Pathfinders Diary: Building Puná’s new water center
By Liz Moody; photos by Wendy Webber
The Pathfinders are in Puná, a community on an island off the coast of Guayaquil, Ecuador. This community of about 5,000 people lacks a real sewage system, and both wells and the local piped water are dangerously contaminated. Doctors at the local health center reported that more than half of their daily patients have a waterborne illness caused by lack of clean water. The most highly regarded well in town, Pozo de la Virgen, even had high levels of bacterial contamination (>100,000 CFUs / 100 mL).
Although it is widely known for having palatable water, Pozo de la Virgen is hazardously close to sources of contamination, including septic tanks and animal pens.
Residents of Puná were eager to have an affordable source of clean water, and Water Ecuador agreed to help renovate an existing building into a water center. This center will be a micro-franchise, owned by a local entrepreneur, with Water Ecuador providing technical and marketing support.
There is much work to be done inside and out.
The exterior of the building had to be scraped and repainted.
They have also been giving presentations about clean water and hygiene at local schools.
To demonstrate how germs spread, a few children got glitter in the palms of their hands.
They then did a “human knot” activity, which involves everyone holding hands and trying to disentangle themselves.
By the end, everyone was covered in glitter. It was an effective way to remind students how easily germs spread.
Designing the logo for the exterior of the water center was an opportunity to get creative.
Water Ecuador has been a strong partner and work is moving along swiftly. Soon, the residents of Puná will have clean, affordable water