I am about to revise my letter to Ana. I have been talking with the pastor next door, as well as some of my neighbors, and I am starting to get a better sense of the needs that people have on the river. I am going to try to talk with Ana about shifting my mission a bit.
The zone that I live in is called Delta, and it is one of the poorest places in Costa Rica (which is admittedly one of the richest countries in Central America). The area is so difficult that, during the annual floods, the Red Cross brings sacks of food to each family on the river to help sustain them. The families here have no clean drinking water, no electricity (except for a couple of families with generators), and the majority have less than a fifth grade education. The people here know how to live in this environment, and it is not a struggle for them to survive, but there is a lot that could be done to improve their standard of living as well.
As I was sitting in the boat riding back from Barra, Pastor Carlos Catilla asked me if I knew of any groups that did work with proving systems for making clean drinking water (wells do not work here because of the shallow swampy terrain and contaminated ground water). I told him that there were many groups like that, and that I even had a little bit of training in that area. I started to tell him about rainwater catchment systems, which would be the cheapest, easiest, and most reliable way for them to harvest clean drinking water in a rainy region like Delta. He asked me if there was something I could do to raise the support to have rainwater catchment systems installed on the 16 homes in this zone of the river.
I have become really excited about the potential of this project. I need to talk to Ana, and I need to look up some numbers, but I think that we can provide the families around here with clean drinking water for a relatively low cost. In a high rain area like Costa Rica, you do not have to have very many feet of gutters to harvest enough rain for a good sized family. I need to price the gutters, spigots, and a special filter that my sustainability teacher taught us how to make. If the price is low enough, we can provide each family with a set of gutters, a filter, and a spigot, and most of the families here will be able to provide their own water tank.
Please pray for this. For this to happen it has to be the will of God. If it is his will, then the problem of finding finances to do this project, and getting Ana’s permission are in his hands.