we rented for the week. In one home where we were setting up a water filter the residents was an older couple in their late 70’s. You could see that they were taking ownership of the filter and thought it was an important addition to their home. We are currently trying to get sufficient donations to be able to have a well drilled and have a manual pump installed.
Our service in the Dominican Republic gives us a very satisfying feeling and we all return home with a deep sense of accomplishment and renewal. It is God’s work through our hands. We continue to develop our relationships and judging from the following quotes we feel that we are making progress: From Lidia Dickinson, Director of the School in Las Terrenas, “I want to thank you for everything you did to help so many people, they may not say it, but you can see it in their eyes”. From Illisha Ramon, the wife of the mayor of El Limon, “I thank God for your visit and I thank him for allowing you all to return home safely so you all can hurry and come see us again…. I know the pressure of the USA can be hard at times but Bob please don’t forget us over here”. From Luciano, our interpreter and newly appointed trustee of Sowers of the Kingdom, “the people were absolutely happy; they know how important it is to have clean water”.
We wish to thank the US Navy for Project HandClasp and its willingness to be a partner to so many faithful and humanitarian organizations that serve the needs of others. The crew of the USS Swift was extremely helpful and Lt. Gantze went above the call of duty to help our organization. The combined efforts of all involved will benefit the lives of many people for years to come.